Contact Us


All News Releases By Date


EPA Selects Philadelphia Urban Farming Project for $50,000 Sustainable Development Challenge Grant - Remediated Brownfield Site has been recycled into Agri-Business

Release Date: 5/11/1999
Contact Information: Donna M. Heron (215) 814-5113

PHILADELPHIA -- The Greensgrow Philadelphia Project is one of 41 projects nationwide selected for funding under the EPA’s Sustainable Development Challenge Grant program.

Now in its third year, the challenge grants provide seed money to encourage creative local approaches and cooperation to improve the environment. It funds community partnerships among citizens, non-profit organizations, government and business.

In 1998, $5 million was allocated to promote sustainable development projects throughout the U.S. Across the nation, 656 proposals were submitted requesting a total of $82 million. In Region III, 73 proposals were submitted and four were selected for funding.

The Greensgrow Philadelphia Project began in 1997 to develop a model urban agricultural business that grows plants in a special nutrient mixture rather than soil -- which produces four to 10 times the yield of conventional methods. The goal is to replicate the process in other neighborhoods and other parts of the country.

Situated on a former brownfield site in the Kensington section of the city, the project will create low-skill jobs in economically depressed neighborhoods. Currently the urban agri-business is cultivating specialty lettuces on a previously abandoned three-quarter acre site that has been remediated by the EPA. Partners in the project include business and civic leaders, city and state agencies, private and public funding sources, business people and schools.

Three other sustainable development grants were awarded in EPA Region III -- to the Sustainable Community Initiatives in Washington, DC for job training; Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources, Landover, Md., for improvements along the Anacostia River and watershed; and the Lightstone Foundation Inc., Moyers, W. Va., for support of sustainable family farming, natural resources management and rural development.

Once these grants are finalized, the EPA Sustainable Development Challenge Grant program will have funded 96 projects totalling $10.5 million.

Information about the EPA’s Sustainable Development Challenge Grant Program, including the 41 new awards, can be obtained at: A new request for proposals for the 1999/2000 program will be announced this summer.