The Hope Gardener: Volunteer cultivates youth, garden at homeless shelter

photo by Stephen DyerFor 77-year-old Margaret Guthrie, the key to success and longevity is all about perspective. “I still think I’m 18,” she says, laughing. “I wake up and I look in the mirror and I say, ‘Who the hell is that old hag?’ But I stay interested. I’m always curious about something or someone. … If you keep your eyes open to see all that’s going on around you, it’s hard to grow old.” 
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Revel in Philadelphia's Farms with the Weavers Way Urban Farm Bike Ride

Last year's Urban Farm Bike TourOn Saturday, September 7, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Weavers Way Co-op will combine two linchpins of sustainability - urban farming and biking - in their 8th Annual Urban Farm Ride. 

Riders will explore Philadelphia’s diverse neighborhoods, hear inspiring talks from urban farmers, and at the end of the ride enjoy pizza and beer and receive a commemorative t-shirt. Snacks and water will be provided along the route. 

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Country Fair Day at Saul High School, Sat., May 11!

Sometimes spending a day in the country is all a city-dweller needs to recharge.  This Saturday, May 11, W.B. Saul High School for Agricultural Sciences is inviting Philadelphians to do just that. Saul’s annual Country Fair Day will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the high school’s 150-acre campus at 7100 Henry Avenue in Roxborough.  The school’s biggest annual fundraising event will feature demonstrations, games, a plant sale, food trucks, a silent auction, a “horsey baby shower,” and cow plop bingo.  (We’ll leave that last one to your imagination.)  Money raised through the event supports the school’s hand-on approach to teaching students about agriculture, animal sciences, horticulture, and natural resource management.

Weavers Way’s Henry Got Crops! CSA, a community supported agriculture partnership between Weavers Way and Saul High School, will also be on hand with information about their CSA.  You can sign up to support the on-site farm by becoming a CSA shareholder, and they will be offering an orientation for new members.  The Henry Got Crops! CSA differs from some CSAs in that all vegetables are grown on-site, and they don’t purchase vegetables from other farms.  Additionally, Weavers Way Community Program’s farm educator teaches Saul students about small-scale, sustainable agriculture and distribution through the CSA.

For a full listing of Country Fair Day events, visit W.B. Saul High School’s website.  To learn more about Weavers Way’s Henry Got Crops! CSA or to become a shareholder, visit Weavers Way’s website.

Farm Truck offers mobile access to local food and art

If there’s one characteristic indispensable to anyone in the food business, it’s patience. Eliot Coven and Kris Pepper, owners of the food truck/mobile art gallery Farm Truck, know that all too well. The duo is often up into the early hours of the morning prepping locally sourced ingredients, like herb-roasted tomatoes for their Artichoke Pesto Mozzarella Sandwich and jalapeno cream cheese to pair with a fresh-baked LeBus bagel. The hours clocked are well worth it as their menu of homemade soups, sandwiches and salads boast a delicious sampling of what’s in season.

Coven and Pepper, both Philadelphia University graduates, are equally thoughtful about their truck’s carbon footprint. Their food is served in recyclable or biodegradable food containers, and a recycling bin travels with the truck. During the warmer months, expect their sustainability initiatives to go one step further — the truck will become a mobile farmers market, selling the same produce from Common Market and Weavers Way Co-op that Coven and Pepper use in their dishes. But that’s not all. In addition to being a kitchen for their own creations, the truck, which was painted by artist Gabe Felice, is also a gallery for local artists. Grid caught up with the chefs on Farm Truck’s one-month anniversary to see how their patience has paid off. To keep tabs on where the truck will be parked, check out Farm Truck’s Facebook and Twitter (@Farm_Truck).

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Zoning Amendment Threatens Urban Farms in Philly

Grumblethorpe Historic House and Garden is one of the gardens that would be seriously affected by the new zoning changes. The two-acre garden grows fruits and vegetables and employs high school students at a weekly farmstand.

This article was originally published in the January 2013 issue of Weavers Way Co-op's Shuttle newspaper.

On December 13, 2012, less than four months after the widely anticipated implementation of the city’s brand new zoning code, City Council’s Committee on Rules voted to approve an ordinance that undoes important aspects of the code, including the gains made for urban agriculture in Philadelphia. Introduced by Councilman Brian O’Neill, Bill 120917 creates restrictions on a range of uses in commercial mixed uses areas. Among these restrictions, the bill would only allow community gardening and market farming by “special exception” on over one third of the city’s commercially zoned lands, meaning the gardeners would have to.

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