Bridesburg Rec renovation and farm share projects progress

Dozens of res­id­ents came out to learn about de­vel­op­ments in their neigh­bor­hood.

The weath­er fi­nally let up enough for the Brides­burg Civic As­so­ci­ation to hold its first meet­ing of the year on Thursday, Feb. 6, at the Real Life Caf&ea­cute; loc­ated at Rich­mond and Bucki­us streets.

About 30 Brides­burg res­id­ents at­ten­ded the meet­ing.

Lisa Deely, dir­ect­or of com­munity out­reach for Coun­cil­man Bobby Hen­on’s of­fice, dis­cussed a pos­sible renov­a­tion pro­ject at Brides­burg Re­cre­ation Cen­ter.

“The coun­cil­man has com­mit­ted to do­ing renov­a­tions at Brides­burg Re­cre­ation Cen­ter,” Deely said. “We’ve asked re­cre­ation to draw up mocks of what they could do and we’re go­ing to have a meet­ing to bring that to the com­munity.”

The meet­ing, where of­fi­cials from the De­part­ment of Re­cre­ation will present mod­els and pho­to­graphs, will be held on Monday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. at the Brides­burg Re­cre­ation Cen­ter.

Deely also shared a let­ter from the Streets De­part­ment Com­mis­sion­er Dav­id Perri con­cern­ing the Brides­burg trail. The first sec­tion of the Brides­burg por­tion of the Delaware River Trail, a five-mile bike and ped­es­tri­an stretch through Phil­adelphia, will run from Lewis Street to Or­tho­dox Street. Ac­cord­ing to the let­ter, the con­struc­tion con­tract has been awar­ded to Buckley & Com­pany, Inc. and work will be­gin in early March 2014. A ground-break­ing ce­re­mony to com­mem­or­ate the start of the pro­ject is be­ing planned for the end of Feb­ru­ary.  

An­oth­er point of in­terest for Hen­on’s of­fice was the idea of a farm­er’s mar­ket in Brides­burg.  

“The farm­er’s mar­ket is a great thing, but it’s a huge un­der­tak­ing,” Deely said. “In­stead of just go­ing full-bar­rel straight ahead, we thought a good way to ease in­to it would be to start with a com­mon mar­ket or a farm share and see how in­terest is.”

Brides­burg res­id­ent Adam Vis­con­to up­dated at­tendees on a pos­sible farm share pro­gram com­ing to Brides­burg.

“I pitched the idea to John McBride of the re­cre­ation cen­ter to have them be the host site,” Vis­con­to said.”John had to take it to the people above him and un­for­tu­nately, he hasn’t got­ten of­fi­cial word yet.”

Des­pite no word yet, Vis­con­to is pre­pared for any out­come.

“If it’s a yes, we’ll move for­ward from there, hav­ing ad­di­tion­al meet­ings where people can sign up,” he said. “If not, we’ll look to oth­er ven­ues in the neigh­bor­hood that could act as the host site.”

On hand to ex­plain the lo­gist­ics of the farm share pro­gram was Bob Pier­son, dir­ect­or of Farm to City, a group that runs farm­ers’ mar­kets and CSAs throughout Phil­adelphia, and Geoff Buck­num, sup­ply chain man­ager of Com­mon Mar­ket, which is in part­ner­ship with Farm to City.  

Pier­son spoke about the his­tory of Farm to City and their mis­sion to bring healthy, loc­al food to the city, spe­cific­ally through the Delaware Val­ley Farm Share, a pro­gram that provides ten de­liv­er­ies of hand-se­lec­ted loc­al pro­duce, ar­tis­an bread, pantry items, and eggs to par­ti­cip­at­ing mem­bers. While the pro­gram star­ted small, it grew to in­clude about 1,000 people as of last year. A farm share in Brides­burg would be the first one that Farm to City would or­gan­ize in a  neigh­bor­hood.

“[Cur­rent farm share mem­bers] are people in com­munit­ies of faith and of­fice build­ings,” Pier­son said. “We tried a couple of times to get this in­to neigh­bor­hoods and we’re still try­ing and we’re hop­ing we’ll be able to pull it off here.”

Buck­num elab­or­ated on what par­ti­cip­at­ing res­id­ents could ex­pect from a typ­ic­al farm share.  

“From mid-May to mid-Oc­to­ber, there would be a box de­livered every oth­er week,” he said. “Each week it con­tains eight pro­duce items. The box would cost twenty-sev­en dol­lars and we have flex­ible pay­ment op­tions.”

Typ­ic­ally, ac­cord­ing to Buck­num, the box would con­tain two fruits, six ad­di­tion­al pro­duce items and one dozen cage-free, hor­mone-free eggs from a loc­al farm, with items chan­ging based on the sea­son. The pro­gram would last for twelve weeks.

The pro­gram usu­ally re­quires ap­prox­im­ately forty mem­bers to or­gan­ize, but Buck­num said Farm to City could work with Brides­burg if twenty mem­bers buy a share.

Aside from food, mem­bers also reap oth­er be­ne­fits.  

“Along with your share, you’ll get a monthly copy of Grid, a Phil­adelphia pub­lic­a­tion on sus­tain­ab­il­ity, and an in­su­lated tote bag,” Buck­num said. “In ad­di­tion to ba­sic ve­get­ables, we’re go­ing to have op­tions for mem­bers to add ad­di­tion­al items.”

Ad­di­tion­al items avail­able would in­clude yogurt, cheese, ar­tis­an bread, and a cof­fee share provided by small, loc­al roast­ers.

Fol­low­ing the farm share present­a­tion, Brides­burg Civic As­so­ci­ation board mem­ber Harry Eng­gass­er shared up­dates of pro­jects the as­so­ci­ation will be work­ing on with­in the com­munity. 

“One of the pro­jects the civic has taken on is the bridge on Rich­mond Street by Lewis Street,” he said. “The civic is look­ing to have it painted.”

Mem­bers of the as­so­ci­ation have con­tac­ted the City of Phil­adelphia Mur­al Art pro­gram, which will be part­ner­ing with the civic as­so­ci­ation on the pro­ject.  A rep­res­ent­at­ive from the Mur­al Arts Pro­gram has been in­vited to at­tend the next civic as­so­ci­ation meet­ing to dis­cuss the plans for the pro­ject.  

Eng­gass­er also ad­dressed con­cerns that arose about the po­ten­tial farm share in Brides­burg, spe­cific­ally the in­und­a­tion of a large num­ber of people and traffic arising at the host site, which lead to a heated dis­cus­sion among com­munity mem­bers, board mem­bers and guest speak­ers.

“I think this farm share pro­gram is a great thing, but I worry it could be­come like one of the prob­lems we have here already … with traffic,” Eng­gass­er said. “I don’t want to see us go down that road.” He did, however, re­in­force that the civic as­so­ci­ation does sup­port the farm share idea.

The meet­ing con­clud­ing just be­fore 10 p.m., with vice-pres­id­ent Fred Beck­er thank­ing those in at­tend­ance and im­plor­ing res­id­ent to be­come more in­volved.

“We need help,” he said. “We need the neigh­bor­hood to help. If we all get to­geth­er, we’re go­ing to have one of the top neigh­bor­hoods in the city. We have it now, we just have to make it bet­ter.  Let’s kick-start it again.”

The next Brides­burg Civic As­so­ci­ation meet­ing will be held on Thursday, March 6th at 8 p.m. at Real Life Caf&ea­cute;.  ••

For more in­form­a­tion on Farm to City’s Delaware Val­ley Farm Share, check out the web­site at ht­tp://dv­farm­ .

For more de­tails about the Brides­burg Civic As­so­ci­ation and up­com­ing meet­ings, vis­it their Face­book page at ht­tps://www.face­­burg-Civic-As­so­ci­ation/406801929410618 .

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