Food! Food! Food! It seems like the more time you spend in Philadelphia, the more you realize this city revolves around…food! From Italian Market to Rittenhouse Square, to Neighborhood Foods in West Philly, there’s endless variety of people, culture, ingredients and passion. Across the board, there is a respect for food and an emphasis on enjoying it. Food is not a status symbol, hoarded in high-end markets and sold at retail price in tiny amounts to 1/10 of the city’s population…it’s a delicious, life-giving, community-sustaining necessity that Philadelphians take seriously.
Perhaps the place in the city where food is taken most seriously is the urban farm initiated by Neighborhood Foods at 53rd street and Wyalusing ave in the Haddington neighborhood of West Philadelphia. This area’s established community has helped to shape the history of Philadelphia. It has seen some rough times. But the farm has become the new center of a long-term project for sustainable food production, and community development. This neighborhood is learning to feed itself and its future generations through education and business programs designed to instill a sense of ownership and self-sustainability in community members.
Neighborhood Foods is lead by the Founder’s Group, which is compised by members from the community and staff from the Urban Tree Connection, an urban greening organization from West Philadelphia. Dylan Baird, member of the Founders Group, describes the idea of Neighborhood Foods; sell produce to customers in high-end markets in order to sustain an organization comprised of members of the community who actually work, run and promote farms on their own.
Neighborhood Foods markets at Rittenhouse Square and the Overbrook farmers market, selling fresh produce for competitive market prices. 30% of the profits from these sales go directly to subsidizing the produce for members of Neighborhood Foods, who live in the neighborhood surrounding their farm. This allows patrons of all income levels to eat well and provide meals for their families. The remaining profits go back into the organization, helping Neighborhood foods to continue its education programs, business courses and pay their staff. In 2012, Neighborhood Foods will offer a CSA option, which allows customers to pay a lump sum in the beginning of the year and then receive weekly installments of vegetables throughout the year in return. Purchase fresh produce from Neighborhood Foods helps sustain a neighborhood, for years and even generations to come.
Check Out Neighborhood Foods’ blog for more information about their staff, CSA, other programs, or whats availible on market day http://utcnfoods.com.