Eric Fuchs-Stengel – Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization - 7/29/14
Today I had the opportunity to meet Eric Fuchs-Stengel of the Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization (MEVO), and name him my 29th NJ Hero. Eric led me on a tour of the MEVO gardens at Bergen Community College, and I had the opportunity to harvest and plant alongside Eric and his volunteers.
Eric was inspired to start MEVO in 2008 after noticing debris on the hiking trails of the Ramapo Valley County Reservation. At 16-years-old, Eric joined forces with friends to begin a grassroots organization focused on cleaning-up local parks and community spaces. Thanks to the support of fellow high school students, college classmates and volunteers, MEVO has continued to grow and expand. Last year, MEVO removed over 100,000 pounds of litter from Northern NJ communities. In addition, they’ve mobilized over 1,500 volunteers to provide 23,000 hours of community service. I was thrilled to highlight Eric’s great work through the ‘Farm to Live’ Initiative, a program emphasizing the importance of global access to healthy, fresh foods. ‘Farm to Live’ utilizes donated land space to grow fresh produce. This food is then distributed to those in need through local non-profit partners, such as Table to Table and the Center for Food Action. Since its start in 2011, ‘Farm to Live’ has produced over 700 pounds of produce. In addition, the farm at Bergen Community College has 15 honeybee hives, which Eric uses as a tool for sustainable agriculture lessons with children of all ages, teaching them the importance of bees and honey for pollination and environmental health.
It’s so inspiring to see the great work that a young person can accomplish alongside friends, and an entire community of volunteers and supporters. Thanks for all your hard work, Eric, and I look forward to seeing what MEVO does next!