By: David J. Detweiler, Writer / Follow South Jersey Child Welfare Intern
ELMER, N.J. — Albert Appel, best known as one of the founders of Appel Farm Arts & Music Campus, has been posthumously awarded the New Jersey Heartland Hero Award for the month of October
Appel passed away at the age of 98 on August 25. He and his wife, Clare Appel, created the camp for arts back in 1960. The 176-acre farm has progressed its way into a staple of the community. Anyone from the age of 7 to 17 has the opportunity to experience the fruits of the campus.
The Pennsylvania native grew up constantly studying instruments such as the viola and cello. Throughout his high school career, Appel worked part-time in a record store in order to help satisfy his hunger for music. Appel attended National Farm School in Doylestown after he graduated from Central High School. He eventually acquired his own farm in Elmer, New Jersey, which ultimately became the Appel Farm Arts & Music Campus. While serving for 40 years as Director Emeritus on the Board of Trustees, Appel was known for inspiring kids to live life as the best version of themselves. His motivation in turning the farm into an institute for the arts lies in his belief in how important the next generation is to society.
“We want to change the world and do it through children,” Appel famously said.
The people of Appel farms described his presence in glowing fashion and highlighted his positivity and creativity.
“Albert’s joy, his creativity and vision for a better more equitable world shine in every single one of us, and we will honor him with our radical empathy, our fight for what’s right, and our wild creativity” Appel Farms said in a statement released on Facebook.
The Heartland Hero Award is given to those who have made extraordinary contributions to society. The organization highlights some of the region’s hidden gems that may be based in rural areas, including Appel Farms. Appel’s granddaughter, Ariel Monroe, accepted the award on his behalf.
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This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.