PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia will kick off the next phase of community engagement in its work to develop the first citywide urban agriculture plan. The Growing from the Root engagement process will inform a comprehensive urban agriculture plan that uplifts Philadelphia’s rich history of urban farming and gardening, and clearly defines the resources, policies, processes, and programs necessary to sustain it for future generations.
The second phase of public engagement, which launches today, asks residents to comment on different policy areas that impact the viability of urban farming in Philadelphia. There are 10 ‘stations’ or opportunities for feedback. Each station focuses on a key topic identified by growers at the start of the Growing from the Root engagement process. The virtual format offers residents the opportunity to learn about various aspects of farming in Philadelphia before asking for their input. Topics include:
- Access to land
- Resources for community gardens
- Animal keeping
- Farming careers and business development
- Education and intergenerational learning
- Cultural practices in growing and gathering
- Food systems and policy
Residents can expect to spend between 15 and 30 minutes engaging with each ‘station’ in the virtual workshop. The virtual workshop will run for at least six weeks, and aims to engage residents and growers across the City. Residents without internet access can take part by calling (215) 645-2145 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday – Friday or by emailing GrowingFromTheRoot@gmail.com.
“The pandemic and racial reckoning we experienced as a City over the last twelve months has put even clearer focus on the need to build a sustainable local food system that has foundations in anti-racism and self-determination,” said Ash Richards, Director of Urban Agriculture at Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. “The call and response format we’ve built into this interactive website will ensure our urban farming policy is rooted in the knowledge and needs of local growers.”
The City’s first comprehensive urban agriculture plan is expected to be released in fall 2021. The work will establish a plan for long-term urban agriculture that contributes to the equitable development of Philadelphia and provide recommendations to the City and partners on how to best coordinate and strengthen their work on urban agriculture.
To take part visit: https://tinyurl.com/u34a4n8e.
About Philadelphia Parks & Recreation: Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of her people through stewardship of nearly 10,200 acres of public land and waterways, and management of 500 recreation buildings, 166 miles of trail, and 250 playgrounds. PPR offers safe, enjoyable recreation, environmental and cultural programs and events throughout Philadelphia’s parks and recreation system. PPR promotes the well-being and growth of the city’s residents by connecting them to the natural world, to each other and to fun, physical and social opportunities. Visit us at www.phila.gov/parksandrec, and follow @philaparkandrec on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
About Growing from the Root: Through Philadelphia’s Urban Agriculture Plan, the City hopes to turn many years’ worth of feedback and work from residents, gardeners and educators into actionable projects. The planning process will have equity measures instilled throughout, and the project team will carry out the process according to the values of transparency, racial and economic justice, and inclusion. This process will involve:
Engagement with residents, community gardeners and farmers, market farmers, City agencies, and non-profit organizations;
Convening a Steering Committee composed of stakeholders within and external to City government, and represent a cross-section of urban agriculture constituents;
Finding new pathways and opportunities for the City and affiliated partners to support new and existing urban agriculture projects, including community gardens, market farms, for-profit enterprises, and educational programs;
Clarifying the roles that City government, nonprofit organizations, and other partners should play in supporting urban agriculture;
Establishing projects and policies that will make the practice of growing food safe, accessible, comfortable, convenient and sustainable for people of all ages and abilities; and
Identifying strategies to guide the planning, funding, and implementation of recommended projects.