UTC is excited to welcome our first ever Community Engagement Farmer, Terrence Topping-Brown, who will be joining us as the cornerstone of our new Farm and Education Program, funded by the Chester Housing Authority, at the Ruth Bennett Homes in Chester, Pa. A native of Upper Darby Township, Terrence grew up in the neighborhood next to Haddington and still has strong connections to the area. He presently coaches track at Upper Darby High School, his alma mater, and is excited to be working with folks near his hometown to build food security.
Following high school, Terrence studied at Shippensburg University, graduating with a B.S. in Biology in Spring of 2013. While at the University, he had the opportunity to do research growing algae for biodiesel feedstock and to work at the campus farm where his interest in agriculture piqued. After graduating, Terrence worked with the USDA Agricultural Research Service on a project studying “Sustainable Biological Control of the Soybean Aphid,” a particularly pernicious pest that can cause yield losses as high as 50-70% of an infested soybean crop (source Wikipedia). He then went on to work at Spiral Path Farm, a Certified Organic Farm in Central Pennsylvania, where he did a lot of greenhouse work, soil testing, and independent IPM (Integrated Pest Management) field work.
Terrence became interested in working with UTC after hearing about the Community Engagement Farmer position through Rebecca Frimmer who he met at a Spiral Path Field Day after presenting data on the IPM and soil testing work he was doing for Spiral Path Farm. Frimmer is the Entrepreneur in Residence at Kitchen Table Consultants, a Philadelphia based consulting firm that works with UTC and many other locally focused farmers and food artisans in the Philly area. He was excited by the opportunity to grow food in the city, work alongside members of the Chester Community, and connect people more intimately with the sources of their food. One thing led to another, and we couldn’t be happier to have him on board!