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HOW WE SUPPORT FARMERS
WE'RE NOT JUST THEIR CUSTOMERS WE’RE PARTNERS
Ryan Witmer and John Glick inspecting the greens in the PFW member financed greenhouse.
Partnering with local producers creates economically and environmentally sustainable communities while ensuring we have access to the best food possible. When members pay in prepayments, it allows Philly Foodworks to make an investment in a local producer. There is an instant connection formed between the farmer, Philly Foodworks
Eating fresh, healthy food is one of the pillars
THE HONEY BROOK HARVEST COLLECTIVE
The origins of Philly Foodworks can be traced back to a phone call Dylan had with Reuben Rehil in 2012. The two hit it off, discussing everything from philosophy to the struggles of running a small farm. Dylan, an urban farmer in West Philadelphia at the time, struggled to yield enough crops to meet demand. Reuben, an Amish farmer in Chester County struggled with the distribution of his produce. As Reuben explained that he had plenty of produce, but could not find people to buy it, Dylan chimed in that he had little produce, but plenty of people who wanted to buy it. At the same time they blurted out, "I can help you out!" This was the beginning of the Honey Brook Harvest Collective.
Over the past four years, Philly Foodworks and Rehil Family Farms have worked together to create an aggregation hub on the Rehil Family Farm. It's a collective of 12 farms in the Honey Brook area that handles cleaning, packaging, and distribution. By consolidating these tasks that require a lot of overhead (coolers, trucks, packing equipment, etc) the Honey Brook Harvest Collective has opened up opportunities for small farmers to sell their goods in and around Philadelphia.
Philly Foodworks members have been at the heart of this. Beyond simply purchasing their produce, to date PFW members have financed essential equipment and education for the farmers including:
A Truck - Used to aggregate food in Honey Brook and bring produce down to Philadelphia.
A Cooler - Used to store produce before it is sent to market.
Washing equipment: Items like an industrial salad spinner and barrel washers for cleaning root crops make the labor-intensive practice of washing and packing produce incredibly efficient.
Greenhouse: Used to extend Spring and Fall crops as well as produce crops in the winter.
Farmer Education: PFW members financed a trip for six Amish farmers to travel to Harvest Valley Farms outside of Pittsburgh and meet with head farmer Dave King. Dave King specializes in season extension and sustainable growing practices and provided valuable information for the farmers to bring back to their own farms and grow delicious produce for PFW members.
Reuben Rehil waving from PFW member financed truck.
As Philly Foodworks expanded, we were able to fund other projects like:
John Glick (Sunny Harvest) Greenhouse: John has used the greenhouse to extend Spring and Fall crops as well as produce crops in the Winter.
Tap Root Garlic Seed: We financed one acre of Garlic. Taproot harvested and sold half an acre and kept the other half to build their own seed bank so the crop can begin to adapt to the microclimate of their farm and develop resilience particular to their region. This also allowed them to save money on next year's Garlic seed.