Pittsburgh, once a site of heavy industry, could soon be home to the biggest urban farm in the United States. The 23-acre Hilltop Urban Farm will be located in the city’s Southside, an area underserved by supermarkets, where it could help supply nutritious, fresh produce to those who otherwise would have little access.
Coal, steel, and manufacturing once boomed in Pittsburgh, until the city experienced an industrial decline in the 1950s. The healthcare industry has recently helped revive the city, but neighborhoods on Pittsburgh’s outer ring have yet to see a comeback. That’s where the Hilltop Alliance, the group behind the Hilltop Urban Farm, is working. The city is also home to the largest percentage of people living in areas with low-supermarket access for cities with 250,000 to 500,000 people, according to a 2012 report from the United States Department of the Treasury.
The Hilltop Urban Farm could offer an answer to the issues these Pittsburgh residents face. The farm will occupy space that was once filled with low-income housing – and according to Aaron Sukenik, Hilltop Alliance executive director, the land “was just kind of sitting there, fenced and looking very post-apocalyptic.”
Soon it will be home to a farm where people will grow winter peas and other produce. There will be a fruit orchard, and an almost one-acre youth farm. There will be a 3.36-acre farmer incubation program, and a 57 plot community garden. There will also be a 3.31 community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm. Also part of the urban farm will be a 200-person events barn and a farm market building, where a seasonal farmer’s market will occur.
According to the Hilltop Urban Farm Facebook page, green infrastructure, energy-efficient buildings, stormwater management, and native plants will be part of the design. Hilltop Urban Farm is slated to open in 2019.
Images via Hilltop Urban Farm Facebook