Category: Summer 2016
On June 21, the University of Pennsylvania and the John Bartram Association, in partnership with the City of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, completed the 5-year MOU that successfully incubated and launched the Community Farm and Food Resource Center (CFFRC) at Bartram’s Garden. Beginning on June 22, the Farm will operate as a program of Bartram’s Garden and continue its community-based food sovereignty efforts and youth development programs.
Since its founding in 2011, the Farm has become a community hub for learning, sharing, and growth. Last season, powered by 22 paid local high school interns, the Farm produced over 12,000 pounds of food, welcomed 45 local families in the community garden, provided hands-on education for more than 9,000 local schoolchildren, distributed over 80,000 vegetable transplants through the PHS City Harvest program for more than 150 farms and gardens around Philadelphia, welcomed more than 1,500 volunteers, and hosted 50 affordable weekly farmstands.
In 2014, the Farm received the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in recognition of its promotion of stewardship and environmental education. The success of the founding partnership has also served as a model for similar programs elsewhere in Philadelphia.
The partnership was designed to leverage the strengths and resources of each stakeholder organization:
- The University of Pennsylvania Netter Center for Community Partnerships’ Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative provided various material and educational supports including staff salaries, intern stipends, and academic partnerships with service learning classes, as well as placements through the university’s community service work study and academic internship programs. This work was made possible in part through funding from grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Youth Empowerment Program of the Office of Minority Health, the USDA Snap-Ed program, the Philadelphia Youth Network Year-Round and Summer Work Ready programs, the First Hospital Foundation, the Claneil Foundation, and several private and individual donors.
- As part of a broader municipal emphasis on sustainability and green infrastructure, the City of Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation Department provided funds for capital improvements and utilities as well as routine maintenance and landscape stewardship for the site. The City is currently spearheading the construction of Bartram’s Mile, which will connect the Farm to the popular Schuylkill River Trail.
- The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s mission-driven focus on urban agriculture and horticulture, including their City Harvest program, provided capital support for the water and electric infrastructure and the solar-heated greenhouse along with horticultural expertise and thousands of fruit and vegetable seedlings. Through City Harvest, PHS and its partners have empowered urban gardeners to share the fruits of their labor with families in need. The program has developed an infrastructure of agricultural supply and education centers as well as expanded fresh food production, distribution, and consumption in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, thereby creating a healthier future for thousands of city residents.
- Bartram’s Garden, as the long-term steward of the site, serves as host and provides access to land and educational programming in addition to support for horticulture, marketing, development, events, and site security. As America’s first garden and an internationally known hub for botanic and scientific knowledge, the Farm serves as the 21st-century representation of the Bartrams’ inquiries into the art and science of nature, plant propagation, and agricultural production. The Garden is a fitting location for agricultural renewal in Southwest Philadelphia, given its historic significance and its deep roots in community-building through nature.
The Farm is located on four acres in the southwest corner of Bartram’s Garden in Southwest Philadelphia. It includes a 1.5-acre crop farm, an orchard of 130 trees and 1500 berry bushes, 60 community garden beds, 10 learning garden beds, a solar-heated greenhouse and distribution center, and a net-zero-energy classroom and kitchen.
For more information about the Farm at Bartram’s Garden, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.