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Where Industry Once Hummed, Urban Garden Finds Success

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Photo in Greensgrow Gallery. See larger photo and more images here.

By Jon Hurdle
New York Times, May 20, 2008

PHILADELPHIA — Amid the tightly packed row houses of North Philadelphia, a pioneering urban farm is providing fresh local food for a community that often lacks it, and making money in the process.

Greensgrow, a one-acre plot of raised beds and greenhouses on the site of a former steel-galvanizing factory, is turning a profit by selling its own vegetables and herbs as well as a range of produce from local growers, and by running a nursery selling plants and seedlings.


The farm earned about $10,000 on revenue of $450,000 in 2007, and hopes to make a profit of 5 percent on $650,000 in revenue in this, its 10th year, so it can open another operation elsewhere in Philadelphia.

In season, it sells its own hydroponically grown vegetables, as well as peaches from New Jersey, tomatoes from Lancaster County, and breads, meats and cheeses from small local growers within a couple of hours of Philadelphia.

Complete New York Times article here.

Greensgrow Farm Inc

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From their site…

For some people urban agriculture may seem like a new idea, but for Greensgrow it has been our life and work since 1998. And although a former galvanized steel plant may not seem a likely site for a farm, when Mary and Tom went searching for property on which to build, old industrial land was what was available.

A conventional farm seemed highly unlikely to spring from an industrial brownfield, so it was back to the drawing board where they re-visioned their urban farm employing hydroponic growing of lettuce. Surprising even themselves, it was a success.

In the years since the first cases of produce were delivered out of the back of the truck, Greensgrow Farm Inc has changed a great deal. Our willingness and ability to change, in fact, has been the root of our success.

Today visitors to the farm are greeted by expansive raised beds of organic soil filled with an ever changing range of heirloom vegetables, a well stocked Farm Stand, our own version of a CSA (City Supported agriculture) and a Nursery that grows and nurtures the highest quality and greatest variety of plants in the City. What can we say? We were and are enthusiastic.

Greengrows website here.