The Urban Agriculture Subcommittee guides the City of Philadelphia to develop and implement innovative laws and policies to support the conversion of Philadelphia’s vacant and underutilized lands into sustainable community assets that increase food security and sovereignty for all Philadelphia residents. The subcommittee engages diverse stakeholders to inform recommendations and make current policies more transparent.
With this virtual meeting, translated in English and Spanish, we are asking 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 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 (not limited to):
- Access to land
- Resources for community gardens
- Animal keeping
- Farming careers and business development
- Education and inter-generational 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’. The virtual meeting website will run for at least six weeks, and aims to engage residents and growers across the City. Residents without computer/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. This 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.
Philadelphia’s Urban Agriculture Plan First Public Meeting
On December 3rd, more than 250 residents packed a room at the central branch of the Philadelphia Free Library to start the city’s first-ever urban agriculture plan. Read more about the public meeting here.
Soil Safety Working Group
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s Farm Philly Program began researching soil safety in an effort to expand gardening programs on city-owned land. Farm Philly identified a national policy gap on this issue, and approached the Urban Agriculture Subcommittee to help develop policy recommendations on soil safety for the City of Philadelphia. The subcommittee convened the Philadelphia Soil Safety Working Group in summer 2014 to bring together experts and practitioners and establish these recommendations. The Working Group met three times throughout the summer, drafted recommendations, and identified potential for collaboration among the Working Group participants on next steps. The subcommittee produced the Philadelphia Soil Safety and Urban Gardening Report that highlights these recommendations.
One of the Working Group participants, Penn State Center Engaging Philadelphia, developed an easy to understand soil safety best practices one-pager that gardeners can start using right now to make sure they and their families are growing safely! En español aquí.
The Urban Agriculture Subcommittee supported legislation to create the Philadelphia Land Bank and submitted feedback about the Land Bank Bill and Strategic Plan through testimony. The Land Bank will facilitate a process for acquiring vacant, tax delinquent parcels and returning them for a variety of productive uses. One of the priority uses is for urban agriculture and open space.
One of FPAC’s partners, the Public Interest Law Center, developed the Vacant Land 215 toolkit that explains several pathways for how residents can access vacant land for urban agriculture and other uses. En español aquí.