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Philly growers spoke out. The result is an ‘anti-racist lens’ for city’s first agricultural plan

Kirtrina Baxter at work at her community farm in North Philadelphia. (Provided)

In March, Parks and Rec declared gardens “essential and life-sustaining,” so that they could operate during the COVID-19 shutdown.

By Catalina Jaramillo
Why PBS
January 13, 2021

Excerpt:

In March, Parks and Rec declared gardens “essential and life-sustaining,” so that they could operate during the COVID-19 shutdown. The department also created guidelines and support for community gardens and farmers markets to operate safely, and for gardeners to get access to the organic recycling center. It raised about $385,000 to get face masks, gloves, and other protective equipment to gardens, farms, farmers markets, and all food workers, and established PPE hubs for gardeners to collect them.

The department also got funding to build for what Richards calls “public utilities” for urban growers, including tool and seed libraries so residents can produce food on their own, and a community composting manual that will be released in summer 2021. The city’s public greenhouse will also reopen soon.

“Residents that do not have access to finances needed to purchase and maintain farming supplies, such as tools, seeds, compost, soil testing, will be able to utilize these resources as a public utility,” Richards said.

The work represents the foundation of the urban agriculture plan, Richards said.
“So even though the planning process was put on hold, our office in partnership with other agencies is not only re-emphasizing, but reinforcing that food is a priority; that food policy absolutely should be one of the number one priorities of the mayoral administration; and that COVID just showed us the disparities and inequities (…) and also the need for gardens and farms to be seen as a central resources, permanent resources,” Richards said.

Read the complete article here.

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