Neighborhood Foods Farm awarded Blue Ribbon in the annual PHS Greening and Gardening Contest

14947734_10154832548054170_840539672668507248_n

Neighborhood Foods Farm is a proud Blue Ribbon winner in the ‘Urban Farm’ category of PHS’s Annual Greening and Gardening Contest! Special shout out to our amazing farmers, and to our Neighborhood Foods Coop members Atuwfa & Cassandra for winning a Blue Ribbon for their Children’s garden at Blaine school. Click here to view a list of all 2016 contest winners.

Transitions & Forward Momentum at UTC

We Need Your Support!

Dear Friend and Supporter of Urban Tree Connection,

As 2016 comes to a close and we put our community farm and gardens to rest for the winter, all of us at Urban Tree Connection (UTC) are reflecting on this year of transition.  In April, we bid farewell to our beloved founding Director, Skip Wiener, who retired after nearly 30 years of leadership. It was Skip’s fierce passion and community-minded vision that led me to UTC in 2015, and I am humbled to carry the baton as the new Executive Director during this historical time when we are all being called to leadership.

little boy with watering can-350px.jpg

Our accomplishments are a reflection of our talented staff, community leadership, partners, volunteers, and funders like you. Together this year, we:

  • secured the deed to Neighborhood Foods Farms,
  • produced over 12,000 lbs. of sustainably West-Philly grown produce,
  • launched three new farm stands and a low-income CSA in food insecure neighborhoods, and
  • provided gardening and health and wellness education to over 200 children, teen apprentices, adults and elders.

UTC staff have also been building local and national relationships with growers and food justice advocates through farm and garden tours, dialogue and learning circles, and in gathering to urge City Council to invest in and protect community-based agriculture.

This forward momentum is launching us into 2017 with much more work to do! We are fighting to keep our core work intact as funding shifts. We are thankful for you, our faithful donors, and are depending on your continued support to sustain our work in Haddington.

Annual AppealDonate

Together, you, UTC, and the residents of Haddington have created an extraordinary body of work.  During this time of great uncertainty, we must continue to build and reinforce the power of communities.  For UTC, this means community-led reclamation of land for the holistic health of the Haddington neighborhood.

Please support our efforts by making a donation to Urban Tree Connection this holiday season.  Donations can be made using the PayPal link above or if you prefer to donate by mail, simply make a check payable to “Urban Tree Connection” and send it to UTC, c/o First African Presbyterian Church, 4159 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

 

With deepest gratitude,

noelles-signature

Noelle Warford

Executive Director

 

UTC Welcomes New Executive Director

A Letter from UTC’s Board Chair:

noelle-350x350

The Urban Tree Connection Board of Directors is proud and excited to announce Noelle Warford as the new Executive Director!  Noelle takes this position after the retirement of Skip Wiener, our beloved founding Director, who served an almost 30-year tenure.  Noelle has been working with UTC since April 2015 as the Programs Director.  In this position, she led substantial advancements, particularly in her leadership of the program staff, which increased cohesion and created a clear, shared vision for their work.

Continue reading

UTC Nominated for Edible Philly’s 2017 Local Hero Award

local-heroEach spring, Edible Communities publications across the U.S. and Canada present Local Hero Awards to honor members of their communities who have made significant contributions to the local food movement. UTC has been nominated for a 2017 Local Hero Award by the Edible Philly Community.  Voting ends December 31, 2016 so be sure to cast your vote!  Awards will be presented at the annual Philly Farm and Food Fest in Spring and announced in the Spring 2017 issue of Edible Philly.

VOTE FOR US TODAY!

Big Changes Coming – Support UTC Today!

Dear Friends,

Skip & BoyAll of you are members of the extended Urban Tree Connection family. As donors, volunteers, partners, and friends, you have helped to propel UTC’s growth from its inception as an audacious vacant lot reclamation project in 1989 to what it has become today – a highly-regarded and emulated national urban farming and community revitalization model.

I can’t begin to tell you what your partnership has meant to me personally, and what it continues to mean to all of the families and children we serve in West Philadelphia and beyond. Without you, we could never have touched their lives in such meaningful and fundamental ways.

Now, I am asking for your support once again at a critical moment for UTC.

As some of you may have heard, I am retiring from my role as Executive Director of this extraordinary organization in June 2016. This is a deeply personal decision – after a quarter century of the guerilla gardening that helped establish an urban farming movement, I am mentally and physically ready to step back and enjoy a quieter phase of life. It’s time for a new leader who will bring fresh energy and growth to UTC while staying true to our core mission: the rejuvenation of communities through greening, gardening, and farming.

Your support has been pivotal in enabling UTC to enter this time of transition from a position of strength. For several years, we’ve been laying the foundation for a bright and sustainable future by: hiring new farm and program staff; increasing the role of local residents in our neighborhood revitalization efforts; and establishing exciting new partnerships with other community organizations, each of which will have a transformative impact on UTC and solidify our reputation as innovators in the field.

But to complete these projects and ensure a smooth transition to new leadership, there is still much to be done. I hope that you’ll partner with us once again and consider an end-of-year donation to UTC.


 

DonateIf you prefer to donate by mail, simply make a check payable to “Urban Tree Connection” and send it to UTC, 5070 Parkside Avenue, Box 48, Philadelphia, PA 19131.


Although I am stepping back from the day-to-day and turning the reins over to a new generation, I will continue to be deeply involved with UTC, and I hope you will too. Thank you for your past commitment to UTC and for supporting us again this year.

Best Regards,

Swiener

Skip Wiener

UTC Community Programs Launch 2015 Season With New Leadership

Community GardensUTC’s 2015 Community Programs season kicked off on May 18 with the start of the Sprouts and Veggie Kids, our popular programs for children ages 5-13. Our Teen Apprenticeship Program launched on June 8, and will be followed shortly by our adult cooking and wellness workshop series.

This year, we are also excited to announce a brand new programs team, with strong ties to the Haddington community. The new group was assembled by Programs Director Noelle Warford, who arrived at UTC in April. Noelle, who holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania, has extensive experience managing and evaluating community-based programs.

Since joining UTC, Noelle has hit the ground running, and quickly hired three new Garden Educators from Haddington: Nykisha Madison, NyShae Wymberley, and Candace Shillingford, all of whom have worked closely with kids in the past. Back from last year’s team is Quinzell McCall, who has worked across UTC’s entire farming, gardening, and program system. Continue reading

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Photo Source: Phillymag.com

Dandelion Greens.  Photo Source: Phillymag.com

UTC has a lot of volunteers that come and help out on the farm and we spend alot of time weeding.  But what most people don’t realize, is many of the things that we are weeding are not only edible, but can be highly nutritious and delicious additions to a traditional diet.  Below are a few wild edibles identified by UTC farm manager Rachel deVitry that can be found around our farm and at our farmstand: Continue reading