Media

10 Exciting Urban Agriculture Projects in Philadelphia

Mill Creek Urban Farm

Located in West Philadelphia, Mill Creek Farm is an educational farm whose mission extends beyond the farm's half acre. As the farm's website explains, "we envision a world in which everyone has access to affordable, healthy, culturally appropriate food, and were local communities work collaboratively to build a food system that is socially just and environmentally and economically sustainable." Want to be a part of Mill Creek Farm's mission? Join one of the interactive tours or community skill-share workshops hosted on the farm!

SCI West blog: Urban Farming at The Mill Creek Farm

 September 25, 2009 by sciwestblogger

Even though I’ve been growing two heirloom tomato plants in my backyard all summer, I haven’t tasted a single tomato from them yet. Now it’s autumn and the tomatoes remain stubbornly small and green — nothing like the voluptuous red beasts advertised on the seed packets. I knew my resources were limited but I planted and watered with dedication.

Let me describe the landscape.

The little half-acre that could

Urban minifarms, like Mill Creek, are keeping many Philadelphians from going hungry

June 8th 2009

By DAN GERINGER
Philadelphia Daily News

"WE'RE out here in the dirt all the time," said Jade Walker, standing amid the patch of topsoil on Brown Street near 49th that keeps hunger from the doors of neighboring homes in the recession-ravaged Mill Creek section of West Philadelphia.

"And every time we're out here," Walker said, "people are coming up to us, struggling with the idea that they can't provide for their families the way they want to right now. People who have never gardened before want to start a garden in their own back yard. Or they want to work here in this one."

Walker and her co-director, Johanna Rosen, said that the pocket-size half-acre they call "Mill Creek Farm" feeds hundreds of low-income neighbors - many of them elderly, living on government assistance.

As the recession's double-whammy of skyrocketing food prices and massive job losses raises the threat of hunger for thousands of city families, urban mini-farms from the Southwark Queen Village Community Garden to Las Parcelas, in Norris Square, put organic vegetables on many tables and donate their surpluses to keep overburdened church food cupboards from going bare.

Can Okra Save the City?

Blog post in response to Daily News article "The Little Half-Acre that Could"
Monday, June 8, 2009

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.

Urban Farm Tills the West Phila. Soil

 An Article from the Daily Pennsylvanian by Kathy Wang

 September 23rd, 2008

Mill Creek Farm is not much different from any other farm.

Patches of okra, cherry tomatoes, eggplant and more than 50 other crops rotate with the season. The smell of basil permeates the air, chirping crickets are the closest thing to noise and the greenness of the crops can blind your eyes on a sunny day.

But there's one big difference. Mill Creek is located on just a half-acre of land - in the heart of West Philadelphia.

Pages

Community Gardening in Philadelphia: 2008 Harvest Report
By Dominic Vitiello and Michael Nairn, Penn Planning and Urban Studies, UPenn, October 2009

Sustainability in Philadelphia: Community Gardens and Their Role in Stormwater Management
Kevin Levy, URBS 400, December 19, 2008

Urban Agriculture: Enhancing Food Democracy in Philadelphia
A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of Drexel University by Katharine A. Travaline in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Society, September 2008

Final Project: The Dimensions of Urban Agriculture
Werntz, Kathryn M., December 11, 2008

Slidehow associated with Kathryn M Werntz' paper

Cultivating Community and Place in Contested Space: Surveying the Moral Landscape of Urban Gardens
Thesis submitted to the Department of Anthropology Haverford College by Kit Basom, Haverford College, 2006



Audio

NPR "Justice Talking" Ingrid Lakey visits the Mill Creek Farm and speaks with co-director Johanna Rosen (February 2007)

Michaela Majune of WXPN interviews Johanna Rosen about the Mill Creek Farm (May 2009)

"School Days.. and Farm Days" Audio story plus photos from WHYY's Fit by Therese Madden (November 2010)

Video

West Philly Grown, a documentary from our 5th growing season by, Clayton Hereth

"Mill Creek Farm on NBC 10 #1"--  NBC 10 profiles three of Philadelphia's urban farming projects including Mill Creek Farm.  (July 2008)

"Glimpses from 2008" -- Scenes from our summer bar-b-q, garlic planting, market stand and more!

"Mill Creek Farm on NBC 10 #2" -- NBC 10 stops by the Mill Creek Farm at the beginning of our 2010 growing season.

"A Postcard from Mill Creek Farm"  -- Part of the Messages in Motion project.

"Kripa and Heather"-- A "field interview" with two of our wonderful interns.  Also shot as part of MiM.

"Queer Farmer Film Project" --  A trailer for a soon-to-be-released documentary about the dynamic relationships between gender, sexuality, and agriculture.  

 

 

 

 

See all Galleries here.

Upcoming Events

Mill Creek Farm is an educational urban farm located in West Philadelphia that is dedicated to improving local access to fresh produce, building a healthy community and environment, and promoting a just and sustainable food system.

All charitable donations are tax-deductible. The Mill Creek Farm is a program of A Little Taste of Everything, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.