Thanks for checking out our second PHeaSt Friday blog post! Last week we gave an overview of the event—which you can read here—so today we’re going to dive deeper and discuss what makes PHeaSt so special. While the roster of participating chefs is impressive to say the least, the true superstars of PHeaSt are the urban farmers and community gardeners who will grow favorite fall crops and collaborate with the chefs to make inspired recipes.
This list is far from definitive or complete, but early plans for produce include beets, radishes, turnips, carrots, eggplants, kale, collards, sweet potato, squash, and all sorts of herbs. These locally grown, organic edibles will be incorporated into stews, salads, and savory entrees. Although we tend to go on and on about the garden goodies, meat-eaters can rest assured there will be many dishes to please their palate. In fact, last year’s most popular plate was an herb-crusted pork tenderloin with sweet potato puree and bacon-braised Brussels sprouts. (And yes, it was as good as the description sounds.)
The PHeaSt growers are an admirable set who have committed themselves to making fresh food more readily available in Philadelphia. Here is some more information on these greening and feeding heroes.
Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative (UNI)
Tyler Holmberg and Chris Bolden Newsome co-direct the Community Farm and Food Resource Center at Bartram’s Garden (CFFRC), a project of the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative and other partners. The site hosts 17 young people who are employed in crop planning, harvesting, cooking, teaching workshops, and managing a new on-site farm-stand at 54th Street and Lindbergh. In addition to the one-acre farm, the 3.5-acre site includes a community garden maintained by local residents.
Chester County Food Bank
As agriculture program director, Bill Shick is helping the organization with their raised-bed garden and high-tunnel programs in addition to growing on a commercial scale at several farm sites. The Chester County Food Bank provides food to 90 agencies and approximately 70,000 people every month. Additional outreach includes a program that provides a weekly backpack of food to school students in need.
Alia Walker is co-founder of Earth’s Keepers, a nonprofit urban farming program located at the Kingsessing Recreation Center where she and her students maintain an urban farm, hoop house, and orchard. Earth’s Keepers goal is to improve community access to fresh organically grown produce and grow peace by promoting a just and sustainable food system.
East Park Revitalization Association
EPRA supports a healthy Strawberry Mansion neighborhood by focusing on youth development, environmental improvement, and health promotion. In addition to operating youth programs, food banks, and more, EPRA maintains three gardens in the neighborhood. The vegetables and fruits from these gardens are sold at a weekly farm stand, donated through food banks, and harvested and enjoyed by neighbors.
Farm 51 is run by Andrew Olson and Neal Santos and is located in the Kingsessing neighborhood of West Philadelphia. They started Farm 51 on a vacant lot neighboring the house they were renting in 2009. They now own a house that neighbors their farm and sell their produce at a weekly on-site, Thursday evening market. Their farm is known for its esthetic as well as gastric pleasures.
Germantown Kitchen Garden
Amanda Staples and Matt McFarland created the half-acre Germantown Kitchen Garden and run a farmer’s market at Penn and Bayton Streets. Amanda and Matt both worked on organic lettuce farms outside the city before joining PHS’s City Harvest Grower’s Alliance (CHGA) in 2009.
Henry Got Crops CSA
Weavers Way Co-op Farm, Weavers Way Community Programs, and W.B. Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences have collaborated on a Community Supported Agriculture farm located on Henry Avenue in Roxborough. The farm is on the Saul campus and teachers and their classes learn about and partake in small-scale, organic vegetable and fruit growing.
La Finquita Garden
Clifford Brown, Zachary Prazak, and Natania Schaumburg are urban growers at La Finquita Garden at 5th and Master Streets. La Finquita joined the PHS CHGA Program in 2012 and has a weekly farmer’s market on Sundays.
The Lower Moyamensing Civic Association
LoMo partnered with South Philadelphia High School to create SPHS Gardens as both a school and community garden. The garden program engages students, teachers, and neighbors in the entire process of growing, maintaining, selling, and enjoying organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs. The cornerstone of the program is the culinary arts department: students maintain plants from seed to plate and also sell at a low-cost farm stand in the lobby.