Call to Action: Community Gardens, Urban Farms at Risk

Community gardening and farming has been transformative for refugee communities living in Philadelphia.  These green spaces not only provide access to healthy food, but also serve as a cultural bridge between new families and other residents. Many refugees have agricultural roots, and the opportunity to grow food allows them to contribute to their new neighborhoods while making a foreign city feel more like home.  Staff from area refugee resettlement agencies are working to promote and expand refugee gardening in Philadelphia. 

City Council recently introduced Bill 120917, which seriously restricts community gardens and farms in combined residential/commercial districts (CMX-2). This puts almost a quarter of the gardens in the city at extreme risk, and would require all market farms and community gardens in CMX-2 to obtain a “special exception.” Similar to a zoning variance under the old zoning code, a special exception requires a hearing before the Zoning Board of Adjustment, demanding significant time, energy, and expense. Council Bill 120917 is a barrier to building healthier and more vibrant neighborhoods.

We strongly encourage you to call and email your District Councilmembers and each of the At-Large Councilmembers to ask that they oppose City Council Bill 120917. The Council is expected to vote on the Bill on January 24th.


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