Monday, June 16, 2014

The Synergy of our Farming Partnership

Synergythe interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements.
While Henry Got Crops is one farm, it is a partnership of four organizations. Philadelphia Parks and Recreation provides access to land. Saul High School provides a present and willing community. Weavers Way Co-op provides an accessible, functioning farm. Weavers Way Community Programs provides the conduit for values and knowledge to be shared through experiential, educational activities.
Together, Henry Got Crops functions to operate an educational, working farm that serves as a learning opportunity for Saul students, as well as an environmentally responsible source of food for neighboring communities. The two goals are equally important and integrally intertwined in the way we operate the farm with student involvement.
At Henry Got Crops, the partners involved work hard to intertwine the goals of the farm through farm education programs and food production.  The goal is to give students valuable, real-world experience while running a business. This integrated approach is a core philosophy of this farm and this concept served as a principle building block when starting it.
To make this farm work, all partners are needed: the farm can't exist without the school, the school can't be involved without the education coordinator and the education coordinator can't teach without the farm. We are proud of this unique design and are excited to continue growing, together.
Most urban farmers are tasked with the difficult job of trying to run a farm AND coordinate the educational programs. Ask any urban farmer in Philadelphia, and they will tell you these two tasks are, at best, challenging to balance. With our partnership, each organization can focus on what they do best, and excel in their area of focus. The farm managers are able to focus on operating a functional farm and the educators are able to focus on the delivering experiential, educational programming.  The result is a functioning farm that serves as a classroom.
Sometimes I think what we are trying to accomplish at Henry Got Crops is crazy and destined to be forever difficult and inherently challenging. And while it is… I still believe this to be a worthy endeavor. Not one of these organizations could accomplish what happens here at Henry Got Crops on their own. But together, we bring our strengths to the table and are able to actualize our mission, in a very concrete and delicious way.

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