Urban agriculture is not necessarily a new idea, but the concept has gained momentum over the past 5-10 years. With rising food costs, prolific urban food deserts, and other food-related problems, enterprising individuals have invested creative effort to produce food in close-in urban areas. From rooftop gardens to small scale urban farms to “guerrilla gardening,” Philly has it’s fair share of urban gardens and food producers. In this blog post, I try to cover a few of the great organizations working to bring healthy foods to our city.
Greensgrow Farms: “Growers of Food Flowers and Neighborhoods”
One of Philadelphia’s best-known urban farms and winner of “Best of Philly: City Nursery 2011″, Greensgrow offers CSAs, a nursery, a farmers market, and any number of interesting urban agriculture and food projects. Started in 1998, Greensgrow has become a national leader and go-to expert for urban farming, and we’re lucky to have them here in Philly! They’re now accepting applications for Summer 2012 CSAs. Follow them on Twitter: @greensgrow.
Urban Tree Connection
Located in the Haddington Area of West Philadelphia, Urban Tree Connection operates with a mission to engage children and adults from some of Philadelphia’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods in neighborhood greening and gardening activities. Neighborhood residents help cultivate and harvest UTC’s small-scale farm, which provides healthy produce for neighbors in the area.
Mill Creek Farm
Also located in West Philadelphia, Mill Creek farm launched operations in 2005, jump-started with funds donated by The Philadelphia Water Department and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Like the other urban farms, Mill Creek operates with a mission to provide healthy, local produce to urban areas with limited access to fresh foods. They offer educational field trips for schools and community groups and volunteer opportunities for anyone wanting to help out.
Started by a few West Philly residents at 51st and Chester, this small-scale urban farm operates on a once-trash-laden, vacant lot. Now, it’s home to herbs, produce plants, over a dozen chickens, and some really great people. (Well, they live in the house next door). During the summer, they sell produce from a Thursday afternoon farm stand.
There are so many great farming projects happening all over the city. I’m interested to hear from you. Do you have any favorite Philly farms? An interesting urban agriculture project that you want to share? Feel free to post below.
Also, if you’re interested in staying connected to urban farming in Philadelphia, you can join the Google Group: Philadelphia Urban Farm Network.