PHILADELPHIA- The City of Philadelphia has launched its first citywide urban agriculture planning process. The plan will establish a long-term urban agriculture strategy that contributes the equitable development of Philadelphia, provide recommendations to the City and its partners on how to best coordinate and strengthen their work on urban agriculture, guide the City on how to expand urban agriculture projects, and offer strategies for sustaining existing efforts. There will be many opportunities for residents to provide input through public meetings and events throughout the planning process. The process will be managed by Ashley Richards, Director of Urban Agriculture at Parks & Recreation.
“The launch of the city-wide urban agriculture planning process is a momentous step towards my administration’s goals,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The focus on collaboration and community engagement in the planning process will ensure that we develop a plan that will provide healthy and sustainable neighborhoods for all Philadelphians.”
Starting in November 2019, the planning process will include a variety of public meetings, events, and an advisory committee comprised of a cross-sector of urban agriculture constituents within and external to City government. The first public meeting will be held on December 3, 2019 at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central branch. More details about the meeting will be released this fall.
“Philadelphia Parks & Recreation is committed to supporting gardens and urban agriculture, working with our many partners,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell.“We see it as part of our mission to help support healthy communities by connecting residents to nature and green space. Gardens are a key part of this, as they connect people to the land and each other. We are looking forward to what lies ahead and working together to make this planning process successful.”
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia are pleased to announce that Interface Studio LLC, working in collaboration with the community-based farming collective Soil Generation, will be supporting the planning process. Interface Studio is an inventive and imaginative planning and urban design practice. Soil Generation is a Black and Brown-led coalition of gardeners, farmers, individuals, and community-based organizations. The two organizations were selected to be part of the project after winning a competitive, robust public Request for Proposal (RFP) process. This team was selected by a cross-departmental City panel comprised of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Office of Sustainability, and the Department of Planning and Development.
The project team will also engage the Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council (FPAC), a group appointed by Mayor Jim Kenney that connects Philadelphians and local government to create a more just food system. FPAC has been an instrumental partner in the development and groundwork leading up to the release of the RFP.
The process of creating the Philadelphia Urban Agriculture Plan is expected to take up to twelve to eighteen months. The plan is funded by a grant from the William Penn Foundation and administered by the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia.
Sign up for updates from Parks & Recreation about the Urban Agriculture Plan at bit.ly/PhillyUrbanAg