Posted by: MM | September 24, 2012

A Survey of Philly Farmers’ Market Customers

Farm to CityDo you buy produce and other food items from any farmers’ market in Philadelphia? If yes, please fill out this 18-question survey. It may take only 7 to 10 minutes. This survey is co-administered by Farm to City, a Philadelphia-based program that operates a number of farmers’ markets in Philadelphia, and Mahbubur Meenar, a Temple University researcher. The purpose of this survey is to collect basic demographic and geographic data of farmers’ market customers in Philadelphia. No personally identifiable information will be asked. The data will be used for operational and academic research purpose. This survey is open until October 5, 2012. Your participation is truly appreciated. Should you have any questions, please contact Matt Weiss, farmers’ market program manager of Farm to City, at
Here is the link to the survey
Posted by: MM | September 2, 2012

Story of refugee gardeners

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) brought 400 refugees to the USA. These refugees are taking part in the New Roots program, a “6-year-old effort aims to help refugees get used to their new countries by allowing them to do something that is familiar and empowering: growing things”, reports USA Today. The program supports 17 urban farms in nine US cities, where refugees grow vegetables and harvest or sell at farmers markets.

Read the story by Melanie Eversley.

The Garden Justice Legal Initiative of Philadelphia has produced and distributed a very timely and informative document on zoning, licensing, and permitting, related to growing and selling food in the city. The document is a product of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (, with assistance from the Philadelphia Dept. of Health, Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, City Planning Commission, UPenn Environmental Law Project, Urban Agriculture Legal Resource Library, and Tulane City Center, Dept. of Licensing and Inspection.

As we all know, Philadelphia’s new Zoning Code recognizes Urban Agriculture as a potential land use category. The new law recognizes four types of urban agriculture: community gardens, market or community supported farms, horticulture nurseries and greenhouses, and animal husbandry. Read the document to learn the zoning requirements for community gardens or market farms. The document also summarizes the new laws and regulations for growing and selling food in Philadelphia and a rough checklist for gardeners seeking to comply with local laws.

The pdf document will be found here, from pilcop web site. 

Local Food Systems in Old Industrial RegionsA new book on local food systems, published by Ashgate and edited by N. Reid et al., includes two chapters on Philadelphia – (i) Feeding the Hungry, by M. Meenar, and (ii) Defining Local Food Systems, by P. Kremer et al.
Link to full content list from Ashgate
Link to
Link to e-book

About the book:
“In recent years there has been an explosion of interest in local food systems-among policy makers, planners, and public health professionals, as well as environmentalists, community developers, academics, farmers, and ordinary citizens. While most local food systems share common characteristics, the chapters in this book explore the unique challenges and opportunities of local food systems located within mature and/or declining industrial regions. Local food systems have the potential to provide residents with a supply of safe and nutritious food; such systems also have the potential to create much-needed employment opportunities. However, challenges are numerous and include developing local markets of a sufficient scale, adequately matching supply and demand, and meeting the environmental challenges of finding safe growing locations.

Interrogating the scale, scope, and economic context of local food systems in aging industrialized cities, this book provides a foundation for the development of new sub-fields in economic, urban, and agricultural geographies that focus on local food systems. The book represents a first attempt to provide a systematic picture of the opportunities and challenges facing the development of local food systems in old industrial regions.”

Posted by: MM | August 21, 2012

New Video Series on Food Justice Theme

Three short videos feature the work of Huerto De La Familia in Oregon. The videos focus on the Hispanic population in that state, also pertinent to refugee and other disadvantaged farmers in other parts of the country.

The first film in a three-part series, Harvest of Pride: Cultivating Community features the stories of families, social workers and community practitioners. While news media continue to focus mostly on the “hunger problem”, the film points to the largely ignored epidemic of food insecurity among Latinos and immigrants. Read more >

The second film, Harvest of Pride: Growing Food Leaders follows a cooperative of Latino farmers who’ve launched their own successful organic farm business. Read more >

The final film, Harvest of Pride: Seeds of Hope focuses on the unexpected opportunities for Latino immigrant entrepreneurs. Putting aside the negative hot button topics, there is a community of families and individuals trying to be productive, innovative and part of a new community. Read more >

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