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Greensgrow Farm, one of the first urban farms in America, is located just 3 miles from Philadelphia’s city center. We filmed our very first episode of Growing a Greener World here in 2009. At the time, they were already considered one of the most forward-thinking urban farms in America. And they’re still at it. The heart and soul of Greensgrow is comprised of a dedicated group of loyal employees, led by co-founder and Chief Idea Officer, Mary Seton Corboy.
This site was originally a galvanized steel plant, cleaned up by the EPA, and left as a neighborhood dump when Greensgrow purchased the property 15 years ago. Today, it epitomizes the model of a successful, progressive urban farm. Yet more than that, Greensgrow has always strived to find new ways to provide access to fresh local food. It’s one of the main reasons Greensgrow was created. Today, Mary has found new ways to mobilize those efforts while serving the underserved in their community and beyond.
Their farm trucks reach some of the most underserved parts of the neighboring communities, including nearby Camden, NJ, just over the bridge. It’s a literal food desert with no grocery stores in the area to offer fresh fruits and vegetables. Ari Rosenberg, with the Center for Environmental Transformation*, gives us a glimpse of how the CFET and Greensgrow have partnered together to help bring local, fresh, produce to Camden.
Greensgrow’s Community Kitchen is space provided by a neighborhood church that has become an integral part of Greensgrow’s outreach. Here, aspiring chefs and small business owners have a place to take classes, try out new recipes and incubate their businesses.
Currently, a new solar pavilion is going up over the market stand that serves area farmers and vendors, as well as the CSA distribution site. Donated by a grant from Green Mountain Energy, once complete, it will provide 10% of all of Greensgrow’s energy needs well into the future.
Greensgrow is frequented by some of Philadelphia’s top chefs including Chef Rich Landau of Vedge restaurant. In this episode he prepares an easy to make yet delicious zucchini pesto dish.
*The Center for Environmental Transformation (CFET) seeks to educate people about a more environmentally responsible way of living on our planet. Equally important, they seek to engage in sustainable modes of food production, storm water management, and waste recycling for the benefit of residents of Camden, NJ. CFET operates in the Waterfront South neighborhood; a community that has suffered years of environmental neglect and continues to suffer from the effects of environmental injustice. CFET hires teenagers to help manage one acre of garden, greenhouse and orchard space as part of a comprehensive job training program that focuses on developing community leaders. The center is hoping to create a model for the region in the development of food security through expanding local access to fresh, wholesome foods, native plants and locally produced value-added products alongside education about nutrition, cooking, and health.