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Chester County Press

Editorial: The growing seeds of a one-acre idea

03/30/2021 09:10PM ● By Richard Gaw

On the overcast afternoon of March 22, a one-acre plot of earth at the Spar Hill Farm in Kennett Township revealed its future self for the first time, in freshly-tilled rows of rich soil that will soon welcome seeds that will soon become vegetables, that will eventually get to the tables of those in our community who need them the most.

The new garden, tilted slightly at an angle that will best expose it to the spring rains and the summer sun, seemed poised like a bank canvas, waiting for the artistry of the many volunteers who are about to undertake its purpose. 

The garden is the recent gift of Kennett Township to the Emergent Abundance Farming Collective (EAFC) to use for growing, cultivating and distributing what is expected to be hundreds of pounds of fresh food later this summer to Kennett Area Community Service (KACS) and other food banks that support community members who are facing food insecurity.

The Spar Hill property will be the latest journey for the EAFC, whose mission is to create an abundance of food and ecological habitat and to share food, knowledge, skill, and access to land with the local community. In 2020, they began to grow vegetables, berries, herbs and medicinals on a private property of the same one-acre size, which led to weekly donations to the Kennett Food Cupboard at KACS, Food For All in Wilmington and to food bank recipients in Philadelphia.

As food resource centers like KACS continue their uphill fight to provide food to the underserved populations in the communities they serve, the impact of the EAFCs efforts at the Spar Hill property will be both magnificent and plentiful. The spirit of giving, melded with the tactile sensation of growing food in the soil, should not only serve as the guiding light for the EAFC and its volunteers, but become an incubator for additional one-acre farms to take root in southern Chester County.

Across the horizon, the amount of open spaces purchased and preserved has been the end result of what our boroughs, municipalities and conservation groups have done to promise that the future for Chester County will be dotted with the same untarnished terrain our forefathers knew.

And within each of these spaces, one-acre patches are available for grass-roots agricultural organizations like the EAFC to grow similar gardens, from which food can be harvested and donated to KACS and other resources.

We ask the stakeholders of every township and municipality to open up the great maps of their land-preservation achievements, point to the tiniest of spaces located within the fields and streams and forests and say, “We will put our one-acre garden here.” They needn’t worry about the logistics of beginning such a concept, because those who participate will soon arrive with rakes and shovels and a groundswell of ideas, and quickly follow them up with the ingenuity needed to receive grants and funding.

There are as of now, no seeds yet in the ground of what will become the EAFC’s newest garden, but we already know the people whose lives their work will help. In a way, that is all we are asking of our local leaders for now: Find the out-of-the-way places in your township, imagine a garden growing there, gain the support of your communities, and then plant the seeds.