“This center is one of the first of its kind in the state and we’re so proud to be putting Camden County on the map to lead New Jersey to a more sustainable future,” said Commissioner Jon Young, who also serves as the liaison to the Office of Sustainability. “By utilizing repurposed equipment and implementing a simple design with sustainable materials, Camden County worked with local partners to develop this innovative solution for an agricultural education facility serving our communities as well as surrounding counties for years to come.”
The center’s design includes: a public farmers market area for local producers to display and sell their varying crops throughout the year; an auditorium/educational space for exhibits and lectures about sustainability and agricultural topics; and a full kitchen for packaging and preparing vegetables grown in the on-site hydroponic greenhouse for both donation and distribution to those in need. The kitchen was also designed to support catering events, programs for Rutgers 4-H of Camden County, Rutgers Family and Community Health Sciences and other functions which make it a true multi-use facility.
The center also hosted a sustainability festival plant sale on Saturday. The event included exhibits, vendors, panels, tours, music, food trucks and more.
The Camden County Sustainability Center has no shortage of sustainable features including:
- Stainless steel cookware, which can be recycled
- Single-use cups, plates, straws, and flatware that is made of recyclable or plant-based resins that are compostable
- Napkins made from 100% recycled fiber
- Hydroponic vegetable growing, which is a soil-less type of growing that uses 90% less water, requires less pesticides and chemicals and does not impact soil erosion.
- Bird friendly glass installed in windows and doorways
- Reused equipment from other county facilities
- Motion sensor/LED lighting
- Waterless urinals
- Low flow water fixtures
- Incorporation of native plants in many of landscape projects around the site.
- Porch and outdoor furniture that are made of recycled plastic film and reclaimed wood.
- Rain barrels set up around the site to collect rainwater off the roof of the building which is then used to water the plants.
- Building paint with low- or no- paint with volatile organic compounds