Why I am making this suggestion.....I have been involved with Pittsburgh food organizations for years, volunteering with Pgh Community Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, Family Promise, Beechveiw Food Bank and actually established a crazy "surplus food triage" for a few years ( Before Food Rescue 412 took over). I know that fresh produce is what is needed in so many communities. I also have a tiny garden with great output, have worked with SHIM in their gardens and watched their production soar to meet the needs of SHIM clients and I am a volunteer at the CSL ( Center for Sustainable Landscapes). My dad used to say "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime". Let's capitalize on the land we own and teach a generation how to urban farm.... We can do this!!!
BOUNTIFUL PARKS AND THE PEOPLE THAT NURTURE THEMPARKS AND PLANTSPlant existing parks, like Frick and Highland, with sustainable (and attractive)food-producing plants.
Example: Apple and pear trees are native to our climate. Zucchini plants and swiss chard are simple to grow and bounteous producers of fresh produce. Swiss chard is also self-propagating AND grows in a beautiful array of colors. ( Fill the parks with beauty and have "beans and greens" festivals!) Plant the PPG obelisk with swiss chard and climbing snow peas,what a sustainable food statement! PEOPLE:Educate and train people to design and maintain the food producing plants in our parks.
1. Establish Urban Agriculture degree programs at several local colleges.( Chatham has a Master's of Food Studies and CMU Heinz College has interests in "Grow Pittsburgh" but we need more than this)
2. Establish a body of workers, similar to the Civilian Conservation Corps, to tend to the plants. It will mean jobs and the creation of a new generation of urban farmers who will use their new skills at home and in their communities---production of fresh food for the future!PARTNERS:Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscape (CSL)
can select plants and programs of care for them.Master Gardener organizations
can donate their expertise. MG candidates must do a project to earn their title-this will provide many opportunities ! They may donate the starter plants or seeds.SHIM South Hills Interfaith Ministries
has an excellent track record of gardens to guide us