Two summers ago, we first introduced talk about Greensgrow expanding from Kensington to a West Philly location at a long vacant lot at 51st & Baltimore. And it was exciting to see that this community urban farm that nineteen years ago started as a hydroponic lettuce farm on a reclaimed brownfield site was eyeing expansion into a new neighborhood.
Possible plans to expand the Mercy Wellness Center seemingly scuttled that idea, even though Greensgrow had held community meetings collecting input for the lot; though all in good faith, it seems. Instead, Greensgrow West opened last spring at 4912 Baltimore Ave., in the space once occupied by Elena's Soul. That space, you'll recall, became available only because the previous business burned down.
A new proposal has been worked out with the help of Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell for Greensgrow to occupy a different vacant lot nearby, at 5123-39 Baltimore Ave., where they've received a four-year commitment from the councilwoman that they'll have continued access to the land. They hosted a community meeting earlier this month to collect input about how the site can best be developed and managed. Additional space and the chance to provide programming are two benefits that Ryan Kuck of Greensgrow says they're looking forward to as they transition into the new address.
“I think the long-term plan was always a spot that was bigger,” Kuck said.
“I think the beauty of our business model, food and flowers, is something everyone can get behind,” Kuck said. He added that Greensgrow was exicited to be located next to the 52nd Street commerical corridor, with its long retail history. He said he hoped Greensgrow would be able to connect with that corridor, and said it's always been part of Greengrow's mission to exist in a community, bridging diverse types of people. The new spot will also be designed by an intensive architecture studio at Drexel, establishing additional community involvement.
Look for it to open in the spring of 2016.