What would it take to bring neighborhood greening, curriculum opportunities and fresh produce to Philadelphia’s crumbling school system? South Philadelphia High School may have an answer. This morning the high school, in partnership with South Philly’s Lower Moyamensing Civic Association (LoMo), launched a crowd funding campaign to raise more than $26,000 for the development of a campus-wide “Greening” Master Plan and to fund a garden educator position. The plan will lay the groundwork for a rooftop farm and greening improvements that aim to convert the school’s 5.5-acre urban campus into a sustainability poster child.
In August 2012, LoMo president Kim Massare pitched the ambitious greening initiative to Otis Hackney, principal at South Philly High, and Roofmeadow, a Philadelphia-based design and engineering firm. Together with the school’s garden educator Molly Devinney, the team quickly crafted a strategy for turning the lofty vision into reality. The key? Partnering with a new online platform called Projexity, which uses crowd funding to raise money for neighborhood improvement projects. The goal of Projexity is to provide “a new and better way for anyone – from moms to mayors – to initiate and manage neighborhood improvement projects,” explains Marisa Bernstein, Projexity co-founder and a University of Pennsylvania alumnus.