Occupy Vacant Lots has become Philadelphia’s most dynamic offspring of the Occupy movement, since urban land reform is the pivot for this city’s future.
Now it may be time we become more assertive.
I’d like to suggest that we draft a clear manifesto and plan for confronting neglect of vacant municipal and private lands.
Philadelphia government presides over 40 years of decay and decline. While 350,000 here are unemployed, 278,000 are uninsured, 60,000 children are chronically hungry, 28% are impoverished and the greatest percentage of any city on earth are jailed, City Hall’s primary economic development program is condos and casinos.
Were there no solutions to our urgent needs for food, jobs, homes and health care, this would be tolerable. Were elected officials merely incompetent, grassroots examples would teach them solutions to crises.
But after seven years here, it seems to me that City Hall is hostile to anything but profit for insiders, including councilmembers, regardless of “green” gestures. The legislature is corrupt. It requires pay, to play. Its police protect the rich from the poor.
Local government itself is squatting land.
Their challenges to land zoning and tenure which resist urban farming, where neighbors welcome it, are thus mere bureaucratic brutality. By the standards of humanity, their land use laws confining urban agriculture are criminal.
Therefore I believe we should force the issue by declaring adverse possession of several hundred specified abandoned lots within the hungriest census tracts.
Throughout these lands, collaborating with neighbors, we can proceed with:
• raised bed gardening
• guerilla grafting
• seed bombing
• green jobs training
City Hall’s demands to cease and desist should be ignored.
Their destruction of food should be documented.
Resistance to the above should prompt calls for the end to councilmanic privilege.
Time to write the deeds based on the needs.
- Amendments to Zoning Code to Affect Urban Ag [1 Update]
- Schedule and Announcements for Saturday 11/24 and Sunday 11/25 [1 Update]
Robyn Mello <rojo...@gmail.com> Nov 24 06:37PM -0500
Read the below e-mail & attached document describing potential new changes
in the already brand newly changed Philly zoning code which would make
community or market gardening illegal on certain commercially zoned
properties. This change would effect the legality of gardening at The Peace
Park, some lots around Fair Hill, & potentially new spaces where we want to
help communities start gardens in the future.
If anyone's interested in testifying at the Rules Committee meeting on this
proposed change, it's on December 4th at 10am in Room 400 of City Hall.
Call Councilman Greenlee's office at 215-686-3446 to get on the agenda
We don't care much about legal or illegal at this point, I know, but it
would be nice to be able to prevent changes which will make gardening
harder in this city.
If you have any questions, get in touch with Amy Laura Cahn or me!