In 2019 Philadelphia Parks & Recreation began work on a city-wide urban agriculture plan. Work on the plan recently concluded with the publication of Growing from the Root. This is the first plan of its kind for Philadelphia. It reflects input from 650 residents and experts like local growers and gardeners.
In Philadelphia, almost one-quarter of the population lives in poverty. Gardens and farms could play a key role in reshaping the City’s food system. It can do this by providing fresh, low-cost local produce to families.
The city is home to approximately 450 active agricultural spaces. This equals nearly 130 acres of land including:
- Individual gardens.
- Community gardens.
- School gardens.
- Community farms.
- Market farms.
The plan proposes a bold vision for Philadelphia’s future food system. It is a ten-year roadmap that will support sustainable agricultural activity. This will help contribute to fairer development of the city.
The completed plan:
- Focuses on values of transparency, racial and economic justice, and inclusion.
- Provides data about the current state of agriculture.
- Uplifts Philadelphia’s rich history of urban farming and gardening.
- Confronts the legacy of structural racism and land-based oppression in the city.
- Offers recommendations on how to coordinate and strengthen urban agriculture efforts.
- Identifies resources, policies, and programs to grow urban agriculture opportunities for all Philadelphians.
- Establishes a 10-year framework for investing in agriculture and food justice.
- Provides recommendations to the City and its partners on how to achieve the plan’s goals.
- Puts the city on a path to become a fair local food system that supports urban agriculture.
Growing from the Root includes recommendations centered around six key goals:
- Provide access to growing space in all neighborhoods.
- Build support for urban agriculture initiatives into the City’s policies and programs.
- Invest in existing and new systems to support a sustainable and fair food system.
- Support locally-sourced, nutritious meals and increase fresh food access.
- Meet existing zero-waste commitments and create new ones.
- Recognize the role urban agriculture can play in the lives of people and communities.
Funding for the plan was provided by:
- William Penn Foundation
- Partners for Places
- The Nature Conservancy
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation led the project in partnership with:
- Soil Generation
- Interface Studio
- A diverse Steering Committee with representatives from:
- Philadelphia’s urban agriculture community.
- Nonprofit organizations.
- City government.