I’m writing to you on behalf of HealthBarn USA. For those unfamiliar with the organization, HealthBarn USA is an organization based in Ridgewood, that provides information and delivers local programs on healthy and sustainable food (from cooking classes to grow-your-own vegetables to school workshops).
This past fall, HealthBarn USA was given notice that our Village Council will not be renewing their lease, which expires February 8, 2022. Council members have elected to keep this discussion under closed session, meaning that no one, not even the tenant, can be aware of why they will not grant a new lease.
Stacey Antine, the founder and owner of HealthBarn USA, invested $60,000 in capital improvements to the building and has been an exemplary tenant for five years, paying rent on time and flawlessly following every stipulation laid out in her lease agreement. HealthBarn USA generates over $50,000.00 annually for the Village of Ridgewood through rent payments and Parks and Recreation programming.
HealthBarn USA’s intrinsic benefits to the community are immeasurable. HealthBarn USA provides dynamic educational and recreational services to every demographic in the Village, from our youngest students to our oldest retirees. HealthBarn USA has gained the coveted approval from N.J. Green Acres, which preserves and enhances New Jersey’s great outdoors. Stacey has built a gorgeous flower and vegetable garden
on the Habernickel property, where she teaches children the benefits of eating natural, whole foods.
The HealthBarn Foundation, part of HealthBarn USA, operates three initiatives: Healing Meals, School Nutrition, and Garden-to-Table Scholarships. Organizations such as Ridgewood’s senior living homes Ridgecrest Senior Housing and S.H.A.R.E. Inc. as well as Emmanual Cancer Foundation, Tomorrow’s Children Fund at Hackensack University Hospital, and the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital all depend heavily on Healing Meal’s nutritious food gifting program. The Garden-to-Table and School Nutrition programs provide financial assistance to students and schools that desire to learn how to live healthy lifestyles.
During the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, Feed the Frontlines partnered with HealthBarn Foundation and successfully raised over $100,000+. This money kept Ridgewood’s restaurant community afloat at a critical period. They provided over three thousand meals for our frontline heroes at Valley Hospital, the Ridgewood E.M.S., and Police Departments as well as West Bergen Mental Health Center, Ridgecrest, S.H.A.R.E. and the Broad Street families who were affected by a devastating fire. Without Stacey’s guidance and leadership, these actions could not have taken place.
HealthBarn USA is an indispensable asset to our community. There does not appear to be any rational reason why this tenant is no longer welcome in Habernickel Park. If you agree with me, please make time to contact our Village Council members and plead with them to keep HealthBarn USA part of our Ridgewood family.