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The Boiling Point

After Two Decades, a Philadelphia Urban Farm Grapples with Growing Pains

After Two Decades, a Philadelphia Urban Farm Grapples with Growing Pains. As Philadelphia’s good-food landscape has expanded, Greensgrow faces competitors ranging from supermarkets stocking more local and organic foods to other urban farms in Philly to meal-kit delivery services like Blue Apron or Purple Carrot. Now, the farmers are faced with issues that could impact its long-term survival, such as how should Greensgrow carry on Corboy’s vision, support its changing neighborhood and evolve into more of a year-round operation. And a year later, Corboy still looms large over daily operations for the farm and its 40 employees—a poster-sized photo of her hangs in Kuck’s office, with the caption: “WWMD” (What Would Mary Do?). “I knew how impossible it would be to fill Mary’s shoes. In late 2016, Greensgrow created Mary’s Community Fund, which gives $1,000 grants to individuals and organizations for neighborhood greening, a cause also dear to Kuck. Greensgrow raises some hydroponic lettuces on-site, as well as a line of organic veggie starts, and it produces its own “Honey from the Hood” from nearly a dozen beehives. Greensgrow isn’t the first urban farm in Philadelphia, and many others have taken root over the past 20 years, including the farm at Bartram’s Garden, the nation’s oldest botanic garden; Nice Roots Farm, which started in 2009 as an project of the SHARE Food Program; and Heritage Farm, a four-acre plot that begin in 2011 to provide food and food-growing training to Methodist Service’s clients. Some of these urban peers also offer direct-to-neighborhood sales and/or CSA programs, helping to spur Greensgrow’s need to expand its offerings. “We’re trying to offer a more consistent experience for our customers and for our staff.” Hosting events offers one avenue for growth—the farm held nine weddings last year—but doing so would probably require an investment in more covered spaces on the property.

Goodbye 'Filthadelphia': Philly sets realistic benchmarks for reaching 'zero waste'

Philadelphia has released a new action plan for becoming a "zero waste" city by 2035 — and while the goal may be lofty, the steps to get there are more measured.

Unlike other "zero waste" cities that have set benchmarks or targets they may not always hit, Philadelphia's Zero Waste & Litter Cabinet intentionally created a timelinethat only looks...

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