“Everyday folks who have been growing food for 40 years in community gardens in Philadelphia understand the barriers that make growing healthy food difficult, and the solutions that could make it easier,” says Gina Giazzoni, a founding advisory board member of The Food Organizing Collaborative (FORC).
FORC is working to make sure that everybody in the city of Philadelphia has access to organic and local food options. FORC, which received a grant from Bread & Roses’ Future Fund, is a collaborative effort of several urban farming and community garden groups.
Legal barriers to land use are a central challenge faced by urban growers. To create the political will to make land available to city farmers and gardeners, FORC used their Bread & Roses grant to organize a city-wide network of gardeners.
“We had an awesome representation of the diversity of food growers in our city at the two community meetings we have held so far,” says Jade Walker, a FORC advisory board member and the co-founder and co-director of the Mill Creek Farm. “Folks from all different neighborhoods, ages, growing experiences, and ethnic backgrounds were represented which made the conversation dynamic.”
FORC co-hosted one of the meetings with the Garden Justice Legal Initiative which is a project of Bread & Roses board member Amy Laura Cahn (and was recently featured in Grid magazine). This new pro bono legal program provides support to community gardeners and urban farmers in historically disinvested sections of the city.
Through these and other organizing efforts, FORC hopes to make access to healthy and affordable food—as well as control over how local food is produced—a reality for all Philadelphians.
“We wanted to support our city’s food system and our neighbors’ sense of self reliance. We started FORC to organize and lift up all parts of our food system; workers, growers, and eaters,” says Chris Bolden-Newsome, also a FORC advisory board member and food grower at Bartram’s Farm.
Bread & Roses grants to groups like FORC are supporting a movement for food justice and getting more young people involved in the struggle for social change. Your last gift to Bread & Roses helped make this possible. Thanks!