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June 3, 2010

The Fresh Prince, a Farmer? ~ John Cameron

Farmer’s Market Makes Good in West Phila.

The same neighborhood of West Philadelphia which was once not good enough for the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air himself is now growing Philadelphia’s green future.  There, under the shade of a tree and nestled among Victorian row houses, is the Uhuru Fresh Produce and Flea market, which meets every Saturday at Clark Park.  The historical park is host to vendor spaces that include everything from local artists with pottery and jewelry, reused and re-purposed items,  locally grown produce, and even Amish farmers with fresh cheeses, meets, and yogurt.

With the help of the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, local schools now encourage student led organizations which plant, cultivate, and grow produce that is then picked and pedaled to the Uhuru Market. There the students sell their freshly grown products and take home a share of the profits.  Due to lively participation and enthusiasm, the market has grown into the largest of its kind in the city of Philadelphia and its popularity is contagious.

Riding on the success of Clark Park’s Uhuru Flea Market and Philadelphia’s commitment to eco-friendly practices, other markets of its kind have been established in the last 2 years. The famed (and otherwise over-hyped) Love Park has made its bountiful turnaround from a concrete photo-op to the home of “The Mayor’s Farmers Market.”  Mayor Michael Nutter continues to promote the City’s push towards sustainability and hopes the Greenworks program will bring local food within 10 minutes of 75 percent of residents by 2015.  With the success of such markets in the last 2 years the City seems well receptive and anxious to grow on its success.

John writes from coffee places and green spaces around Philadelphia.  He has yet to get a “real job” and instead has turned his attention to exploring Nature and training up for the Philadelphia Marathon in November.

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