Can Okra save the city?

Volunteers work the soil at the Mill Creek Farm at 49th and Brown St. in West Philadelphia. ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS

Earth to Philly readers are no strangers to the phenomenon of urban farming. Today readers of the print version (as well as online) were treated to a comprehensive story by Dan Geringer on a mini-farm in the midst of the Mill Creek neighborhood in West Philly. Part of the emphasis is on getting food to people who are living close to the bone, including those within a block of the farm. In the process, this extensive garden is not just putting food on tables but showing the neighborhood and the wider city how green ideas can be both inspiring and friendly to your wallet.

“A lot of people assume that ‘organic’ means ‘expensive’ because it is so labor intensive,” Johanna Rosen, co-director of Mill Creek Farm, told Dan Geringer. “But our mission here is to provide fresh, low-cost vegetables to our neighbors — many of whom are seniors who use food stamps and other government assistance,” said her co-director, Jade Walker.

The half-acre farm, with a permanent staff of just two, feeds the neighborhood.

“Most of the folks around here were originally from the South and come from a rich tradition of people growing their own food,” Walker said.

“Okra is definitely the most popular thing we grow,” Rosen said.

“Come July,” Walker said, “it moves out of here so fast, we can’t keep it on the farmstand table.”

You can read the entire story here.

Continue Reading