Mill Creek Urban Farm and PFF!

This weekend was packed for stewardship hours!

On Friday, I had a field trip with several other classmates to Mill Creek Urban Farm in West Philly. It was a little chilly but the weather wasn’t too bad. The farm itself was bigger than I had imagined, and was built on sustainability principles. The first thing I saw when I entered the farm was the writing “This is a living house, come check it out!” Later on we found out through the farm founder Jade that the house has a green roof. The green roof not only helps absorb rain water and maintain temperature of the house but also beautifies the overall structure.

The wall of the tool shed is made of cob, a natural material consist of clay, sand, straw and water. Like the green roof, walls made out of cob help the room stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The farm also have a compost toilet and they use the compost for the banana tree outside the tool shed. Behind the tool shed was the bee hive area. Unfortunately the bees are not very active at the moment, otherwise I’d really love to see first hand how honey is made!

Jade explained to us that the farm holds regular farmer’s market to sell their fresh produce during working season to the surrounding neighborhood. In addition, the farm also works with local schools for after school program,etc. The Mill Creek farm really bring together the community in this sense.

For our stewardship hours at the farm, we help weeded the land that will later be used for planting vegetables. The soil was a healthy dark brown color and extremely soft. Around the farm were various fruit trees. Their branches were tied down so that they grow horizontally.

Although we didn’t get to plant the actual plant, it was still fun to work in the farm.

On Sunday I, again, biked down to South Philly to work at Philly Food Forests. The farm has changed quite a bit since my last time working there. Several lots has cleaned up significantly and ready for weeding. It was a busy work day and lots of people showed up, including some of my classmates!!

This time I help weeded one of the lots that will become a pumpkin garden.

Since PFF is working on a brand new lot that has never been planted, the soil was covered by nasty weeds and bricks from buildings that has been torn down. The soil was also not as healthy as Mill Creek’s. It was extremely packed and stuck to the roots of the weeds. You are guaranteed to hit a brick digging just few inches deep, therefore it was a lot of physical labor picking the weed and the brick.

The weeding took up a lot of time, I almost spent my whole time there weeding. It was good exercise though (and quite fulfilling), on top of the biking, that is! This time I also helped painted signs for the farm. It was a lot of fun!

Lastly, my ten hours of stewardship has come to an end. I really had a great time getting involved outside of campus. But this doesn’t mean my involvement with these organization has come to an end! I am sure I will continue working with PFF and involve with more organization that helps the city greener and more sustainable.

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