Soil Generation (SG)--”Time as generational, cyclical, unifying -Soil as life giving, healing, affirming wellness”
Soil Generation is a black-led, grassroots coalition of radical community gardeners and urban farmers working to build a hyper-local food system in Philadelphia that promotes health and equity in historically marginalized communities and works toward the creation and preservation of safe, healthy, economically secure and culturally-reflective neighborhoods.
- (1) Community Self-Determination. We believe communities know what is best for their neighborhoods and should lead efforts to envision and plan for their land and their food system.
- (2) Community Self-Representation. We believe decisions about policy, land use and resources should be informed by those most affected.
- (3) Supportive Policies. We believe policies should encourage community-driven green space and food systems, including community gardens and farms. To this end, we advocate for an equitable, accountable and transparent process for accessing, preserving, and tending land for community gardens, farms and green spaces.
- (4) Healthy Neighborhoods. We believe gardens, farms and green spaces are integral pieces of a healthy neighborhood, yielding many benefits such as: improved public health; opportunities for education; access to and consumption of healthy, affordable, local and culturally appropriate food; self-reliance; safer, healthier and greener neighborhoods; resilient and sustainable environments; community building; leadership development; job training and economic development; and recreation.
- (5) Food Justice. We believe in a food system that encompasses health and equity at all stages of production, distribution, consumption, and disposal.
- (6) Environmental Justice. We believe in preserving safe and healthy built and natural environments so that every community has access to gardens, farms, green spaces, wholesome foods and clean water.
History of Healthy Foods Green Spaces and Soil Generation!
Healthy Foods Green Spaces began promoting citywide advocacy by convening individuals and organizations to be a constituent-led voice for farms, gardens, and green spaces through advocacy, grassroots organizing, and education in 2012. The coalition grew out of the successful campaign convened by the Garden Justice Legal Initiative, Weavers Way Co-op, the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, and others, leading a vocal group of gardeners, farmers and allies to halt a zoning amendment (Bill 120917) introduced to Philadelphia’s City Council that would have placed twenty percent of existing gardens and farms at risk. Read more here. After we responded to the zoning amendment, we realized that we needed to formalize our efforts and work proactively to expand the reach of urban agriculture and green spaces advocacy in the city.
Healthy Foods Green Spaces elected to move forward on a number of short and long-term advocacy campaigns. To date, this burgeoning urban garden and farm constituency has already secured three campaign successes: defeating a threatening zoning amendment, participating in securing passage of a citywide land bank bill, and providing input into the strategic planning process for the land bank. Recently, the coalition decided to change it's name to more reflect the diverse membership as well as their work in the community.
Current and Upcoming Projects
- Development Without Displacement Campaign by the Philadelphia Commission for Affordable Communities (PCAC): PCAC is a coalition of community, disability, faith, labor, and urban agriculture organizations that has joined together to pass laws that fund more affordable, accessible housing and urban agriculture.
- For more information:
- Vacant Land 215 Session and Seed Swap: Feb 25 at Ramonita de Rodriguez Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia
-600 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19123 from 1-3pm
After great success with Vacant Land 101, the Garden Justice Legal Initiative, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and Soil Generation have parterned with community groups and advocates to lead Vacant Land 215 sessions that provide information, resources, and question and answer opportunites for anyone interested in learning more about community gardening or farming on vacant land in Philadephia. If your communitiy is interested in hosting a Vacant Land 215 session, contact Kirtrina Baxter at firstname.lastname@example.org, and check out this post for more info.
- Train-the-Trainers Workshops: (TBA) The goal of these workshops will be to train a network of community-based educators and advocates to lead their communities by understanding how to obtain legal access to vacant lots for gardening or farming, participating in the community planning process, staying current with planning developments in Philadelphia reported by the media, and guiding their communities through a campaign arc that is grounded in community empowerment and centered on a particular piece of land.
Philadelphia Water info sessions for Stormwater fess: As of January 2017, qualifying community gardens can apply for 100% discounted monthly Philadelphia Water Department stormwater fees! To learn more about the fee exemption and the application process please attend a workshop co-hosted by Neighborhood Gardens Trust, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and PWD. All sessions will be held at the PHS office at 100 N. 20thStreet.· Wednesday, February 22nd , 6pm-7:30pm (PHS 5th floor Boardroom)· Wednesday, March 22nd , 6pm 7:30pm (PHS 1st floor Town Hall)· Wednesday, April 19th , 6pm-7:30 (PHS 5th floor Boardroom)
Official Coalition Members
OUR MEMBERS SHOW UP AS INDIVIDUALS WITH THEIR OWN POLITICAL AND PERSONAL OPINIONS.
Affiliate Organizations & Gardens/Farms
African American United Fund
Community Farm and Food Resource Center at Bartram's Garden
Early Bird Farms
East Park Revitalization Alliance
Garden Justice Legal Initiative, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphi
Historic Fairhill Burial Ground Garden
Mill Creek Farm
Norris Square Neighborhood Project
One Art Community Center
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
Philadelphia Backyard Chickens
Philadelphia Orchard Project
Philadelphia Urban Creators
Philadelphia Urban Roots Collective
Sanctuary Wholistic Arts
The Masters Garden
The Table Spread
Urban Tree Connection
Jewish Farm School
What members say about Soil Generation:
"SG is about community, knowledge, and solidarity. It's about solid relationships serving as a the foundation for sharing information, offering support, and strengthening the connections between racial, food and environmental justice. There is a spirit in our gatherings that I miss in other political groups, and a political awareness that I miss in other food/plant/earth-focused groups. It's the coalition that makes me the most excited to keep growing roots in Philadelphia." -Bri Barton
"The coalition means that I am actively growing community along with the food to sustain it. The Law Center aids the coalition by being advocates, and supplying us with the knowledge and resources to protect ourselves and our work individually and collectively." -Atiba Ellerby
"The coalition has provided me with a means to stay abreast of the hard work being done by sister and brother gardener in communities throughout Philly and south Jersey. I have also as a farmer benefited from the connections made through SG by partnering with SG members for events and actions and adding my voice to national and global food sovereignty initiatives. SG is one of the few explicitly food sovereignty focused community groups in Philly that is attempting to address the race, class and power issues that meet in our work as growers. SG is working hard to move forward in its work supporting food justice and neighborhood sovereignty in Philly and it has met some expected and unexpected challenges along the way.Through it all the membership has stayed committed to farming, working, praying and playing through it."- Chris Bolden-Newsome
"The Soil Generation are people born at the right time in history. They are groupings of individuals brave enough to explore the full spectrum of their joy and their sorrow. These are a people that have chosen to find their people, to connect with each other by any means necessary. We have decided to inherit the earth, treat it as precious and honor all of the creatures of this planet with the greatest love possible.We are a people willing to investigate the past in order to create brilliant future." - Charlyn Griffith