Philadelphia City Council Urban Ag Hearing
On September 22, Philadelphia City Council held its first hearing devoted solely to urban agriculture. Soil Generation and community organizer Kirtrina Baxter organized over 100 farmers and advocates to attend this hearing.
Kirtrina was one of more than 20 people who testified before City Council at the hearing. She said, “We can help our city, state and Federal Government to create policies that are reflective of what is happening on the ground in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. We are gardeners and farmers, and we are also lawyers, teachers, organizers, artists, designers, travelers, researchers, and writers.”
Staff attorney Amy Laura Cahn was also among those who testified in support of Philadelphia’s right to affordable, nutritious food and the land that could provide that nutrition. She spoke on behalf of the Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council, pushing for the transformation of abandoned land in Philadelphia, “Hundreds of these spaces are still at risk of being lost. This simultaneous push pull of possibility and precariousness reflects the overall picture of urban agriculture today in Philadelphia.”
Kirtrina and the rest of the community came to the hearing prepared with specific concerns to be addressed and possible solutions. Those Kirtrina mentioned in the hearing include, “Prioritizing preservation of existing community based gardens, fewer barriers to access land, longer leases, pathways to ownership, community person(s) on the Land Bank board and a representative specifically for urban agriculture transparency in city council goals and objectives in development of policies and processes around the Land Bank Funding for resources like, water, storage, refrigeration.”