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RDA must wait to launch Urban farms

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

By now, it could have been time to harvest crops grown on vacant land across Philadelphia. But plans to launch an urban farm pilot project have fallen through.

It turns out it’s not so easy to let farmers use empty city-owned plots to set-up temporary greenhouses, as the city’s Redevelopment Authority had planned.

RDA Executive Director Terry Gillen says some of the land wasn’t zoned for farming, some neighbors had concerns, and by the time the city made contact with farmers, the growing season had begun.

Gillen: The other issue that we have to grapple with is what’s our rental policy? Do we want to do this only for business so only for organizations or businesses that are making a profit and paying taxes, or is there a non-profit component to it as well?

Gillen says she hopes to try to launch the pilot project again within the next year.

The temporary greenhouses would make it easier for the RDA to take back the land for development.

One Comment

  • Robert McKenzie says:

    Where most of the homes were demolished, the basements were filled with brick and stone.
    Is there a local market for these crops?
    What about security?
    Do not assume the local population will participate.

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