In 1997 Mary Seton Corboy and Tom Sereduk pushed back the twisted gates of the abandoned Boyles Galvanizing Company in Fishtown and unknowingly launched a movement that was to spread across the entire country. A long empty trash strewn city block would become a lively sustainable business employing 19 people and feeding over 1,000 Philadelphia households a week, casting its green seeds across the city. “Abandoned land is only abandoned because we choose to leave it that way.” Greensgrow would make their case to city officials, non-profit groups, community leaders and entrepreneurs looking to create something new and something good from something long neglected. Slowly but surely the message was heard.

The hard-to-define urban agriculture movement began with two chefs in search of a good summer tomato. Today urban farms are sprouting up in cities across the country, zoning codes are being amended to make way for edible gardens, schools are implementing food as more than a lunchtime break but lessons in life and society and ecology, families shop for local fresh food in their own neighborhoods and concrete gives way to heirloom vegetable plants bringing food closer to home-where it belongs.

The core mission of Greensgrow Philadelphia Project has altered little in its 13 years. The old, the broken, the neglected, the out-of-our-urban-core of date, can be transformed and our cities can be more livable lively places in doing so. Greensgrow has the will and the way, and the leadership and the vision to return Philadelphia to its rightful place as the greenest city in America.

To learn more about Greensgrow Farms, visit www.greensgrow.org.

Greensgrow Farms will be honored with the Sustainable Business of the Year award at the 28th annual Excellence Awards on November 18. The award is sponsored by the Verizon Wireless. For more information or to register, click here.