Archive for ‘Green Events’

July 21, 2010

Get Growing: CHGA Application Available Now

Grid cover story superstar Nic Esposito—who also happens to be a PHS employee—passed along this information for local entrepreneurial growers:

The City Harvest Growers Alliance (CHGA) is a project sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s PhiladelphiaGreen (PG) program and funded by the USDA. Its purpose is to increase the supply of nutritious, locally-grown produce in Philadelphia, provide material and educational support, and provide supplemental income to entrepreneurial growers. 

Specifically, the project will provide plants, supplies and support through Green Resource Centers to participating urban farming entrepreneurs. Members of CHGA will receive instructional workshops on pre- and post-harvest handling for markets and local resources for preparing for markets. Priority will be given to more experienced gardeners/growers. 

All applications must be submitted to PHS by 5 p.m., August 6, 2010.

Mail or hand deliver to: PHS 100 N. 20th St., 5th Floor, Philadelphia, PA, 19103, Attention “CHGA.”  Fax: 215 988 8810. Email:

Click here for the application.

July 8, 2010

The Partnership CDC featured in the University City Review!

By Nicole Contosta, University City Review

Despite the nearly oppressive heat, over fifty environmental enthusiasts, including Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, came to celebrate the launching of the Green and Healthy Initiative on North Holly Street, a quiet block right above Powelton Avenue and between 41st and 42nd Streets, last Tuesday, June 29th.

Implemented by the Partnership CDC in conjunction with SCI-West, the Green and Healthy Initiative aims to “create a holistic view on a block-to-block basis,” said the CDC’s Executive Director Steve Williams, going on to note the other entities supporting the program. They include: PECO, Bio Neighbors, R.I.S.E., Councilwoman Blackwell and the Mayor’s Office of Reintegration Services for Ex-Offenders.

The initiative, continued Williams, consists of two primary components: “The Healthy Homes Program, a green energy education for homeowners and the Green Professionals Training, a green construction job-training program designed for local residents and contractors.”

According to Williams, under the Healthy Homes Program, “homeowners will receive environmentally friendly money saving techniques that make their homes both green and safe.”

“Participants,” continued Williams, “may be eligible to receive a cost and energy saving eco roof at a nominal fee.” Those who install eco roofs will save an average of $300 a year on their energy bill, added Williams.

Specifically targeted toward ex-offenders, the Green Training Program will teach them the emerging green construction industry, said Williams.

“Unlike the digital divide, where lower income communities still struggle to receive adequate computers and training, the CDC wanted to bring the Green and Healthy Initiative “here while it was still on the edge,” remarked Williams.

Homeowners who opt to install an eco roof can choose between two types: White or green roofs, said Williams. An acrylic substance plastered on the existing structure, white roofs “reflect the heat which creates an ambient, cool temperature to the touch, which reduces the temperature indoors,” explained Williams.

Green roofs, on the other hand, “achieve more,” said Williams, going on to explain that they “help with water retention and exchange of oxygen absorbs C02.” As for its cooling effects, Williams explained that people who had installed them remained comfortable with only a fan on during the summer’s hottest days. That said, in order to install a green roof, “the roof must be totally flat,” said Williams, adding, “This isn’t necessary with a white one and flattening the roof can be very expensive.”

So out of all the blocks across the city, why choose North Holly Street?

During the project’s planning stages, the CDC needed to determine which ones used the most energy. Through its work with SCI-West’s Iola Harper and Harper’s meetings with the Commerce Department, a broad map provided information on what blocks fell under the highest energy usage. North Holly Street, Williams went on to say, “falls within SCI-West’s Catchment area.”

A local non-profit, the Partnership CDC strives to provide affordable housing, job creation and training, economic development and environmental awareness in West and Southwest Philadelphia. Open since 1992, the Partnership CDC has developed over 370 affordable housing units, counseled over 6,400 families and directly invested over $60 million into its Catchment area. For more information on the CDC or the Green and Healthy Initiative, go to:

June 11, 2010

The Partnership CDC is getting Greener…

The backyard of The Partnership CDC was recently given a face-lift, transformed from its past of concrete to a much more aesthetically and environmentally pleasing Greenhouse. The Greenhouse was built to show the rest of West Philadelphia that The Partnership CDC is ready to do some ground breaking work in the city and make it more sustainable and healthy for all.

The work of the Partnership CDC has been so significant that we were awarded the Community Conservation Grant from the Philadelphia Zoo. The Greenhouse, characterized as the “doorway to the future” by Executive Director Steven Williams, has been a major milestone in the Partnership CDC’s mission of greening Philadelphia one block at a time. It is one of the many facets of The Partnership CDC’s Green and Healthy Initiative Programs. These programs are designed to decrease unhealthy environmental factors in homes, provide hands- on project- based training for West Philadelphia’s emerging green economy and green professionals, and increase the economic health of families by lowering home energy costs and building financial literacy. By addressing these issues in our community, we have been able to create a model that we hope to have replicated throughout the city.

Of course, we didn’t do this alone. The City of Philadelphia’s R.I.S.E. program, BioNeighbors, ECA, Sci-West, LISC, The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD), The Enterprise Center and PECO, along with our dedicated volunteers, have all been instrumental in making these programs as effective and wide reaching as possible. Also, the employees of The Partnership CDC have been the backbone of this program. Our structural engineers, Dave Young and Mike Brown were the main catalysts of the group that designed and built the greenhouse, cultivated the greens, and provided the knowledge and morale for the rest of the team. Without this substantial help, the Greenhouse and other Green and Healthy Initiative Programs would have been impossible.


The microgreens and herbs found within the Greenhouse are described by Alix Howard as “delicious”, and all of these plants will be used for environmental, educational or edible purposes. This is a new turning point in urban farming, and we invite you to come see it for yourself! Because of all the Green and Healthy Initiative Programs by The Partnership CDC, Philadelphia will go green one block at a time.

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