Behind-the-Scenes with Breaking Through Concrete: Greensgrow Farm, Philadelphia, PA

WhyHunger goes on the road with our Breaking through Concrete documentary partners. First stop: Philly.

By Brooke Smith

The first thing you notice when loading into the Hanson minivan is that the cameras onboard outnumber the passengers. Yesterday I joined David and Michael Hanson on the Brooklyn-to-Detroit leg of the Breaking Through Concrete  national urban farm tour, and we headed south through the rolling green and river shoals of Buck’s County, Pennsylvania.


Reaching Greensgrow Farm – in the Kensington neighborhood of North Philly–just in time for a late afternoon thunderstorm, BTC went right to work. Michael photographed market customers and farm staff scurrying for dry cover in the greenhouses and David took his notebook in search of interview subjects. As the squall rolled out, life returned to busy-as-usual at this remarkable farmer’s market/nursery in the middle of a mixed income urban neighborhood marked by the standard fast food outlets, strip malls and residential housing. Amidst the hoop houses, bee hives and compost packed into a square city block, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) customers filed in to pick up their weekly baskets of fresh local produce, dairy, meat and even a locally brewed beer option(!), while residents organizing a new food co-op gave out flyers and bags of whole grains in hopes of securing future members.


WhyHunger is partnering with David (writer), Michael (photographer), Charlie Hoxie (filmmaker) and Edwin Marty (urban farmer and writer) to tell the many stories of urban farmers who are “breaking through concrete” all over America. As they criss-cross across state lines, the crew is finding that it’s not just one story– each “farm” has a different approach to growing, feeding and educating their communities. Through profiles, portraits, documentary photography and videos BTC  is capturing a moment in time–the resurgence of agricultural practices and values in urban environments– and I’m lucky enough to be along for part of the ride! Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes photos, videos and insights from the road as we head west to Detroit.

Updated 06/25/2010