We are very excited about The Salvation Army’s partnership with the
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) City Harvest program. Our West
Philadelphia garden is one of 45 community gardens in partnership with the Philadelphia Prison
System; SHARE, a
food distribution network; the Health Promotion Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania; Weavers Way Co-op and
Harvest has grown and donated 120,000 lbs of fresh produce---helping to feed
1,000 families each week of the growing season.
At The Salvation
Army’s community garden located outside our West Philadelphia Corps
Community Center, fresh produce abounds. According to Ginny Robinson, our chief
gardener, “introducing fresh food to the surrounding neighborhood is a
multi-pronged effort. They may not be used to cooking and eating fresh food or
how to combine the produce with other items to make a tasty dish. Sometimes
people need to be encouraged to try new things."
Ginny plans to give away plants again this year to encourage people to start
a small vegetable garden in their yards. Ginny says, “The introduction of
fresh produce to adult community members is crucial in changing not only their
eating habits, but more importantly, the habits of their children.”
“Just changing the eating habits of one family can lead to changing
the habits of the entire neighborhood. Urban neighborhoods are very close knit
so if one family starts enjoying fresh produce, their neighbors are going to
find out about it and want some too - a fresh food plague could get
This spring Ginny will be planting giant sunflower seeds for sunflowers that
will grow as high as 16 feet tall, creating a sunflower forest for the
children. She’ll also be showing the children how to plant seeds so they
can watch them go from seed to plants to food.
The Salvation Army seeks to provide
seniors in our low-income residential facilities in Greater
Philadelphia with activities that even those with limited physical abilities
can enjoy. One such activity is the Senior Gardening Program at both The
Salvation Army's Booth Manor and Ivy Residence.
These gardens help promote healthy emotional, social and physical health.
Participating in the project has allowed the residents to not only help
themselves, but to impact the larger senior community.
Thanks to a generous donation, The Salvation
Army was able to secure an intern from the University of Sciences to assist in
preparing a health conscious cook book for the senior residents.
In partnership with The Food Trust and Supportive Older Women's Network
Living Healthy Lives program, the residents learned how to pick healthy fruits
and vegetables from the grocery store and how to analyze the contents of
packaged food to optimize healthy food options. They also visited a local