The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) and the Sankofa Community Farm at Bartram’s Garden have partnered to build over 50 home garden beds this year as part of The Sankofa Home Garden Bed program. This program will provide thousands of pounds of home-grown produce for Southwest Philadelphia residents and their families, helping to highlight food sovereignty during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The partnership between PHS and Sankofa Community Farm is a part of PHS’s Harvest 2020, an initiative that supplies resources for people in communities to grow food for themselves and their neighbors.
To date, Harvest 2020 has resulted in more than 31,000 pounds of produce distributed to those in need by gardeners from throughout the Greater Philadelphia region.
With financial support from PHS, the Sankofa Home Garden Bed program was able to fund the building and installation of garden beds at over 50 homes throughout Southwest Philadelphia. PHS also supported the program with seedlings, staff to help build the garden beds, and delivery and installation.
Throughout the year, PHS operates a Green Resource Center through the Sankofa Community Farm at Bartram’s Garden to grow thousands of seedlings for distribution to more than 140 community gardens. These community gardens offer sustenance, social connection, and stability for neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia while also providing fresh produce throughout the growing season to over 60 food pantries in the region.
“Increasing access to healthy food is an important focus area for PHS, so we were pleased to allocate a portion of funds from the generous pledges of individuals and our colleagues at Subaru of America to partners like the Sankofa Community Farm at Bartram’s Garden,” Julianne Schrader Ortega, PHS’s VP & Chief of Healthy Neighborhoods, said.
Founded in 2011, the Sankofa Community Farm is an African-focused, spiritually rooted, intergenerational farm spanning four acres at the southern border of Bartram’s Garden on the Schuylkill River in Southwest Philadelphia.
For nearly a decade, the farm has worked to strengthen the community’s food sovereignty, partnering with neighbors and employing local students to grow, harvest, and distribute fresh, chemical-free produce.
Annually, the Sankofa Community Farm produces and distributes over 15,000 pounds of food and works with more than 50 local Southwest Philadelphia families within its community garden, located onsite at Bartram’s Garden.
Through a 2019 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Food Project, the farm’s students launched the Sankofa Home Garden Bed program to allow for more Southwest Philadelphia neighbors to grow their own food.
Students designed a sign-up system and advertising, canvassed their communities, and learned to build and install raised home garden beds. Participating residents are encouraged to choose their favorite crops and are supported with opportunities for free gardening workshops and technical assistance.
“The Sankofa Community Farm and the Sankofa Home Garden Bed program are key parts of our focus on food sovereignty, especially in these challenging times,” Maitreyi Roy, Bartram’s Garden executive director, said. “We’re so glad to partner with PHS’s Harvest 2020 and its Green Resource Center to ensure that everyone in our neighborhood can grow their own food.”
For more information, visit: www.PHSonline.org/Harvest2020/overview.