top of page
PROJECT PROFILE: Glassboro Food and Health Equity Project
Achieving Community Food Security and Health Equity

This project aims to address community food security and health equity in Glassboro, NJ. Data from City Health Dashboard and Policy Map show that certain parts of Glassboro do not have physical or financial access to healthy and affordable food. Through this project, we hope to increase access to affordable, healthy food for Glassboro residents. The project has two phases.

Phase 1 (2020-2021) initiated the Glassboro Grows project, which included pop-up public workshops and in-home garden programs with 26 households in Glassboro. We offered lessons on how to grow healthy and affordable food inside our own homes and apartments. We trained a team of health coaches, who met virtually with each household member on a bi-weekly basis to help build their confidence, skills, and motivation to grow, prepare and eat the vegetables from their home gardens. 

Phase 2 (2021-2022) includes four projects: (1) A 1-stop information hub to share information on food resources and food-related projects and activities in Glassboro; (2) A study on municipal regulations around urban agricultural activities; (3) An enhanced food recovery network to distribute recovered food from restaurants to food-insecure residents; and (4) Expansion and operation of Rowan University community garden.

Rowan University Foundation was awarded a $50,000 grant under the New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) program Small Communities Forging Hyperlocal Data Collaboratives, 2020 - 2022. NJHI is a statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Additional funding ($15,000) for the Glassboro-Camden Learning Collaborative program was received from Healthy Places by Design, 2021 - 2022.

Project Team

  • Mahbubur Meenar, Ph.D. (Project director) 

  • Leslie Spencer, Ph.D. (Project co-director)

  • Melanie Stewart (Chair, Glassboro Health Equity Coalition)

  • Lea Donaghy, Shantae Henry, Brianna Pellegrino (Students - Phase 1)

  • Kenny Marte, Jack Meyers, Sarah Sosa (Students - Phase 2)

Glassboro Health Equity Coalition

  • Megan Allain, Inspira Health

  • Alyssa Harris, Acenda/Mosaic Family Success Center

  • Sonya Harris, Bullock Garden Project

  • Felicita Johns, Glassboro Board of Health

  • Carla Kephart, Gloucester County Health Department

  • Martha Nealer, Rowan University Foundation

  • Andrew Perrone, Rowan University Office of Volunteerism

  • Daniele Spence, Borough of Glassboro

  • Melanie Stewart, Creative Glassboro

  • Dave Walters, First United Methodist Church


  • Bullock Garden Project

  • Parkside Business & Community in Partnership (PBCIP)

  • Rowan Environmental Action League (R.E.A.L.)

  • Rowan University Office of Volunteerism

Fresh for All volunteers.jpg

Fresh for All food distribution. Photo by Contarino

Food Recovery Network.jpg

Food Recovery Network. Photo by Ibikunle

Project Tasks/ Programs - PHASE 1 (Oct 2020 to Sep 2021)

Phase 1 - 0.png

The Glassboro Grows project included three public workshops and a home gardening program with 26 households in Glassboro. We trained the participants on how to grow healthy and affordable food in their own homes and apartments (indoors or outdoors). Using data from City Health Dashboard and PolicyMap, we identified low-access and high-poverty areas to recruit participants.

Our participants won’t make lasting changes to their eating habits just by receiving education. Under the health coaching program, we recruited and trained a team of health coaches, who met virtually with each participant on a bi-weekly basis to help build their confidence, skills, and motivation to grow, prepare, and eat the vegetables from their home gardens.

Phase 1 - 2.png

Our team members and community partners are committed to using available tools and data resources from NJHI and other agencies to make informed decisions and initiate sustainable, collaborative efforts for long-term, community-focused solutions to achieve health equity. We formed the Glassboro Health Equity Coalition to further the project goals and help them become more sustainable. 


The Coalition members discuss the scope of the project, assess activities and outcomes, discuss any challenges, promote the overall initiative, communicate with respective networks to better understand the needs of the community, and discuss findings from available tools and data/maps. The coalition conceptualized Phase 2 projects, prioritized them according to community needs and interests, discussed ideas with NJHI, and finalized the projects.

Photos from Phase 1

Growing Kit.jpg
Photo by participant.jpg
Photo by participant.jpg
Photo by participant.jpg
Photo by participant.JPG
Photo by participant.jpg
Photo by participant.jpg
Photo by participant.jpg

All photos submitted by participants

Project Tasks/ Programs - PHASE 2 (Oct 2021 to Sep 2022) - Ongoing phase. More info coming soon!

Location Mark

Healthy Food Data Hub

An online portal for fresh, healthy food available
to Glassboro residents

Busy Plate

Food Recovery Network

An enhanced program to deliver recovered foods from restaurants to Glassboro residents in need

Glassboro final.png

Urban Ag Regulations

A study of Glassboro municipal regulations on urban agriculture and animal husbandry


Campus Food Garden

An enhanced student-driven community garden project in Rowan University Glassboro campus

Inspira Health Foundation logo.jpg
Inspira Health logo.jpg
Creative Glassboro logo.png
Mosaic Family Success Center.png
Bullock Garden Project.jpg
GloucesterCounty logo.png
bottom of page