With the community gardening movement experiencing increasing popularity, some cities are undertaking innovative efforts to expand access to these facilities. In Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter directed the creation of a strategic plan called Green Works. One of the plan’s key goals is to “bring local food within 10 minutes [walk] of 75 percent of residents.
To accomplish this, the city, with the help of the Philadelphia Horticulture Society has mapped out the existing gardens and their proximity to residents. The maps allows the city to target programs to create new gardens and markets in underserved areas, perhaps concentrating first on higher population density areas or those without other access to fresh food.
Using this information the, Green Works makes the following statement and goals:
Today Philadelphia enjoys 30 outdoor seasonal farmers’ markets, which provide a place for people to gather and purchase agricultural products from the region. An additional 200 food-producing gardens combine to make access to fresh food convenient for even more city residents. And no discussion of access to fresh food would be complete without a nod to Philadelphia’s crown jewel—the Reading Terminal Market. In addition to its being a leading tourist destination, Reading Terminal Market is the leading redeemer of food stamps and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers in the state. Yet, as the map [see right] indicates, many city neighborhoods still lack access to locally grown fresh food. To increase this access citywide, Greenworks Philadelphia calls for the creation of 59 food-producing gardens, 12 farms and 15 farmers’ markets in Philadelphia.
This is only one component of Philadelphia’s efforts in this area, but it is one of the most important. As the old business-success-model saying goes, its all about location, location, location.