The ironic part is that many of us involved in ESUF welcome this move from the city. We are completely aware that unsecured vacant houses and trash filled lots are one of the biggest detriments to this city. But unlike the blanket statements of news organizations that have reported on this situation, not all of these lots are vacant, even though on paper that may seem the case. There are plenty of examples of projects like ESUF that exist and must be taken into consideration by the city.
Unlike developers, we don’t have the money to buy all of these lots. And in all honesty, the city is not going to get a fraction of the initial tax revenue that it could get from a developer. But aside from the beauty that our farm creates (and the rising property values that accompanies) the farm also creates a wealth of engaged citizens for the city. I understand that the city needs to attract more investment and grow its tax base. But it can’t afford to squander the resources it already has in its existing citizens. Taking the work that we have done into consideration and giving priority to that work must happen in tandem with the development of our vacant property.
Nic Esposito is a Philadelphia urban farmer, writer, and founder of The Head & The Hand Press.
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