Mill Creek Farm Stewardship WorkPosted: April 13, 2011
This morning I attended the trip to the Mill Creek Urban Farm in West Philly. The day started fairly early, and the weather wasn’t looking the greatest. Either way, I was excited to finally begin work for my stewardship project.
We met and Bess drove a few of us over to the farm. Upon arriving, we got a tour from Jo, one of the farms main opperators. She explained so much about her work with the farm and what the farm means to the community. The farm began as a block of houses that were built on the Mill Creek. The houses began to sink because of the unstable sewers underneath them. Eventually the houses were torn down, and a vacant lot remained. On one side of the lot, there was a community garden for people in the area. This was important to the community, and Jo and others knew that when they proposed the farm to city officials. They were given the land that was transformed from a garbage filled vacant lot, to a beautiful urban farm.
Although some people may see bees as a pest, they are very beneficial to an urban farm. This farm has two different types of hives, a more traditional hive as well as a flat pack bee hive. Along with plant pollination, the honey is collected and sold to the community. I also learned that eating the honey from bees that pollinated plants you are allergic to, could actually help relieve those allergies!
As we continued the tour of the farm, we saw that the roof of the small building on the site was transformed into a green roof. Jo explained how the plants were able to sustain a more dry or mountain climate, like a cactus, to live on the roof. But the plants became very efficient for heating and cooling purposes. It might not seem like much, with just a few plants and rocks, but it really could make a difference in energy use.
We spent the rest of the day working in the farm itself. We helped to get the beds ready for planting of the next crops. It was a lot of hard work, but the group of us managed to get a great amount of work done. The weeding we did will be really beneficial to the plants that will grow there in the future.
The farm now helps so many people in the community. Twice a week throughout the summer and until Thanksgiving, the farm sells their produce at the farm as well as at a local farmers market. There is no grocery store in the neighborhood, so the people don’t have many options when it comes to receiving fresh fruits and vegetables. The farm is working hard to change that. It was really fulfilling to be able to help out such a great initiative that is really changing the community and even Philly as a whole to live healthier lives.