Farm Film: West Philly Grown

In early December, Mill Creek Urban Farm held its annual benefit to raise funds and promote the farm's mission—providing access to fresh food and nutrition education. The party also marked the debut of a two-part documentary, West Philly Grown, that shares the story behind the farm.

The content for the documentary was collected by filmmaker Clay Hereth throughout the 2010 growing season. It's a beautifully shot glimpse into the urban farm's establishment and plans for the future. As co-founder Jade Walker puts it:

One of the major reasons that motivated us to start the farm, and to start growing food in this neighborhood is that there is no grocery store. It’s what is called a ‘food desert,’ and there’s a lack of options. I feel strongly that everyone deserves these options. We all deserve the option to eat locally and to feed ourselves with the foods that we culturally want to be eating. And what make sense to us as far as recipes, and as far as our family’s history. And we also deserve the option to have food without pesticides.

Walker, and fellow co-founder Johanna Rosen, also discuss an issue that many urban farms in the city face—insecurity. The farm's land is owned by the city through the Redevelopment Authority and leased to the Philadelphia Water Department. That means it's not safe from being seized and used for building purposes. One of the goal's of Mill Creek is to get the land put into a land trust with the Neighborhood Gardens Association so it will be protected.

Check out the documentary, and if you have the means, consider donating to Mill Creek Urban Farm. If not, they are always looking for willing volunteers interested in getting their hands dirty.

Watch part two after the jump.