Harrisburg, PA - This week, proclaimed by Governor Wolf as Urban Agriculture Week in Pennsylvania, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding visited farms at seven different sites in three Pennsylvania cities, learning how their efforts are improving their communities.
“Governor Tom Wolf and I share the belief that agriculture has the power to change lives, and that power was made clear during this week’s tour,” said Sec. Redding. “During my visits, I met dozens of Pennsylvanians who have come together through the power of a simple garden, building a stronger sense of community and proving that agriculture is truly zip code neutral.”
As part of the Department’s Planting the Seed Tour, Redding traveled to Philadelphia on Monday, touring Bartram’s Garden, Glenwood Green Acres Urban Farm, and the Norris Square Neighborhood Project. On Tuesday, he visited Pittsburgh’s Ballfield Farm, the Homewood Historical Urban Farm, and Mount Oliver Community Garden. On Thursday, he stopped at community garden at Altoona’s Providence Presbyterian Church. The Planting the Seed Tour recognizes opportunities to engage and educate the next generation of agriculturalists and those new to the agriculture industry, by bringing to light the wealth of opportunities in Pennsylvania agriculture.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s urban agriculture initiative seeks to raise awareness of the presence of agriculture and food production in urban environments while encouraging an increase in the output of products raised in urban environments. Redding noted that urban agriculture provides multiple benefits beyond the primary goal of growing food, including creating stronger communities, improving community nutrition, raising real estate values, diminishing crime, reducing blight, opening economic development opportunities, and improving stormwater runoff.
“The socialization that these gardens offer, the ability to harvest food that one has had a hand in growing – these are the meaningful experiences that urban agriculture can provide,” said Redding. “The feeling of being more connected to the land and to the community, in any setting, is valuable beyond words.”
The text of Governor Wolf’s Urban Agriculture Week proclamation follows below.
PENNSYLVANIA URBAN AGRICULTURE WEEK
July 15-21, 2018
WHEREAS, Agriculture is Pennsylvania’s leading economic enterprise, generating $83.8 billion in sales of agriculture and food products and services from products grown by more than 58,000 farm families; and
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania agriculture is diverse, as the state is a top-ten producer nationally of a variety of fruits, vegetables, livestock, and grain and forage crops, and is the snack food capital of the world, mushroom capital of the world, and hardwoods capital of the world; and
WHEREAS, a PA Preferred™ survey found that 97 percent of Pennsylvanians want to buy local products, and are interested in learning where their food comes from and the stories behind the food, fuel, and fiber produced in Pennsylvania; and
WHEREAS, this interest is leading Pennsylvanians to rediscover the opportunities that exist for agriculture even in urban areas of the state; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth developed the Urban Agriculture Initiative to improve knowledge and awareness of the reach of the agriculture and food system into urban environments, while seeking to support and grow the urban agriculture system in Pennsylvania; and
WHEREAS, the initiative is working to promote the benefits of urban agriculture to vibrant communities through increased nutrition and economic opportunities, as well as reduced crime and blight and improved stormwater runoff; and
WHEREAS, the initiative is encouraging more people to enter agriculture and food industry careers, using agriculture as a vehicle for teaching concepts in science, technology, engineering, and math in schools, and encouraging more agricultural education and job training programs in order to create a generation of Pennsylvanians who are engaged in and committed to the success of agriculture in the Commonwealth’s urban spaces.
THEREFORE, since the production of Pennsylvania’s food supply is open to all who have an interest in growing food, and because these interests in agriculture, both traditional and nontraditional, should be equally encouraged and supported, I, Tom Wolf, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim the week of July 15-21, 2018, as PENNSYLVANIA URBAN AGRICULTURE WEEK, and encourage all who have roles in education and community governance and improvement, as well as all who wish for a stronger connection to their food supply, to support urban agriculture activities across Pennsylvania.
GIVEN under my hand and the Seal of the Governor, at the city of Harrisburg, on this fifteenth day of July in the year of our Lord two thousand and eighteen, and of the Commonwealth the two hundred and forty-second.
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