Boosting Urban Farmers Through Shared Infrastructure
By Justin Trezza, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
In Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf’s PA Farm Bill has six funnels to support investment in the state’s agriculture. One funnel is support for urban agriculture, a strong presence in the state and throughout the northeast region. Pennsylvania Horticultural Society was able to bring the Philadelphia Tool Lending Library to fruition with a capital grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grants Program. PHS collaborated with its local land trust partner, Neighborhood Gardens Trust (NGT), to place the tool library at Glenwood Green Acres, a preserved historic community garden in North Philadelphia with ready access to mass transit, parking, and other amenities.
The library will feature two modified 8’x20’ shipping containers connected by a pitched roof. It will use solar power to completely meet its own energy needs, allowing farmers to charge tools, conduct demonstrations, and host evening meetings. The library will house both large equipment and an assortment of the hand and power tools most needed by community gardens and production sites across Philadelphia, including brush hogs, flame weeders, wheelbarrows, and generators, as well as offering access to “low-frequency” items that most gardens don’t own themselves, such as public address systems, cider presses, tents, and more.
The library will be a benefit to the city’s many farm and garden sites, a number of which are typically unable to access larger, more costly tools, as well as to public green spaces whose managers need access to many tools at once in order to host large volunteer workdays. Access to these tools will allow Philadelphia’s farms and gardens to operate more efficiently and more effectively serve their communities with fresh produce and garden-based events.
Learn more about the PA Farm Bill.
Photo Credit: PHS