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Did the Cobbs Creek Foundation make an illegal political contribution?

On December 28, 2021 a private foundation signed a 30-year lease with the City of Philadelphia and took control of 350 acres of Philadelphia park land with an assessed value of $92.7 million. The rent? $1. To supporters of the agreement, it is nonetheless a good deal for the city. Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr., who

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8 mins read
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FarmerJawn is breaking new ground with dirt, grit and optimism

For Christa Barfield, the entrance into agriculture was prompted by her exit from another industry. Before the success of FarmerJawn—Barfield’s ambitious and sprawling enterprise that includes farming at the historic Elkins Estate, running a CSA, being part of a development project in East Kensington, opening a garden shop in Germantown, selling herbal-infused teas and providing

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24 mins read
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Editor’s Notes: Against The Grain

“Why should anyone consider farming as a livelihood these days?” Brennan Washington, the owner of Phoenix Gardens in Lawrenceville, Georgia, paused at the question, posed by Hannah Smith-Brubaker, the executive director of PASA, at the 2022 Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Lancaster in February. Then he laughed a little, and the audience, largely composed of farmers,

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4 mins read
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Budget cuts have shuttered school libraries for decades. A young English teacher has built one from scratch

“The only thing you absolutely have to know,” as Albert Einstein once said, “is the location of the library.” When it comes to Philadelphia’s public schools, Einstein’s dictum leaves most students hamstrung, as the district’s number of librarians has declined sharply in recent decades. “In 1991, the School District of Philadelphia had 176 paid librarians,”

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8 mins read
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Everything I know about Philadelphia’s plans to clear 120 acres of city-owned forest for a new golf course.

I don’t know what was more depressing, the dead raccoon alongside Cardington Road at the edge of the freshly erected construction fencing, or the clearcut hillside it had died trying to reach. Cardington cuts through the Cobbs Creek and Karakung golf courses in West Philly, and two weeks ago both sides of the road were

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14 mins read
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Black-owned bookstores have been activism epicenters since the 19th century. These local shops continue to carry the torch

The FBI kept Hakim’s Bookstore, 210 S. 52nd Street, under surveillance for some time, sniffing around for subversion, says Yvonne Blake, 70. Daughter of Dawud Hakim, the store’s late founder, Blake recounts how her father had done the unthinkable in 1959 by opening an independent Black bookstore, five years before segregation would be outlawed in

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24 mins read
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Community garden advocates say it is within the city’s reach to save neighborhood spaces set up on abandoned, bank-liened land

Before the chic boutiques and overpriced cafés arrive, the first sign of gentrification is often a slew of ubiquitous posters stapled to telephone poles reading, “We Buy Houses.” One is more than likely to find these illegally-placed advertisements in low-income parts of the city where desperation for fast cash can outweigh the benefit of long-term

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21 mins read
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