SUBURBAN NEWS: Pennsylvania Horticultural Society opens green resource center at Norristown Farm Park

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PHOTO ABOVE: The new PHS Green Resource Center at Norristown Farm Park (Photos: Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania)

In 2021, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) announced plans to create a new Green Resource Center in Montgomery County’s Norristown Farm Park. The newly constructed PHS Green Resource Center at Farm Park spans 3 acres with amenities and services to benefit the local community.

It includes: a 2-acre educational farm using organic growing practices, a greenhouse with heating and cooling systems powered in part by solar energy, a shaded area for seedlings, a washing station, a pavilion for public programming, pollinator gardens and 45 community garden beds.

Since its construction in 2021 and its first growing season in 2022, the PHS Green Resource Center at Farm Park has worked to support several Montgomery County institutions with its fresh, organically grown produce. PHS will continue to support these and other organizations while increasing its direct support to community gardens located in both Norristown and Pottstown to grow and share food.

A total of over 6,000 pounds of locally grown organic produce has been harvested and shared with the local Norristown and Pottstown community starting this growing season. Some organizations that have benefited from the work of PHS include:

ICNA Relief – recipient of 1,415 pounds of produce for their pantry

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Karabots Primary Care Center – recipient of 850 pounds of products for families in need

Creative Health Services – recipient of 1,634 pounds of product for its Food as Medicine/Veggie Rx program

Norristown Sprouts Community Garden – recipient of over 3,000 seedlings to support 40 community garden beds

YWCA Tri-County Area – recipient of 410 pounds of proceeds going to Dignity Kitchen

With the official opening to the public of the PHS Green Resource Center in Farm Park, PHS has several scheduled public events. PHS will partner with Norristown Farm Park’s environmental education team to offer field trips to students and other groups to teach visitors the importance of food gardening and provide hands-on training in gardening.

Some of the produce harvested at the new PHS Green Resource Center at Norristown Farm Park.

It will also host agricultural education and work and learn days where volunteers can learn about gardening, socialize and help with harvesting, weeding, pruning and other light gardening activities. to keep the farm healthy and productive while socializing with each other.

With funding from Montgomery County, Farm Park’s PHS Green Resource Center supported a countywide effort to engage and help gardeners grow more food for themselves and their neighbors, which has become a critically important since the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap” studies, 7% of Montgomery County residents currently face food insecurity, with approximately 58,000 residents affected.
With inflation and the continued rise in food prices, there is a need for far-reaching collective action to support the health and well-being of local communities.

Farm Park’s PHS Green Resource Center provides access to fresh food and helps cultivate strong social bonds across age, language and race barriers.

“In its first year of operation, the PHS Green Resource Center at Farm Park has made tremendous strides in delivering locally grown organic produce to the people in our area who need it most,” said Dr. Val Arkoosh, chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “We are proud to support the garden’s continued growth to continue our efforts to reduce food insecurity in Montgomery County and improve access to fresh, healthy food.”

“The PHS Green Resource Center at Farm Park has become an important part of Montgomery County’s efforts to address food insecurity,” said PHS Vice President and Healthy Neighborhoods Leader Julianne Schrader Ortega. “We are thrilled to be able to continue supporting residents with nutritious food while educating them about the importance and joy of food gardening.”

PHS’s work in Montgomery County is part of its core mission of using horticulture to advance health and wellness.

Through its suite of innovative programs, PHS creates healthier living environments, increases access to fresh food, expands economic opportunity, and helps build deeper social connections between people.

PHS accomplishes this by providing gardening training, support, and resources throughout the region, including Philadelphia, Norristown, Chester, and more.

For more information and to support this work, please visit: PHSoline.org.

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