The budding trend of local, fresh, farm-to-table food in Philly has blossomed into a full-blown way of life. One popular sustainable market is Greensgrow Farms, started in Kensington in 1997 by co-founders Mary Seton Corboy and Tom Sereduk.
What began as a humble hydroponic lettuce farm grew into a much larger nonprofit, with a mobile business plan that brings food beyond Greensgrow's immediate neighborhood and into Camden and West Philly. This Thursday, April 3, Greensgrow will officially open the doors to its second brick-and-mortar location, at 4912 Baltimore Ave., the former location of Elena’s Soul Lounge.
“With West Philly we want to extend the main farm model out to other neighborhoods, to places that lack access to Greensgrow,” says program director Ryan Kuck. That model includes not only selling greens, but also hosting educational farming workshops and opening the space to the community for various events.
This kind of business, along with what Kuck describes as "using underutilized spaces for active use," can make a difference difference in a commuity — something Jennifer Foster, site manager of the new location, has already witnessed with Greensgrow West. “I have a bit of an outsider view since I don’t live in West Philly,” Foster says. “But it’s been great to be there and set up. I see how the community is reacting and it’s already positive. People are asking when we’re going to open and how they can be involved or volunteer.
"It’s already becoming a part of the community.”
To properly introduce themselves and their initiative to the neighborhood, the Greensgrow West crew is hosting an open house Saturday. “It’s citywide cleanup day, so it’s perfect,” says Foster. “We want to have conversations with people in the neighborhood, invite them in to see the space, and make everyone aware of our presence. It’ll be a great opportunity because people will be in the mood for spring.”
Greensgrow West open house April 5, 2-4 p.m. 4912 Baltimore Ave.