When I first started looking for organizations to get involved with I did not know the myriad ways a diverse group of people and small organizations were working to improve Philadelphia. For my first project I worked on setting up a community garden in the back of a small church in North Philly neighborhood where food availability is a chronic problem. This church’s garden worked in conjunction with a soup kitchen that the church also ran - as soon as the vegetables that the church group grew could be harvested, they would bring this produce to the soup kitchen to help supply the poorer citizens of neighborhood with healthy foods. This all took place in a derelict lot. Even though there was only a small amount of space, using raised planter beds and contamination-free soil, we were able to make use of all the land that we had at our disposal to grow wholesome food.
Throughout the month of April I volunteered with several local organizations working on projects to address the problem of food deserts and the lack of availability of wholesome food at affordable prices in inner city neighborhoods. This is why for my final blog I will focus on local efforts to eliminate food deserts and how Philadelphia is taking a stand to help those in need. In my previous blog posts I have mentioned a couple of these solutions, but now I have a better idea of what kind of programs are available out there and the energies people are directing to solving this problem.
I also volunteered at Fair Food Farmstand, which is a stand where local farmers can sell their produce, dairy products, and meat. Fair Food Farmstand sells food grown within a 150-mile radius and, even though their food is not inexpensive, they find ways to make it affordable for the customers who rely on their products. I am specifically talking about their “double dollar” program, which is when people who meet certain eligibility requirements, can buy a certain amount of food, while in addition, they are able to get the same amount of food free. They also contribute to food banks, which I mentioned in my previous blog posts.