Community Capacity Building of Philadelphia’s Nonprofit Organizations

This brief report presents the result of an online survey that was conducted in 2012 as part of a research study titled “Food Justice in Post-Industrial US Cities: The Role of Nonprofit Organizations (NPOs)”. The study examined NPO interventions in addressing the issues of community food insecurity and vulnerability within the context of the City of Philadelphia. Its primary purpose was to analyze NPOs and their food-related programs and events that are tied with community development and community capacity building efforts, i.e., providing healthy food access, supporting local food systems, promoting food justice, developing organizational networks, building community capacity, and offering education, training, and jobs. The survey was focused on private NPOs, such as community-based or grassroots organizations (with or without formal 501(c)(3) status) and community development corporations, that offered or participated in any food-related programs and served constituencies of varied scales, such as a neighborhood, city, or region. Smaller grassroots organizations that were known for single food-centric programs such as community gardens were also included in this study. Other NPOs such as educational or religious institutions and foundations were excluded.

Click here to view/download the brief report


Posted by: MM | July 25, 2013


Design ideas generated by 20 students of Temple University’s Department of Community and Regional Planning in Spring 2013.The primary objective of this project was to design an urban farm for the purpose of food production and community education. The client – Urban Tree Connection (UTC) – is in the process of setting up an urban producer’s cooperative in Philadelphia, and this site will be an addition to a number of existing UTC sites. Currently UTC has a few USDA grants to help develop farm sites but not much financial support to integrate other design. UTC is hoping to use the plans and accompanying visuals, as produced by the students, to raise funds for the construction of this project. The class project was done in five groups, four students in each group. Within five weeks, students visited the site, talked to the client, brainstormed design ideas in class, and then proposed some design ideas. This report is a compilation of those proposals. Each of these proposals has positive merits, as well as limitations. All of the submissions are included in this report so that UTC could see the varieties of ideas produced by these students, either feasible or not.

Here is the full report >>

 VisualizationClass Discussion

In Fall 2012, an 18-question online survey was distributed to Philadelphia’s farmers’ market customers. The survey was co-administered by Farm to City, a mission-driven small business that operates a number of farmers’ markets in Philadelphia, and Mahbubur Meenar, a Temple University researcher at the Center for Sustainable Communities. Based on 209 valid responses, here are some of the key findings:

  • The vast majority of respondents (75%) walked at least some distance to visit a farmers’ market, with the next most-used modes being a personal automobile and bicycle.
  • The majority of respondents reported visiting a farmers’ market at least twice a month, with 39% visiting the market weekly and 31% visiting biweekly.
  • The majority of respondents did not prefer to commute more than a mile to shop from a farmers’ market.
  • The most common way that someone initially discovered a farmers’ market was by physically passing by the market one day.
  • A large percentage of respondents (85%) rated their farmers’ market as having “Produce…of higher quality”
  • About 45% reported that the produce was of a higher price at the farmers’ market while 39% found the prices to be the same price.

Read the full report here >>

Farmers' Market Customers

Posted by: MM | January 18, 2013

Justice for Community Gardens

Jan 18, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer - Ed Hille / Staff PhotographerPhiladelphia Inquirer has published a story on a topic that has been a key point of discussion among local food systems stakeholders throughout the City of Philadelphia for a few months. The city’s new zoning code has been in place for only a year and it is slated for a review of what’s working and what isn’t. However, recently Councilman O’Neill proposed an amendment to the code that would require new and existing community gardens and farms to get permission from the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Community gardenrs, stakeholders, and garden advocates throughout the city are upset that they would have to waste so much time to deal with bureaucracy – the time that they could use to write grant applications or produce food. Attorney Cahn estimates that this “special exception” process would cost all applicats $250 per parcel, in addition to legal fees.

If this amendment is passed (scheduled for a full Council vote on January 24th), “[a]pplicants must schedule a hearing, post notices on the property, notify neighbors and the district Council person, meet with community groups, provide testimony at the hearing, demonstrate that the proposed use is consistent with the code and related standards, and, if opponents testify that the garden has adversely affected the neighborhood, submit evidence to the contrary.”

Read the story for more dteails.

Temple University researchers have launched a survey of non-profit organizations and mission-driven small businesses that have any “food” related policies, programs, projects, or initiatives in Philadelphia. The aim of this study is to evaluate the role of organizations/businesses that provide healthy food access, support local food systems, promote food justice, develop social networks, offer education, training, and job, and build community capacity in this city. The survey results are expected to provide valuable information to planners, public health professionals, policy makers, and community activists.

Here is the link to the survey:

Philadelphia based non-profit organizations and mission-driven small businesses are requested to participate in this survey by October 26, 2012.

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