There's some exciting news on the urban farming front. Urban Tree Connection (UTC), the West Philly based urban greening non-profit, just announced that it has been appointed the conservator of an abandoned property. The group transformed the vacant land into a farm this year. The decision was one of the first made under the Pennsylvania Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act, which has only been in effect since early 2009.
Despite not owning the land, UTC began cleaning up the lot this past spring. Once the land was cleared, 30 different types of produce were planted, and in its first season the farm harvested 100 pounds of fruits and vegetables, all of which went to a low-income CSA for neighborhood residents. The farm's simple purpose is to provide affordable, healthy sustenance and agricultural education. The relationships that are built at the farm and the satisfying taste of freshly-picked produce are added bonuses.
Let’s hope that the success of UTC will result in more of Philly’s urban farmers receiving official stewardship of the vacant lots they've transformed.
Look for more information on UTC and urban agriculture in Grid’s upcoming issue.