Philadelphia, PA − February 3, 2022 − On Monday Senator Sharif Street joined PA Dept. of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding of the PA Department of Agriculture in awarding a $50,000 grant to LifeLeaf Organic Farms (FarmerJawn Agriculture) one of 23 grant recipients of the 2021-2022 Urban Agriculture Grant Program authored by Street. PA Ag Secretary Russell Redding joined Senator Street and colleagues on a tour of the new farm in Elkins Park that will support urban agriculture efforts of Redefining the Corner Store building a nano-farm, corner store and kitchen/market to serve the local community.
“My dad grew up on a farm. He instilled in me the importance of urban agriculture, which is what drove me to create the Urban Agriculture Grant Program,” said Senator Street, “African Americans have a generational tie to agriculture. Our communities are healthier and more sustainable with equitable access to fresh produce which also promotes a cleaner planet. Our carbon footprint is affected not only by what we eat but by where what we eat is grown. Locally sourced fresh produce is better for our communities and for the planet as well. My thanks to the Governor and Secretary Redding for their leadership in this space.”
Christa Barfield, Founder of LifeLeaf Organic Farms (Farmer Jawn Agriculture) spoke on the history of farming as it pertains to black people in America stating “as direct result of these years of suffering, currently only 2% of farmers are black, representation matters. We work to destigmatize soil and make sure the marginalized are seen. Our concept of redefining the corner store will show urban people what farming looks like and empower them to grow their own food giving them the power and space to take control of their own health and wellness because food is medicine. Our mission is the reintroduction of ‘farmer’ into the lifestyles of urban people.”
The PA Farm Bill is a comprehensive set of programming and funding for the commonwealth’s agriculture industry and includes Pennsylvania’s first Urban Agriculture Grant, authored by Senator Street, which has funded 93 projects since its inception.
Microgrants provide funding up to $2,500 in matching funds for one-time projects or a single entity. Collaboration grants provide up to $50,000 in matching funds for projects that demonstrated cooperative or regional efforts to share resources, aggregate agricultural products or producers, promote the sharing of resources among agricultural entities, and support community development.
The full list of approved projects can be found at agriculture.pa.gov. For more information about the Pennsylvania Farm Bill visit agriculture.pa.gov/pafarmbill. Full video from the event can be found here.