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Meet the SustainPHL Nominees: Locavore Champion
Philly

Meet the SustainPHL Nominees: Locavore Champion

As we count down the days to SustainPHL in August, we’re sharing more about the nominees.

It’s no wonder the Philly locavore scene is so hot these days. The movement has something for everyone and supports the values that make our communities strong… healthy and delicious food, a connection to the natural world, empowered, engaged residents and a growing local economy.

Locavore Champion

  • Farm Philly
  • Heritage Farm
  • Laurel Valley Soil
  • Rad Dish Co-Op

Our four nominees for Locavore Champion use local institutions, like schools, governments and industry, as anchors to innovate, educate and feed diverse groups in and around Philadelphia. From supporting city-wide urban agriculture and repurposing mushroom soil to skill building for college students and vulnerable families, each inspires us to address some of Philly’s greatest food challenges. Join us for SustainPHL on August 18 to find out who will become our Locavore Champion!

Rad Dish Co-op

The Intersection of Sustainability, Food Systems, and Entrepreneurship 

Rad Dish Co-Op Temple University

The Rad Dish Co-op is the first and only student-run cooperative in Pennsylvania. Located on Temple University’s campus, The Rad Dish provides local, fair trade, organic, and affordable vegetarian and vegan food to the campus community. Developed as an interdisciplinary learning laboratory space, students at The Rad Dish learn by doing and they have the opportunity to put theory into practice. They are responsible for sourcing, menu development, food preparation, business operations, management and marketing. Students also implement sustainable business practices, such as a zero-waste policy, composting, edible landscaping and a sustainable sourcing policy. The Rad Dish acts as a CSA drop point, holds open mic nights, hosts art exhibitions, and provides a venue for group meetings related to sustainability and social justice.

Since its opening in early 2015, The Rad Dish been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer, GRIDPhilly, and Sustainable Business Magazine, received the AASHE Award for Student Leadership and have become members of the Philadelphia Area Co-Op Alliance and the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive.

Farm Philly

Uplifting Urban Agriculture Across Philadelphia

Farm Philly

Photo: Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Website

Farm Philly, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s urban agriculture program, supports urban agriculture projects on PPR land, such as orchards, vegetable and fruit production through such diverse program areas as youth education gardens, inter-generational gardens, community gardens and market farms. Farm Philly’s Community Gardens Network is a collection of over 40 community gardens and orchards on park land, building communication and skill sharing between the gardens and creating a larger sense of community and advocacy. The Junior Garden Program teaches youth ages 2-12 years old the benefits of growing their own food and the rewards of tending to the natural environment. Farm Philly also recognizes that community gardens are treasured spaces in their neighborhoods and has worked with other city departments to create a process to protect long term gardens from the reach of development.

Heritage Farm

Bringing Home Grown Food into the Lives of Families

Heritage Farm

Heritage Farm is a year round pesticide-free farm on five acres of transformed land located within the Methodist Home For Children’s campus in Philadelphia. Started in 2011 as a respectful return to MHC’s historic tradition of farming, Heritage Farm provides healthy, fresh and locally grown fruits and vegetables for residents and the local community. Through a well developed education program, Heritage Farm also offers hands on experience in urban farming, career training and life skills development to the families they serve. Children can learn how to grow food, assist the farm stand, and help with food preparation. Adults can receive urban agriculture training while developing career and life skills. Their weekly farmer’s stand market makes affordable fresh produce available for purchase to clients, staff and neighbors.

Laurel Valley Soil

A Holistic Approach to Mushroom Farming

Laurel Valley Soil SustainPHL

Mushroom farming in SE Pennsylvania is done primarily by third and fourth generation family businesses. Only 68 PA mushroom farms produced a whopping 63% of all the US-grown white mushrooms, for a total of $554.4 million going into the Pennsylvania economy. Many years ago, industry leaders had the foresight to create a cooperative venture to develop environmentally responsible practices for mushroom farming. Avondale’s Laurel Valley Soils recently became one of the first US mushroom compost manufacturers to receive the prestigious OMRI listing, allowing for use in certified organic operations. The compost used for growing mushrooms is created in part from recycled, locally sourced waste products including cocoa shells, poultry litter, and horse bedding. Once a crop of mushrooms has been harvested, Laurel Valley Soils repurposes and upcycles the post-harvest mushroom compost to be utilized for another round of growth, including green roofs, vacant land revitalization, urban roof gardening, sports fields, lawns, and gardens.

Those far-sighted mushroom farmers may have come up with the idea of turning “spent mushroom” soil into “black gold” but the concept of using this nutrient rich soil amendment for socially and environmentally responsible projects is credited to Laurel Valley Soil’s Sales Manager, Jake Chalfin. Jake has spent over 13 years at Laurel Valley Soils developing relationships with companies and organizations across the ti-state area. This has led to participation in some very high profile installations, such as Cira Green and Central Green in Philly and even the National 911 Memorial at the World Trade Center in NYC. Jake has also overcome incredible adversity. An esteemed steeplechase jockey, he became partially paralyzed in a 2010 fall. His inner strength and strong community support have allowed him to continue his important work at Laurel Valley Soil.

Attend SustainPHL & See who wins the Locavore Champion Award!

We congratulate the Locavore Champion Award nominees and look forward to celebrating them at the SustainPHL awards on August 18th! Get your tickets online here.

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Lori Braunstein is the founder of Sustainable Cherry Hill and Director for Change Leadership at The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education. Always evolving, she enjoys figuring out how everyday people can be a force in creating a clean, green future. Reach Lori at braunsteinlori@gmail.com or @lori_braun on Twitter. View all posts by Lori Braunstein

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