West Philly's urban oasis feeds a community living in a food desert

- When you think of farms in the Delaware Valley, you probably don’t think of Philadelphia. But in West Philly, there's an urban oasis at Nykisha Madison's organic farm.

Three-quarters of an acre can be found down an alleyway on North 53rd Street in West Philadelphia. Nestled among the abandoned buildings and signs of urban blight, the neighborhood farm now feeds an entire community. Of course, it wasn't always this way.

Rashaad Lambert was born and raised on this city block.

"The land was so full of soot and oil and dirt,” he says. "People would dump things back here."

Rashaad spearheaded the movement to till the land here. His idea for creating a green space on the site of an abandoned auto garage – given sunlight, rain and a chance to take root – came to fruition with the help of Noelle Warford's non-profit, Urban Tree Connection.

Now, the farm produces over 10,000 pounds of food annually in an area Rashaad describes as a food desert.

"There used to be a lot of supermarkets that were closer,” Rashaad says. “But they closed over time."

So they’ve created an oasis, which families visit to get their food. Children even learn to plant and grow on their own. Nykisha hopes that what they see will place a seed in their own imagination.

The farmer’s market is open Saturdays at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

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