November: Comings & Goings

Social Impact, Energy, Sustainability and Moral Economy Conferences Come to Philadelphia
Nov. 3 through 5, the national Net Impact Conference will be held at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Philadelphia B-Lab Founder Jay Coen Gilbert will be among many Philadelphia-based speakers. The conference is open to the public, and offers social-impact-focused career connections for professionals and students. 

The Philadelphia Energy Futures Summit will be held Nov. 15 and 16 at Drexel University. Free discussions will focus on the future of climate change, alternative energy, and the role of the public and private sectors.

Nov. 17, the Energy Coordinating Agency is hosting Connecting the Dots Now for a Self-Sufficient Energy Future, at Temple University, which will focus on the intersection of policy, poverty and energy. 

Finally, from Dec. 1 through 4 Pendle Hill, a Quaker study, retreat and conference center, will host the Visioning and Creating a Moral Economy conference, which is open to the public and is co-sponsored by the Quaker Institute for the Future, New Economy Coalition and the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance. 

City Hires Safety Director for Bikes, Cars, Pedestrians
Kelley Yemen was hired in October to serve as Philadelphia’s Complete Streets director—a new position created to manage and integrate the many obstacles Philly faces while undergoing long-term construction projects and adopting modern bicycle-safety measures.

Yemen will coordinate with Philly’s streets, water, licensing and inspection departments, and zoning committees, while the city prepares a Vision Zero task force.

A “vision zero” approach of no casualties—which has been championed by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia—generally includes bike barriers, tighter restrictions for traffic violations and other methods of preventing motor vehicle accidents.

Hungry Harvest Partners with Philabundance After ‘Shark Tank’ Debut
Produce delivery startup Hungry Harvest began taking subscriptions in October to help curb the estimated 20 percent of produce that goes to waste in Philadelphia. The Maryland-based company received a $100,000 investment after CEO Evan Lutz appeared on the ABC reality show “Shark Tank” and plans to expand to other major cities.

Subscriptions start at $15 per week to receive doorstep deliveries of discounted, freshly picked fruits and vegetables that farmers can’t otherwise sell. 

For every box purchased in the city and its suburbs, Hungry Harvest will donate one to two pounds of produce to Philabundance, which provides food to approximately 90,000 people in the area each week.

Hungry Harvest plans to double donations for every new customer in the first month.

Philly Geek Awards Announces Winners
The 2016 Philly Geek Awards announced winners on Oct. 18. Community Future Labs, a resource library, community studio and gallery, workshop space, story recording booth, think tank and experimental space, was awarded Impact Org of the Year. South Fellini, soon to open a storefront on East Passyunk Avenue, was awarded Maker of the Year. Food Connect, which links homeless shelters to restaurants looking to donate their leftover food, won Development Project of the Year. Geek of the Year was awarded to software developer Kathryn Killebrew, a longtime member of Philadelphia’s coding community who works with the Geospatial Insights team at Azavea, serves as a volunteer for Girl Develop It and Code for Philly, and is the developer behind the CyclePhilly and TransitAnalyst apps. 

Pilot Program Launched to Help Utilize Lawn and Garden Space
The Nature Conservancy and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology launched Habitat Network in October. The free online platform allows users to map their outdoor space, share it with others, and learn more about supporting wildlife habitat and other natural functions. 

“It’s a great way to get to know your yard better. You are really the expert about what’s going on around your house or neighborhood, and we want to tap into that expertise in a way that can benefit the scientific community,” said Rhiannon Crain, project leader for Habitat Network at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Habitat Network offers alternate solutions for yards, parks and other urban green spaces to support birds, pollinators and other wildlife, and can help manage water resources and reduce chemical use like pesticides and fertilizers.

The mapping tool is available nationally, but is being piloted with local organizations in Philly, Boston and Washington D.C. Users’ self-reported information will provide data that the conservancy and the lab can use to understand a habitat’s role in benefiting wildlife and humans. So far, the website has mapped more than 20,000 yards, gardens and parks.

Kensington Co-op Granted $350,000 for New Building
Kensington Community Food Co-op received $350,000 from the Department of Commerce’s Cultural Corridor Fund, which will go toward renovations for a grocery store to be opened at 2666–72 Coral St. Previous recipients of the Cultural Corridor Fund include the Salvation Army Kroc Center and Taller Puertorriqueño—both in North Philly—and Franklin’s Paine Skate Park Fund. The co-op is currently trying to raise just over $130,000 by Nov. 15 to
complete their fundraising.