The Mantua Food Access Program strives to make fresh, healthy, high-quality fruits and vegetables available year-round to 2,000 residents of our West Philadelphia neighborhood for the first time in over thirty years. Here’s our story and our plan.
The Mantua neighborhood in West Philadelphia lost its last full-service grocery store to fire in the early 1980s. Since then, Mantua has become a food desert, where hundreds of families struggle with food insecurity and hunger on a daily basis. In recent years, community leaders have fought food insecurity by transforming several vacant lots into a community garden, called the Mantua Urban Peace Garden. Offering local gardeners access to soil, tools, and other resources, the Peace Garden has made a small but important intervention in Mantua’s food access problem.
The Mantua Food Access Program aims to build on the success of the Peace Garden by scaling up the cultivation and distribution of fresh, healthy, and high-quality food in Mantua. With the Mantua Food Access Program, Mt. Vernon Manor CDC will:
· Operate year-round, weekly farm stands throughout Mantua
· Offer locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables for sale to the community at affordable prices
· Stock the farm stands with produce from the Peace Garden, plus weekly purchases from a local farm
· Staff the farm stands with neighborhood youth trained and supervised by program managers.
Revenue raised by the Mantua Food Access Program will:
· Be reinvested back into the Peace Garden in order to increase food production
· Improve the infrastructure that supports the Garden
· Develop a business plan for operating the Garden as a micro-enterprise
· Solidify and expand the Peace Garden’s role in feeding Mantua
· Build the Peace Garden’s capacity for long-term economic self-sufficiency through participation in farmer’s markets, community-supported agriculture programs, and other forms of commercial food production.
Through our CrowdRise campaign, we’re raising money to purchase the materials that we’ll need to operate our farm stands, from folding tables and tents to point-of-sale systems and eco-friendly grocery bags. And if we meet our fundraising goal, we'll be eligible for up to $100,000 of support from the USA Today Network! So, please, give what you can, and be sure to tell all your foodie friends about the Mantua Food Access Program.
For more information about our vision, our history, and our other projects, visit us at www.mvmcdc.org. Mt. Vernon Manor and the members of the Mantua Urban Peace Garden thank you for your support!