Deputy Secretary Sims and Director Carrion Harvest Potatoes with North Philadelphia Teens

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Community Renewal

On July 23rd, in support of United We Serve’s Community Renewal Week, Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ron Sims and Director of White House Office of Urban Affairs Adolfo Carrion joined Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) and member of Teens 4 Good at the East Poplar Urban Farm in North Philadelphia to harvest fresh produce.

Teens 4 Good is a program of the Greater Philadelphia Federation of Settlements that provides local public high school students with the skills and support they need to succeed in college and beyond. As part of their year-round education curriculum, Teens 4 Good provides hands-on entrepreneurial activities through a teen-run garden, nutrition and health business.

At the East Poplar Urban Farm, teens gain practical skills by learning how to create, build and sustain a socially responsible business. But in addition to maintaining a business, a portion of the land is devoted to City Harvest, a PHS program that trains prison inmates to raise vegetables at community gardens for local food cupboards. Last year, City Harvest worked with 35 community gardens, produced 40,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables, and helped feed 640 families every week for an entire growing season.

At the event, Sims and Carrion praised PHS and Teens 4 Good for converting abandoned lots into community gardens and for providing fresh produce to underserved neighborhoods. The officials then rolled up their sleeves and got dirty helping the teens harvest potatoes for donation.

Deputy Secretary Sims and Director Carrion were in Philadelphia along with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as part of the new Urban Tour, “A National Conversation on the Future of America’s Cities and Metropolitan Areas.” Learn more about the Urban Tour here or find an organization like Teens 4 Good in your area by searching keyword: “community garden” “food pantry” “gleaning”

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