The Food Policy Advisory Council (FPAC) is made up of 30 Appointed Members from across Philadelphia’s food system who advise the Mayor and local government to create a more just food system. FPAC envisions a food system where all people in Philadelphia have the power and resources to access and control food, land, and labor. FPAC aims to be led by and work with historically underserved communities to identify and remove the barriers in the food system and to empower the people of Philadelphia toward food sovereignty.
Through its work with FPAC, Farm Philly spearheaded Philadelphia’s first community-led Urban Agriculture Plan to support residents and communities design and lead their own agriculture projects, and to ensure equitable distribution of food grown on public land. Ash Richards has been an ex-officio member of FPAC since 2012 and Co-chair of the Urban Agriculture Subcommittee until 2021. Donnel Brown is currently an ex-officio member of the Urban Agriculture Subcommittee.
Pasa Sustainable Agriculture is a Pennsylvania-based organization that administers farmer training, research, policy, peer education, and local food programs. It is a network of tens of thousands of farmers, food system professionals, and changemakers working together to advance regenerative and equitable agriculture in communities across the county. In 2021, Pasa launched the Diversified Vegetable Pre-Apprenticeship which provides introductory hands-on training for people who want to explore sustainable farming as a career but have little to no prior farming experience.
Farm Philly partnered with Pasa in 2022 to become a training partner with the Diversified Vegetable Pre-Apprenticeship program. In coordination with PowerCorpsPHL, Farm Philly has been training young urban farmers since 2015. As part of the Pasa partnership, Farm Philly will expand on the workforce development efforts to train a diverse urban agriculture workforce. As a training partner, Farm Philly manages the pre-apprentice recruitment, training, and supervision, while Pasa offers the curriculum and administrative support. Farm Philly will strengthen diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in agriculture through this partnership by creating a career pathway for agriculture.
Lessons and Activities for Youth to Explore and Connect with the Environment
Climate Heroes is a curriculum that provides young people with opportunities to make connections with nature and be more motivated to take care of their environment – by becoming “Climate Heroes.” Youth can earn several Climate Hero Badges: Clean Air; Clean Water; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle; Healthy Habitat; and Earth Care – while learning about the connections between plants, trees, indicator species, and growing food and climate health. These six lessons can be done in sequence, individually, or as part of a lifelong engagement with these issues.
The Climate Hero curriculum was created with a CUSP (Climate & Urban Systems Partner) grant, in collaboration between Parks & Rec, Awbury Arboretum, and Penn State Extension in the winter of 2018 – 2019. In the summer of 2019, Farm Philly piloted the new Climate Change curriculum at recreation centers throughout the city. The curriculum is currently available online for anyone to use.
Diverting food waste by engaging Rec Centers across Philly
The Recreation Center Compost Program, started in 2020, is a public/private partnership between Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and Bennett Compost. Farm Philly and the Office of Sustainability worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to create this first-of-its-kind permit which has made this program possible. The new permit was approved and granted in the spring of 2022, and Parks & Rec now hosts the first small-scale urban composting operation in Pennsylvania.
Through the partnership with Bennett Compost, the program ensures that the majority of Recreation Center food waste is diverted from landfill and processed into compost to use as a valued soil amendment. Each year an additional 25 Recreation Centers will be recruited into the program until all city Recreation Centers are participating. Parks & Rec staff leads ongoing programming for Recreation Center youth and staff, as well as provides training for new sites.