Greensgrow Reclaims Our Forgotten Assets
by Katherine Mensching
Agricultural nonprofit Greensgrow farm, in Philadelphia, promotes the reuse of land once deemed useless. Their website states, “In the process, we are reconnecting city dwellers with rural food producers and promoting the greening of Philadelphia’s homes and gardens. Together, we are building a better, more progressive and sustainable Philadelphia.”
They maintain two gardening facilities, as well as an educational program, food access program and other projects that create permanent jobs with living wages for Philadelphia residents. Greensgrow focuses both on creating healthy and sustainable food sources and enriching the community by means of education, information and reliable sources of income.
Greensgrow Farms was started in 1997 by co-founders Mary Seton Corboy and Tom Sereduk. Prior. The pair had grown crops on a rented field in New Jersey while exploring the market for urban farming, and came across a litter-strewn lot in Kensington that was once a steel galvanizing factory; a Superfund brownfield that had been capped by the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration. After two successful years of hard work, Greensgrow Philadelphia registered for nonprofit status.
Greensgrow Farms is the original location on a site that was once a factory. Today, on once abandoned land, proudly stands three large, high-tunnel raised beds, greenhouses, a fully-equipped garden center and farmstand, and an animal family. Their second location, Greensgrow West, is located in West Philly. Also built on forgotten land, this community center on Baltimore Avenue features a tiny house with a reading library, a garden center, greenhouse, mini-farmstand, chickens and a variety of community-based events and educational programming aimed at furthering Greensgrow’s mission all across the city.
Greensgrow will conduct weekly Wednesday pop-up farm stands in July in Fishtown at Lutheran Settlement House and weekly Sunday pop-up farm stands at Pentridge Station. They also plan to host a number of events ranging from farm stands to workshops.
Greensgrow is focused on caring for people and the planet by cultivating healthy, fresh food on revived land, educating others about sustainability, agriculture and nutrition, and supporting Philadelphia’s people in any way they can. They’re commitment is equally as important to the organization as growing fresh food and beautifying once-forgotten spaces.
Greensgrow Farms has two locations in Philadelphia: 2501 E. Cumberland St., and Greensgrow West, at 5123 Baltimore Ave. For more information, visit Greensgrow.org.
Natural Awakenings intern Katherine Mensching is majoring in marketing at Saint Joseph’s University.