On Saturday, October 1, more than 30 volunteers and Subaru employees played host to the fourth annual Greensgrow Farms Fall Festival in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Greensgrow Farms, located in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, is dedicated to promoting social entrepreneurship through developing and supporting urban green businesses. As a local to the area and recent CSA (community supported agriculture) member, I consider Greensgrow Farms an amazing, urban sanctuary for those with a “green thumb.”
Normally, my trips to Greensgrow involve my girlfriend and me riding our bikes on a lazy Sunday morning to pick up fresh fruit and eggs to cook for brunch or (if I’m lucky enough) to spend some time shopping and learning about some cool new plants that we “have to have” for the flowerbeds outside our house. Generally, the trips are quiet and relaxing because the overall atmosphere within the farm itself is very peaceful. On any given Sunday one would expect to find a variety of local farmers selling their products, locals and neighbors attending to their small gardens, and/or Greensgrow workers educating the hipsters on the difference between perennials and annuals. However, this particular trip was quite different.
Upon arrival, I biked past the VIP Subaru parking lot, where I wasn’t surprised to find volunteers welcoming all Subaru owners to free parking (Subaru does this at many events)! After I locked up my bike and headed inside the farm, I couldn’t help but notice how much activity was going on both inside and outside.
My first stop inside was at the local Philadelphia Brewing Company tent, where I had the opportunity to try their seasonal “Coffee Porter” for the first time. The beer was fantastic.
But even more fantastic was my next stop, where I got to see the cutest (yes, cutest) little pig. I even tried my luck at naming the little guy in the “Name this Pig” contest. I thought the name “Dudley” sounded appropriate for a pig, so I entered my submission and made my way outside.
Organic Gardening magazine was hosting three workshops, which included herb gardening, composting, and garden photography. Personally, I found the demonstration on how to grow indoor herbs to be the most interesting because recently I’ve discovered how amazing it is to cook with homegrown rosemary and basil.
The “Subaru Sprouts” kids area seemed to be packed with excitement. Kids had the opportunity to create their own Halloween crafts, get their faces painted, try organic snacks, and learn the secrets to starting a garden!
Pets also could get into the Halloween spirit at this year’s Fall Festival! Dog and cat owners had the chance to get creative at the pet T-shirt booth, where they could create custom T-shirts for their pets. This year’s Pet Center also included pet adoptions, custom ID tags, and the popular "Howl O’ Ween" pet costume contest, which included free prizes and giveaways!
After the Howl O’ Ween contest, I went back inside to snag a few bowls of chili from local vendors competing in this year’s Chili Cook-off. Talk about happiness! There’s nothing like a hearty bowl of home-cooked, delicious chili on a beautiful fall day to satisfy the soul.
My final stop at the festival was the entrance of the farm where volunteers were collecting gently used coats to donate to local Philadelphia shelters. It seemed like Subaru of America was well on its way to its goal of filling two Outback vehicles with coats. It’s always nice to see good people coming together to support those in need.
This year’s Fall Festival was a fantastic experience and seemed to be a great success. If you desire more information about Greensgrow Farms, please visit greensgrow.org. You can also stay up-to-date on the latest Subaru gardening techniques, tips, and information by following its popular @gardenchat on Twitter!
-- Dan Pacitti