The City of Philadelphia’s Parks & Recreation department recently published ‘Growing from the Root’ – a city-wide urban agriculture plan. The plan – the first of its kind for the city – was created with input from 650 residents and urban gardening experts. Currently, the city has approximately 450 active agricultural spaces – nearly 130 acres (~ 53 hectares) of land – which include individual gardens, community gardens, school gardens, community farms, and market farms.
The plan is a ten-year roadmap that aims to support sustainable agricultural activity. It focuses on values of transparency, racial and economic justice, and inclusion; provides data about the current state of urban agriculture; offers recommendations on how to coordinate and strengthen urban agriculture efforts; identifies resources, policies, and programs to grow urban agriculture opportunities for all residents of the city; establishes a 10-year framework for investing in agriculture and food justice; abd puts the city on a path to become a fair local food system that supports urban agriculture.
Growing from the Root provides recommendations centered around six key goals:
- providing access to growing space in all neighborhoods;
- building support for urban agriculture initiatives into the City’s policies and programs;
- investing in existing and new systems to support a sustainable and fair food system;
- support locally-sourced, nutritious meals and increasing fresh food access;
- meeting existing zero-waste commitments and creating new ones; and
- recognizing the role urban agriculture can play in the lives of people and communities.