Philadelphia, PA (July 23, 2009)- A group of young gardeners rubbed elbows with Washington officials at the East Poplar Urban Farm. Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) and the members of Teens 4 Good (a Greater Philadelphia Federation of Settlements program that provides high school students with a variety of life skills) hosted the visit of Adolfo Carrion, Director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs, and Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Joined by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, the federal officials praised PHS and the teen organization for their work in creating community gardens throughout the city and providing fresh produce for underserved residents.
The East Poplar Urban Farm, 8th and Poplar Streets, devotes a portion of its land to City Harvest, the PHS program that trains prison inmates to raise vegetable seedlings, which are then nurtured at community gardens. The produce is brought to area food cupboards and distributed to neighborhood residents. City Harvest worked with 35 community gardens last year to produce 40,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables that fed about 640 families each week through the growing season.
Carrion and Sims toured the East Poplar garden and then rolled up their sleeves and helped the teens in a harvest of the garden’s potato crop. The officials were in Philadelphia with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke as part of a nationwide tour, “A National Conversation on the Future of Urban and Metropolitan America.” The focus in Philadelphia was on fresh food, health, economic development, workforce development, and neighborhood revitalization.
White House Officials Visit a Philly Garden