After years of work at the Merion Avenue farm site, raising funds, clearing debris, and planning for production, UTC finally has a lease on the 3 acre site from the City of Philadelphia. Good for 5 years, the lease allows UTC to move forward with production and infrastructural development of the site. The lease also has the potential for renewal after the initial 5 year term, and shows promise for the future of land access for urban growers in our City.
Since signing the lease, UTC has already obtained a (water) hydrant permit from the City of Philadelphia and will be building a hydrant based drip irrigation system for the site. This system enables UTC to save on time and energy spent irrigating while increasing crop production through regular and consistent watering. The first succession of spring seedlings, already started in UTC’s propagation house, will go into the ground at Merion Ave at the end of April, and will surely appreciate the newly installed drip irrigation system!
Next steps at the Merion Avenue farm site include setting up a dedicated water source and electrical system, leaf and sheet mulching the area surrounding existing high tunnels, and securing the fence around the site’s border. Long range goals for the site include building a storage facility for farm supplies, expanding production capacity, building a larger composting area, and building more community based health and wellness programming into the site. UTC is also planning a ribbon cutting ceremony for the site in celebration of this exciting milestone in our organization’s history. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months!