Agriculture Department Provides Land for Harrisburg Youth Gardeners to Expand Urban Farming Efforts

Jun 11, 2010, 12:10 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Joshua Group Members to Farm Plot on Elmerton Avenue

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Agriculture is helping the Joshua Group build upon its mission of teaching urban youth about farming and how to grow, harvest and sell vegetables in their community, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said today.

The department is offering a three-quarter-acre parcel of state farmland to the organization to help it meet demand for produce and become more financially sustainable.

The Joshua Group provides support for youth from Harrisburg's Allison Hill neighborhood, where its members already farm a garden.

"The Joshua Farm offers phenomenal learning opportunities by teaching inner-city youth to grow and market their own food," said Redding. "The department is pleased to help urban communities bridge the gap in understanding where food comes from, and encourages the easy access to fresh produce to promote healthy eating habits in these underserved areas."  

Redding today joined other state officials and Joshua Group members to break ground and plant several vegetables in the newly plowed plot. The Agriculture department will retain ownership of the Elmerton Avenue parcel, which is located in Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County.

The Joshua Group has its own farm market and participates in the Agriculture department's Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which offers vouchers for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, recipients and eligible older adults. The program's goal is to increase fresh fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income consumers and to help farmers markets by raising awareness of these venues and increasing sales there.

"Pennsylvania agriculture is often thought to be strictly open fields and livestock grazing on pasture, but it is so much more diverse. Urban farms are a new reality and every bit as important to our state's top industry and are an integral part of keeping Pennsylvania growing," said Redding, noting that 15 percent of the world's food is grown in urban areas.

For more information about the nutrition program or to find the 2010 Pennsylvania Farm Market Guide, visit and search "Farm Markets."

To learn more about the Joshua Group, visit

Media contact: Jean Kummer, 717-787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture