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The New Frontier for Gardens and Open Space in Philadelphia

Staff attorney Amy Laura Cahn will discuss the Philadelphia Land Bank and how the city is making the most of its green space at the Center for Architecture on August 4.

The Design Advocacy Group is hosting Pop Ups, Preservation and Permanence: The New Frontier for Gardens and Open Space in Philadelphia, on Thursday, August 4 at 8 a.m. at the Center for Architecture. Amy Laura will join Jeff Barg of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to discuss how Philadelphia is leading the way in making the most of its green space and what steps the city needs to take moving forward.

Pop Ups, Preservation and Permanence: The New Frontier for Gardens and Open Space in Philadelphia
Center for Architecture
1218 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
8 a.m.

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City Officials are “DIGGING IN” to Urban Agriculture in Philly

This year urban and community agriculture, here in Philadelphia has had some significant wins, of which the Garden Justice Legal Initiative and Soil Generation has been instrumental in forwarding. According to our records at the Public Interest Law Center here are some of the changes that are helping city officials to understand the positive impacts of community gardening and farming on the city.

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The Land of Milk Versus Honey

By Kehmari Norman

I look 14. I noticed a re-tweet online that read:

I like my women to age like wine, not like milk.

I laughed. I thought deeply. My mom looks 29. By wisdom, force, and/or obligation, my ancestors ate certain foods and retained a sacred relationship with such foods. These tokens of wisdom, force-fed, obligatory edibles live in the garden that I serve in North Philadelphia and are handled in a similar fashion. I forage and fast in the heart of a food desert. The 15th Street Garden, on the corner of 15th and Diamond Street, is, to me, a time capsule. I've helped to construct this portal starting in 2014

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Vietlead -Serving up Vietnamese History & Culture Through Food

Vietlead is a new-- literally grassroots-- community organization that is serving the Vietnamese community in Philadelphia and South Jersey composed of members who seek to build a community, cultural, and people-centered vision for self determination. Our programs include Resilient Roots Community Farm, OurRoots youth organizing project, and Senior Health Promotion. Resilient Roots (RR) is a half acre intergenerational farm partnered with Vietnamese refugee elder families and high school students from Camden County to build local ownership and resiliency on top of a vacant concrete lot in East Camden!

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Community Gardens of West Philly Tour

Info from Hidden City Philadelphia:

Community Gardens of West Philly

June 18 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Cost: Free! Please CLICK HERE to register

Philadelphia boasts several hundred community gardens, and each of them has a story to tell. Some have been tended to for more than 40 years while others are recent additions to a neighborhood, but only a few are preserved as permanent growing spaces for future generations of gardeners. This free, approximately two mile walking tour will be in held in conjunction with the 3rd Annual Community Gardens Day, a citywide celebration organized by the Neighborhood Gardens Trust. Here’s what we’ve got on tap.

• Farm51 (5103 Chester Avenue) is a small-scale educational urban farm and market. Part production site, part neighborhood hangout, Farm51 is a homey blend of animal, people, and plants.

• St. Bernard Community Garden (1008-1010 St. Bernard Street) Tucked away next to the regional rail line, this vacant lot was transformed into a vibrant green space in the late 1980s. The St. Bernard Gardeners have fought hard for its preservation.

• Chester Avenue Community Garden (4700 block of Chester Ave) Hidden behind a screen of trees, this secret garden grows bountiful flowers and vegetables.

• Warrington Community Garden (4731 Warrington)Take an herbal tour and sip mint tea at one of West Philly’s largest and oldest gardens, started in 1973.

• The Woodlands (4000 Woodland Ave.) Designated as a National Historic Landmark District, the Woodlands’ 54-acre property hosts a community garden complete with raised beds, beehives, and a rain garden. It is also graced by the Grave Gardeners a new group of volunteers who tend cradle graves, originally designed to be planters in the Victorian era.

This free tour will be led by Amy Laura Cahn, Director of the Garden Justice Legal Initiative of the Public Interest Law Center.

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Stormwater Billing Exemption

Councilmember Quiñones Sánchez introduced legislation to create a stormwater billing exemption for gardens and farms. This is a critical piece in ensuring long term garden preservation and furthers the city’s work on green stormwater infrastructure. There will be a hearing on this bill on June 2nd at 10 a.m. in City Council Chambers.

Language of the bill is here:

https://phila.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2732869&GUID=E7116938-924E-4BC2-A9E4-DF166C1AFFF3&Options=ID|Text|&Search=160523&FullText=1

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From PACDC: Land Bank Sees Its First Withdrawals

The Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC) sent an email about the first withdrawals from the Land Bank. Here is the email:

"Exciting developments from the Philadelphia Land Bank: the first properties are moving through the Land Bank! The properties were first transferred into the Land Bank on December 9th and moved to Council and the Vacant Property Review Committee which both provided approval in mid-April. The final step will be for approval by the Land Bank Board. Both properties are intended to be used for new residential construction - one occupied by the applicant and the other part of a larger site assemblage.

The Land Bank has also moved forward on acquiring properties. Since December 2015 more than 1,700 publicly owned properties have been approved for transfer into the Land Bank, including nearly all properties held by the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation. On May 12th the Board authorized the acquisition of the first set of properties to be pulled from Sheriff Sale using the Land Bank's new powers to acquire privately owned, tax delinquent properties. More properties are slated to be similarly acquired in the next few months.

We applaud the dedicated Land Bank employees who have worked hard to make the Philadelphia Land Bank operational!"

From PACDC.

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USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service focus group meeting

The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is having a focus group meeting to gather information, comments, suggestions, etc. from you on how NRCS can serve you better. The meeting is planned for May 24, 2016 at 4pm. Saul High School in Philadelphia has been selected as the place for having the meeting. The meeting will be conducted by a group of contractors NRCS has hired.

For this meeting NRCS is concentrating on getting input from urban farmers. NRCS is learning about urban agriculture and once it has gathered the information needed from the farmers, and according to the need and resources, NRCS may need to collect information from gardeners.

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