Leader of the 'Pack

Ambler organizer and activist amazes all

Susan Curry, one of the founders of Pennypack Farm, has devoted her life to environmental issues. | Photo by Cheryl Wilks

Susan Curry is known throughout the Philadelphia region as an environmental organizer, perhaps most notably as one of the founders of Pennypack Farm, the first organic CSA-centric farm in Montgomery County. 

In 2000, Curry was part of a group in the Philadelphia area studying voluntary simplicity—in her words, 
"Voluntarily living with very little income by significantly reducing expenses”—through the Northwest Earth Institute, a Portland, Ore., nonprofit that mentors those concerned with environmental issues. When the local group decided to start an organic farm, Curry wrote a letter to the editor of the Ambler Gazette, calling for a meeting at the Trax Café. The group became the founding committee of Pennypack Farm. “Every time we met at Trax Café, I had everyone write what they wanted our values to be," Curry says. “I always wrote ‘bringing like-minded, progressive people together to form a community.'" 

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Subsidized CSAs make farm fresh produce available to an economically diverse population

Raspberries from the Pennypack Farm CSA. | Photo from PennypackThere is a thrill that comes with receiving a CSA share. What treasures does it hold? What cooking adventures will it inspire? These small pleasures are not available to everyone – for many families the added cost of a farm share doesn’t fit into the weekly grocery budget. Andy Andrews, farm director at Pennypack Farm, had this realization in 2007, when the farm began setting up at the Clark Park farmers market in West Philadelphia.

“It was obviously a very different area than Horsham (where the original Pennypack pick up is located) with a very diverse base of customers,” Andrews says, “many of whom were using EBT and SNAP as payment.”

In 2011, Pennypack started a farm share drop-off specifically accessible to a lower income population. This program offers small shares – five items of produce for $10 per week. This is about 50 percent cheaper than their regular, six-month CSA. Now in its third year, this popular program is subsidized by the Walk Against Hunger, (happening this Saturday, April 13th) which covers half of the cost.

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Leaders of the Pack: Kids and parents flock to Pennypack Farm

story by Shaun Brady | photo by Emily WrenOn spring, summer and fall afternoons, Pennypack Farm is the hot spot for local families. Parents gather at the Montgomery County nonprofit to examine the selection of crops laid out farmers market-style in the harvest house. Kids head straight for the U-Pick crops and start on rows of green beans, raspberries and other coveted produce. But fresh fruits and vegetables are not the only goodies these member families will return home with, says Margot Bradley, the administrative director and one of Pennypack’s founding members. “Every time somebody sets foot here, they’re going to learn something. We look at every visit to the farm as an education.”
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