To advance Philadelphia toward achieving the Greenworks goals of locating local food within 10 minutes of 75 percent of residents, the City is using a multifaceted approach. Fairmount Park is partnering with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to develop green resource centers throughout the Park. The centers will provide seedlings, materials, and technical assistance to residents who want to grow their own produce.
In 2009 and 2010, the Department of Parks and Recreation expanded local agriculture on its land. Seeds for Learning received another half-acre to add to its 1/3-acre farm in Awbury Park, where Martin Luther King High School students grow fresh produce and run a farm stand. In March 2010, Teens4Good, a youth entrepreneurship program, broke ground for a new farm at the Carousel House Recreation Center in West Fairmount Park. The local ShopRite will sell the farm's fruits and vegetables. Both farms provide produce to neighborhoods with historically poor access to fresh food. The Department is also exploring how parkland can best support chemical-free, commercial farming to help Philadelphians earn supplemental income.
Recognizing the complexity of gaining access to City-owned land, the Mayor's Office of Sustainability is coordinating with the Redevelopment Authority (RDA), the Department of Public Property, and the City Planning Commission to inventory land holdings and analyze which parcels are appropriate for growing food. In 2009, the RDA commissioned a consulting firm to study the best use for its parcels, and Public Property published a list on its website of all the lots it owns. The Mayor's Office of Sustainability is designing a page on our website to disseminate information about how to access available technical assistance and City-owned land for growing food.
Listen to Alison Hastings, Senior Environmental Planner at DVRPC, on regional food system planning.