In 2019, Farm Philly began a new initiative to develop the City’s first Urban Agriculture Plan, Growing from the Root. Growing from the Root is a 10-year comprehensive plan for a thriving local food system and economy with an urban agricultural foundation. The plan addresses the systems, structures, resources, and policies necessary to sustain and grow urban agriculture in Philadelphia and nurture a more just local food system. It is Philadelphia’s first urban agriculture plan, co-created with Philadelphia farmers, gardeners, and urban agriculture advocates. This plan builds on a history of agricultural practices that are rooted in Black, Indigenous, immigrant, and refugee communities; practices that have been nurtured across the City by residents for generations. In the words of the City’s many growers, urban agriculture heals communities and gives them a self-determined path to grow culturally-appropriate, affordable and nourishing food.
Growing from the Root is a plan commissioned by the City and grounded in community organizing. Philadelphia Parks & Recreation worked with community-based partners to co-develop the plan: Soil Generation, a Black and Brown grassroots agroecology coalition of Philadelphia growers and advocates, and Interface Studio, a Philadelphia-based city planning firm. This marked a new approach for Parks & Rec, bringing together planners, community advocates, and City staff to co-create a roadmap toward a more just local food system. Through the planning process, the planning team turned many years’ worth of feedback and work from residents, gardeners, and educators into actionable recommendations.
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (Parks & Rec) led the plan’s development, but its success will rely on collaboration between many City agencies, grassroots and nonprofit organizations, philanthropic partners, growers and residents across the city. As a project of the City of Philadelphia with community values at the center, we are working to co-create a culturally competent and equity based approach to ensure residents most impacted are engaged and represented in the planning process. The project team carried out the process according to the values of transparency, racial and economic justice, and inclusion.
This page includes links to the Urban Agriculture Plan, in Spanish and English, as well as documents from the engagement process that informed its contents.
Crisis is not new for many communities in our city that have been struggling with health issues and food insecurity. The current pandemic has only worsened that reality, shining a light on the underlying structural inequalities that disproportionately impact Black and Brown communities in this city.
Amongst these hardships, we are also seeing an increase in community members growing food and many more expressing interest in learning the tools and practices of agriculture. Our communities have long been growing as a means to become more self-reliant and resilient to the shocks to our global food system. The practices of community gardening and farming have been an integral part of survival and independence for communities for generations, and we hope to underscore the urgency to continue supporting that work.