Yet another orientation entry...
On Saturday we were invited to participate in one of several tours of Philadelphia. The tour that I chose was given by City Planning professor Domenic Vitiello. Domenic's current research involves community gardening and urban farming. We started out from Meyerson Hall and caught the #10 trolley out through West Philly. From the trolley stop we walked down through a Hope VI housing project. The new townhouses of the Lucien E. Blackwell Homes replace Mill Creek Apartments, a mix of low-rise and high-rise buildings that were designed by Louis Kahn in 1950.
Pictures Above (L to R): 1) a mural in West Philly, 2-4) the Lucien E. Blackwell Homes 5) a dilapidated building and some rowhouses across from the Mill Creek Farm.
The main destination of the tour was the Mill Creek Farm. This urban farm was started about 3 years ago. The farm uses a West Philly lot that had been vacant for 30 years. Part of the site is occupied by a thriving community garden that has been active for the past 15 years, the rest of the site is now occupied by the urban farm.
Pictures Above (L to R): 1) a farm sign, 2) our tour group arrives, 3) another farm sign, 4) the compost heap, 5) a rusted chair by the compost heap.
The farm operates a food stand on site on Saturdays and a few blocks away on a major street on Wednesdays.
Pictures Above (L to R): 1) organic pest control: although the farm isn't certified organic, they don't use any chemicals, 2) the farm's new solar inverter, 3) they're new photovoltaic panels were just installed last week, 4) a new shade structure and the farm beyond, 5) mozaic work on the tool shed "our work, our food, our power", 6) the community garden side of the site, 7) our tour guide Jo shows us the bath tubs that they are going to use to build a constructed wetland to clean the greywater from their sink, 8-9) the bee hive, 10-11) the green roof on the shed, 12) a dilapidated building behind the farm, 13) the composting toilet, 14) the drip irrigation system, 15) the farm.
Pictures Above (L to R): 1-2) On the way back to campus we passed another community garden. 3) an old insurance building in the middle of a relatively depressed West Philly neighborhood, 4-5) one of the elevated stations on the Market-Frankford Line.