The Northeast Earth Coalition

NEEC In The News





Montclair has a reputation as a model environmental protection community. In 2008, the township was certified by National Wildlife Federation as the first Community Wildlife Habitat in New Jersey, and in 2020 it became the state’s host town for the Northeast Pollinator Pathway Project. For decades, an active group of monarch butterfly enthusiasts, including author Trina Paulus, have been raising awareness about the importance of the monarch butterfly and other pollinators. 

This week, the Northeast Earth Coalition applied with Monarch City USA, a national organization that promotes the protection of the Monarch butterfly, for recognition as a “Monarch City USA.” We are pleased to announce that our application was well-received, making Montclair the second Monarch City in NJ (after Long Branch) and the fifth in the Mid-Atlantic region. Russ Stubbles, founder of Monarch City USA, said, “We are absolutely thrilled to have Montclair with us. Your people are doing all kinds of good things for the environment and the communities you are working with.”

Besides making Montclair a more enjoyable, scenic, peaceful, and joyful place to live, monarch butterflies are pollinators and benefit our flowers and fruits. Their protection is especially important now that they have been recognized as a species in danger of extinction.

Monarch City USA’s recognition of Montclair highlights our town’s commitment to the environment and to pollinators in particular. Projects in town include butterfly gardens at all our public schools, and Crane Park serves as a model pollinator garden. The township’s recently passed native vegetation ordinance is also an important step in support of pollinators.

Jose German Gomez, Montclair resident and founder of the Northeast Earth Coalition, points out that the International Union for Conservation of Nature recently added the monarchs to its endangered species list. Their population has fallen dramatically over the last 10 years because of pesticides, herbicides, urban development, and agricultural expansion. We can take local action by supporting the planting of milkweed and nectar plants. Our town’s environment will be improved by joining other cities in the Monarch City USA program. The internationally recognized signs we put up in public spaces will symbolize our believe in a better environmental future for all.

At the next township council meeting, Monarch butterfly supporters third Ward Councilor Lori Price Abrams and Councilor-at-Large Peter Yacobellis will introduce a proclamation declaring Montclair a Monarch City USA. At 3:00 pm on August 20th at Crane Park, we will celebrate this designation at the Northeast Earth Coalition’s annual butterfly event. All are invited to attend.






Click here for the full article: Montclair man feeding multitudes with his sustainable community gardens (

Julia Martin, – Sep 24, 2021

The vegetable garden in the parking lot next to Mount Carmel Catholic Church on Pine Street in Montclair is easy to miss. Not because it isn’t a thriving oasis of green, buzzing with butterflies and bees, with stems and branches climbing in every direction.  It’s just that it is so very small. Its size — the space of six parking spots — belies its productivity. In March 2020, Jose German-Gomez, with volunteers from his environmental nonprofit Northeast Earth Coalition, created the garden after cleaning up a racoon-infested corner near a dumpster. By September they had delivered 1,000 pounds of fresh organic produce to the local food pantry, Toni’s Kitchen, which was sorely needed during the pandemic.

That’s just the beginning: German-Gomez and volunteers also pull another 500 pounds of organic, sustainably grown vegetables from even smaller patches of earth at Montclair’s Crane Park and First Congregational Church. They help out at community gardens in Paterson, Passaic, Totowa, East Orange, Paramus, Florham Park, Kinnelon and Hillside.

The output has only grown. By the end of October, the three Montclair gardens will have donated almost 1,700 pounds to the food insecure. The community gardens in Paterson, Totowa and Florham Park, with the help of the Community Food Network, produce another 5,000 pounds for a total of about 8,000 pounds of locally and sustainably grown produce donated to the hungry.

Add that to the Free Little Pantry program he launched last October to celebrate his 64th birthday, and German-Gomez, a retired corporate accountant, is feeding multitudes. There are now seven food giveaway stations on the streets of Montclair, as well as one each in Cedar Grove and East Orange. NEEC and neighborhood volunteers re-stock each with staples at least daily, and some several times a day.

“People sometimes minimize the impact of the Free Little Pantries, but it’s huge,” German-Gomez said. “We are distributing over 17,000 pounds of food a month with the pantries and growing fast.”

Their value became clear during Ida, which flooded Montclair’s Human Needs Food Pantry on Label Street. German said coalition volunteers were “running like crazy, re-stocking the pantries, five, six times per day.”

a bunch of food sitting on top of a wooden table

More than 1,000 pounds of produce from the tiny Pine St. community garden in Montclair is donated to Toni’s Kitchen every year. The garden is run by the all-volunteer group Northeast Earth Coalition and founder Jose German-Gomez. Sept. 2021.

Anne Mernin, director of Toni’s Kitchen, said German-Gomez’s produce has been a godsend, providing the nutritious backbone for about 1,500 meals each growing season.

“His gardens are just amazing, the produce he brings is just so beautiful,” she said. “Our cooks love it. When he walks in and drops it off they’re all over it. It’s such a pleasure to give people fresh produce grown that way, there is so much caring and love in that.” Read more and see video & related pictures HERE.