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North Philadelphia Food Organization Gets Its Second ‘High Tunnel’

(A new "high tunnel" goes up at 29th and Hunting Park, near a former Tastykake factory.  Credit: Karin Phillips)

(A new “high tunnel” goes up at 29th and Hunting Park, near a former Tastykake factory. Credit: Karin Phillips)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A new structure is going up in North Philadelphia that will allow fruits and vegetables to grow longer, thereby providing more fresh produce for those who need it.

A “high tunnel” is different from a greenhouse, in that a high tunnel uses no automation — just wood, plastic, and metal piping to protect growing plants throughout the winter.

Now, the organization SHARE (the Self-Help And Resource Exchange), which collects and distributes surplus food, is putting up its second high tunnel on grounds next to its warehouse, at 29th and Hunting Park Avenue in North Philadelphia.

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high tunnel one karin North Philadelphia Food Organization Gets Its Second High Tunnel

(Vegetables grow nside SHARE's high tunnel number one. Credit: Karin Phillips)

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“All of the fall crops that would normally die from frost can survive inside a high tunnel a little longer,” explains Bill Schick, the urban agriculture director at SHARE.  “And the hardy winter crops — like collards and kale and cabbage — will survive the winter, and then we’ll be able to pick that in March.”

SHARE executive director Steveanna Wynn says the new project will increase the amount of food grown — by at least 10,000 pounds.

“Because it’s just constant turnover,” she explains.  “Something grows, you have something else ready that comes up.  We know we can grow ten months, but we think we’re going to be able to grow 12 months.”

Victor Washington comes from Southwest Philadelphia to collect food for his church.  He says it’s an important project.

“Fresh organic food at a reasonable price.  Hard to find,” he said.

Nine-year-old Sajir Hightower (below), who volunteers at SHARE selling vegetables, agrees.

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high tunnel sajir karin North Philadelphia Food Organization Gets Its Second High Tunnel

(Credit: Karin Phillips)

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“When people don’t each vegetables, they really don’t get the power that they need,” Sajir said today.

Reported by Karin Phillips, KYW Newsradio 1060

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