We’ve been really busy in Philly. One of the most exciting events that we’ve attended so far was a bicycle tour of urban farming projects this past Saturday. The second annual tour, traversing 25 miles within the limits of Philadelphia and visiting 4 garden sites was organized by our friend Chris Hill (who gave us a little cameo on the Weaver’s Way Coop website).
We started out at the Weaver’s Way Coop Farm in the Mt. Airy neighborhood. We were a tad late for the guided tour, but we caught the tail end and saw that the coop was making efforts to truly make their produce as local as possible. The farm is located a couple miles down the road from their cooperative on the grounds of Philadelphia’s Arboretum. See their farm blog here.
Our second stop was the Mill Creek Farm in West Philadelphia, “The Mill Creek Farm is a collectively run urban education farm that utilizes vacant land to improve local access to nutritious foods and to promote sustainable resource use by growing and distributing produce and by demonstrating ecological methods of living,” says their website. We have been inspired by their project since we were introduced to Jo and Jade last fall and it was incredible to see that they are now keeping bees, making biodiesel, converting a donated diesel truck, building with natural materials, growing a lot of food, partnering with classrooms from neighborhood schools and receiving more media attention than ever before.
Next we biked to the Spring Gardens which is a well established community garden in the Fairmount neighborhood. It is a productive and beautiful green space that overlooks Philadelphia’s skyline. The community is growing a variety of different flowers and vegetables and many of the gardener’s use different gardening techniques to get the most out of a 20 x 10 plot. The individuals in this garden are not only growing food for themselves, they have a partnership with City Harvest (a great project that works with Philadelphia’s prison system to grow seedlings in green houses and distribute those seedlings to community gardens) where the food goes to local food cupboards.
Next stop was GreensGrow Farm in the Kensington neighborhood. This farm was started in 1997 and has a very unique way of growing things, and they have to because they are located on an old Superfund site. The farm started with growing hydroponic salad greens for local restaurants and now has expanded to running a nursery, farmer’s market, and runs a CSA (community supported agriculture) program. They have been nationally recognized for their innovative approaches in showing how things can grow on abandoned waste sites and provide good fresh local food for their surrounding neighborhood. You can check them out here.
Last stop and a great stop, Yards Brewery. It’s a brewery so how much more needs to be said. We drank local brew, it was yummy, end of story. Oh, yeah and we ended up going back the next day to celebrate the kick off for Buy Fresh, Buy Local week. But that’s a longer tale we’ll tell later… – LT & KS