Two hundred families will be settled on a large parcel of land in New Jersey in the near future by the Provisional Commission for the Establishment of Jewish Farm Settlements as a measure against the economic depression. The families will be selected from among thousands of unemployed needle workers who at the present time are facing serious hardships.
Plans and details of the movement, which is the first of a series of similar efforts which together have been designated a “back-to-the-farm movement”, were outlined at a meeting luncheon held in the Knickerbocker Hotel yesterday by the Commission which was attended by newspapermen.
Benjamin Brown, chairman of the Commission, said that from each settler will be required a deposit of $500, in return for which he will be given a house and acre, in addition to whatever farm implements he finds necessary.
The bulk of the money realized from the initial deposits will be used, he said, in purchasing or leasing land and equipment. Products raised by the farmers will be used chiefly for subsistence. Surplusage may be sold for a profit, he said.
One of the chief objectives of the movement, Mr. Brown explained, will be to restore the needle worker to his trade. Through cooperative efforts, manufacturers in the cities of the country will be asked to give work to the farmers, who are expected to apportion their time between farming and duties to which they are accustomed.
A second conference is to be called by the Commission on December 23 and 24 at the Hotel Pennsylvania, where final plans are to be announced.
Persons selected for the enterprise will be chosen provided they meet the requirements, which include physical ability, mental fitness and a desire to do the work.
“I would like to point out,” continued Mr. Brown, “that this kind of work will constitute not only an important contribution toward the solution of some of the grave problems which confront the Jews, but that it will also be in line with the general policy of our present administration at Washington, which aims, among other things, at decentralization, that is, the moving out of thousands of people from the congested industrial centers into the free and healthy atmosphere of rural life.”