Reading Terminal Market will provide cooking demos, food share with fresh produce and more,
PHILADELPHIA – The first-ever Parkside Fresh Food Fest will come to life this summer thanks to support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and collaboration between the Centennial Parkside Community Development Corporation (Centennial CDC) and the Viola Street Residents Association (VSRA). The festival will bring healthy, fresh food to Parkside residents via a food share program and cooking demonstrations from Reading Terminal Market, as well as live entertainment and activities for families.
The series of six events begins Thursday, July 6 and will be held on Viola Street between 41st Street and Belmont Ave in West Philadelphia. The Food Fest continues on select Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. until September 21 (July 6, 20; Aug 10, 24; Sept 14, 21). The series seeks to use food as the foundation to build community, utilize common public space, and provide Parkside residents with access to fresh food.
“Every community in Philadelphia should have access to fresh, healthy food, and Reading Terminal Market is committed to helping facilitate that,” said Anuj Gupta, General Manager of the Reading Terminal Market. “Using food as an avenue for diverse communities to come together is at the heart of what we do at the Market. We want to thank Knight Foundation for involving us in this project and highlighting the need for community gathering spaces for relationship building in Philadelphia.”
In addition to the Reading Terminal Market cooking demonstrations led by Chef Tess Connors, attendees can participate in organized art activities, bicycle safety workshops from the Indego Bike Share, and a Philadelphia Free Library Book Nook for children. Activities will vary each week and may include live music performances and a movie night.
The idea for The Parkside Fresh Food Fest was born from a community-building program hosted in the neighborhood last summer – the Viola Alley Connector, part of the Reimagining the Civic Commons initiative. Reading Terminal Market used this event to gauge resident interest in a potential subsidized Community Supported Agriculture service for East Parkside. Thus, the food share concept was born.
Each food share includes fresh fruit, vegetables, locally-sourced eggs and/or dairy, and an assortment of other grocery items from two merchants at Reading Terminal: Iovine Brothers Produce and Fair Food Farmstand. Participation in the food share program requires a subscription, which may include either a six-event ($50) or four-event ($35) subscription, but some limited single shares ($10) will be available at each event. Information on each item in the food share package will be included along with a recipe card.
“The Parkside Fresh Food Fest is helping to support the wider goals of the Reimagining the Civic Commons initiative, bringing neighborhood residents and organizations together in one of our city’s great public spaces to promote collaboration and new ideas,” said Patrick Morgan, Knight Foundation program director for Philadelphia. “This project leverages the early actions as part of the Civic Commons and takes them to a new level to improve our civic assets and community connections.”
The Centennial Parkside CDC and VRSA are involved in the local Reimagining the Civic Commons Initiative, a pilot program supported by the William Penn Foundation and Knight Foundation, which seeks to connect public spaces such as parks, plazas, trails and libraries to bring together people from different backgrounds. The initiative expanded nationally additional partners in 2016. Centennial Commons, located adjacent to Parkside, is one of the five sites included in the initiative.
“I’ve lived in Parkside for 10 years and am in love with the neighborhood and its beautiful people,” said Joyce Smith, Development Coordinator of Viola Street Residents Association. “The general vacancy on our blocks is something the VSRA has been trying to tackle, and I’m thrilled that the Knight Foundation is implementing wonderful programs like the Fresh Food Fest. Some challenges of living in this area are the lack of a commercial district and stores to find healthy food. This is going to be a great resource for our neighbors and I look forward to seeing its impact.”
The Parkside Fresh Food Fest is made possible through funding from Knight Foundation, developed in partnership with The Centennial Parkside CDC, PennPraxis, the Fairmount Park Conservancy, and All About Events.
About Reading Terminal Market
One of America’s largest and oldest public markets, the Reading Terminal Market serves as a public trust providing a venue for independent local businesses to showcase the Philadelphia region’s culinary bounty and cultural diversity. Housed since 1892 in a National Historic Landmark building, the Market offers an incredible selection of farm fresh produce, meats and poultry, plus the finest seafood, cheeses, baked goods, confections, flowers, kitchenware, cookbooks, jewelry and crafts. The Market is managed by a not-for-profit management company as a tenant of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, which has owned the historic Reading Terminal since 1990. In 2014, the American Planning Association named Reading Terminal Market as one of the 10 Great Public Spaces in America.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.
About the Viola Street Residents Association
VSRA was founded in 2009 by a group of pro-active residents advocating for positive improvements in the East Parkside neighborhood through beautification, civic engagement and community revitalization enterprises. Through resident driven initiatives the civic seeks to empower the community by helping residents take ownership of community building initiatives. VSRA’s goal is to generate strength by connecting the community to resources and building on local assets.
About the Centennial Parkside CDC
Centennial Parkside Community Development Corporation (CPCDC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit community development corporation located in the East Parkside neighborhood of West Philadelphia. The organization responds to a long-standing need for a Community Development Corporation in East Parkside that can align resources and leverage partnerships to spur equitable revitalization in the Community. CPCDC was established in 2015 with the intention of promoting an equitable development strategy that sustains an economically and culturally diverse community, improves the health and well-being of residents, strengthens the community’s identity and connectivity to Fairmount Park, and enhances the quality of the physical environment.
Contact: Alex Styer Bellevue Communications