Become a Sponsor of the South Philly Garden Tour!

We're hard at work gearing up for our biggest annual fundraiser, the South Philly Garden Tour, and we're on the lookout for folks who want to get involved by becoming a sponsor!

As a sponsor of the Garden Tour, your organization (which doesn't need to be located in South Philly) will have the opportunity to reach a diverse group of approximately 200 Garden Tour attendees and 500 South Philly Food Co-op members, and the Co-op’s 5,000-plus constituents. Sponsorships range from $100 to $1,000 and offer a variety of benefits, outlined below.

At this highly anticipated event, Co-op and community members come together to celebrate and enjoy a spectacular showcase of 10 to 15 unique private and community gardens on a self-guided walking tour. This year's tour, to be held Saturday, September 7, from 1 to 5 p.m., focuses on the gardens of the South Broad Street corridor (Washington to Snyder, 11th to 17th); ticket-holders will start their green journey at our Garden Tour Hub at South Philly High School, where various local vendors will offer refreshments and family-friendly activities will be ongoing throughout the day. (Check out photos of last year's tour here.)

Sponsorship funds will not only cover the costs of the Garden Tour and our other programs and events, but will directly support plans to open the store including funds for our member loan coordinator and site analysis. In short, sponsors can directly influence the opening of the store!

Our ambitious deadline for securing sponsors is July 1, so if you're interested in a sponsorship opportunity, email today!

Sponsorship Opportunities


  • 10 Garden Tour Tickets ($200 value)

  • Full-page ad in the Garden Tour program for the day of the tour

  • Name and logo recognition on the South Philly Food Co-op website, as well as mentions on social media (with access to 2,000 person e-mail list, nearly 2,000 Facebook fans, and over 800 Twitter followers)

  • Name and logo recognition as lead Garden Tour sponsor on all advertisements and print materials including Garden Tour tote bags, Location Marker Signage, Sponsor banner at Garden Tour hub, Garden Tour flyers, programs and tickets.

  • Opportunity to have a table or other promotional display at either the Garden Tour hub or Garden Tour stop, as well as inclusion of display location on route map

  • Opportunity to provide promotional materials to 150-200 Garden Tour participants


  • 5 Garden Tour Tickets ($100 value)

  • Half-page ad in the Garden Tour program for the day of the tour

  • Name and logo recognition on the South Philly Food Co-op website, as well as mentions on social media (with access to 2,000 person e-mail list, nearly 2,000 Facebook fans, and over 800 Twitter followers)

  • Name recognition on all advertisements and print materials including Garden Tour tote bags, Location Marker Signage, Sponsor banner at Garden Tour hub, Garden Tour flyers, programs and tickets.

  • Opportunity to have a table or other promotional display at either the Garden Tour hub or Garden Tour stop, as well as inclusion of display location on route map

  • Opportunity to provide promotional materials to 150-200 Garden Tour participants


  • 4 Garden Tour Tickets ($80 value)

  • Logo recognition in Garden Tour program for the day of the tour

  • Name recognition on the South Philly Food Co-op website, as well as mentions on social media (with access to 2,000 person e-mail list, nearly 2,000 Facebook fans, and over 800 Twitter followers)

  • Name recognition on sponsor banner at Garden Tour hub

  • Opportunity to provide promotional materials to 150-200 Garden Tour participants


  • 2 Garden Tour Ticket ($40 value)

  • Name recognition in the Garden Tour program for the day of the tour

  • Name recognition on sponsor banner at the Garden Tour hub

  • Name recognition on South Philly Food Co-op website

  • Opportunity to provide promotional materials to 150-200 Garden Tour participants

From our e-mail bag: When is the Co-op going to open?

We encourage anyone - members, non-members, "not yet" members - to email us any time they have a question, comment or suggestion. Engaged and curious members are what will make this Co-op successful and sustainable. Occasionally, we get a question that we think should be shared with everyone along with the answer to the question. This is one of those:
We've been members of the Co-op now for awhile, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. I thought once we reached 400 members that something would happen. Now we're up to 600 members for the goal. Several of us are getting tired of waiting around for a virtual co-op and are unclear what the holdup is. I'm afraid I don't have the time to regularly attend meetings, but I do try to read some of the emails and I'm just not clear on the delay reasons. Thanks for any updates.
First, thanks for taking the time to reach out with your questions. We try as hard as we can to keep our members as informed as possible about the overall process for starting the Co-op and the significance of each milestone goal but there are always ways we can improve on delivering that message. We realize that the length of time that it takes to get a co-op operating can be daunting and that it requires a great deal of patience on the part of our members as we go through this process. The member milestones are taken from best practices that successful co-ops all around the U.S. have followed when starting up. As you can see from the timeline for opening that we’ve had in place since we began recruiting members in June of 2011, each milestone corresponds to a specific set of tasks that also need to be done before moving on to the next stage. We try to communicate each time we reach a milestone - first 250, then 400, next is 600 and so on - what the achievement of that milestone allows us to do (i.e. we would not have wanted to start a location search before 400, etc.). From the beginning we've estimated that the Co-op would likely open sometime in early to mid (eta: to late) 2014 and we are so far still on pace for that and not currently experiencing any delays in our original timeline. We’ve been working to educate people that this is necessarily a long process in order to ensure that upon opening the store will be around for a long, long time. The volunteers and member-owners who are making the Co-op happen are working hard every day to move to that next stage where we will have a location picked and begin fitting it out for opening. Our real estate committee has gone on a number of site visits and is narrowing down locations to a few that we will do professional site analyses on to confirm their suitability and viability. We have made the choice not to publicly talk about which locations they are visiting so as to avoid starting the rumor mill that "X" location is where the Co-op will be located. We realize this limits us in what we can communicate to the membership as a whole but the downside of the rumor mill makes it necessary. We simply don't want to be in a position where anyone joins because they think the Co-op will be located in a specific place only to find out later that it was never going to be there. Speaking of membership, our membership committee has continued to push hard since the end of our recently completed, very successful campaign. We continue to have members signing up every week. Our hope is that by the time our Garden Tour fundraiser in September comes around we’ll also be celebrating that 600-member milestone AND the selection of a site that will move us on to pre-construction. Again, thanks for taking the time to get in touch with us and, of course, thank you for being a member. Being a member is the single most important thing you can do to help get the store open. We’re making great progress and will get there soon! Feel free to reach out to us directly with any further questions. P.S. Please share this information with the other people you reference in your email and extend my invitation to them to communicate with us directly if they have any questions.

Hello Co-operator!

The Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA) recently published a great interview with the South Philly Food Co-op's President of the Board Allison Fritz. You can read it here. In the interview, Ms. Fritz shares her ideas about how cooperatives can help establish stronger community ties as well as bring resiliency and necessary services to communities. If you are curious about what the South Philly Food Co-op is, or if you are wondering what being a member entails, this is a great, short piece that can help to answer any of your questions. You can also check out our home page for any other information, updates, events, or new opportunities to get involved with the Co-op.

Join the Co-op as Music In The Park Returns

Summer time is hopping in South Philly and brings with it the return of Gold Star Park's "Music In The Park" series of family-friendly concerts. If you went to the Hot Dog Happy Hour last Thursday you may have noticed it raining cats and dogs for about 45 minutes. That rain postponed last week's Music event to THIS COMING THURSDAY (6/20) at 7 PM. This week Gold Star Park welcomes Johnnie Verbal's Enablers with their blend of classic rock, covers, some originals, all done in a very smart and very enjoyable way. The Co-op will also be there - as we are every year. We'll be providing sidewalk chalk for the kids to practice their own visual arts on the asphalt surface on the Wharton Street side of the park. If you've never been to one of these events before, they are a lot of fun and a great way to meet up with some neighbors you may not have seen in a while. The event is FREE. Just bring your blanket or beach chair. In fact, make a picnic out of it. (But bring enough to share!) Of course, this is also a great opportunity to help out our "growing season" this summer by becoming a member-owner of the Co-op. The chalk is for the kids. The member-owner application is for you! And keep your fingers crossed that Johnnie Verbal doesn't get rained out a second time!  

A VERY Happy Hot Dog Happy Hour

The official South Philly Food Co-op hot dog. Pictured is vegetarian style. Beef also available.

Yesterday evening over 70 people came through Underdogs from 5:30 to 8:30 as part of the Co-op's Hot Dog Happy Hour. We just may have stumbled onto something with this great hot dogs and free beer idea! Even a brief downpour from about 6pm to 6:20pm couldn't hold back an torrent of Co-op members and fans that may have caught the Underdogs folks just a little off guard. Hey... that's how we roll, baby.

Attendees caught up with folks they hadn't seen in a while, which continues to show how the social aspect is one of the best parts about the Co-op.

And, of course, the best news of all was that three more member-owner households joined up last night bringing our total to 479!

Thanks again to Underdogs for hosting and making that great, special hot dog in our honor with a family ratatouille recipe that was simply great. And  thanks to Victory Brewing Company for donating five (!) cases of beer for the occasion. If you missed the event we put a few photos up on our Facebook page. Stay tuned for the next great happy hour event. We hope to see you there!


Sarah's Garden: Rain

I don't have that many new pictures because it's been raining so much and I am loathe to go out in the rain just to take some blurry pictures of tomato plants.  But rest assured they are growing fast and are enjoying the rain.  So let's take a look at all the other plants that I tend to neglect in favor of vegetables in the summer.

Above is lavender and what I assumed was Lamb's Ear until these bright magenta flower showed up.  Turns out it's rose campion and I'm not entirely sure where it came from!  On the left side of the picture is a blackberry (or possibly raspberry) from Bartram's Garden.  I get it last summer and it's starting to flower so maybe I will get some berries?  We'll see.

The excitement of this week was when I harvested some beans...11 of them, to be exact.  They seem a little small but the pods were turning yellow so I looked in one and hey!  beans.  I'm letting these dry and hopefully I will get more so I can make something with them.  Next year I promise I'll plant more than one bean plant.

Other than that I've been frantically staking my tomato plants to keep up with all this growth.  More pictures next week, once things dry up a bit!

Let's party our way to 600 members!

House party hosted by the Knapp-Bazis member-owner household.

One of the Co-op's most successful member recruitment tools this year has been the house parties and get togethers organized by members who invite small  groups of friends who might be interested in joining. During our recent 75in75 campaign, over a half dozen different members hosted this parties which were attended collectively by dozens of prospective members. It's a great way to help recruit new members while showing off your party-hosting skills.

And with summer upon us and the season of backyard barbecues, roof-deck gatherings and small group picnics with pick-up softball games, there are plenty of opportunities to gather a bunch of your friends without worrying about them making a mess in your home!

Here's how it works.

1. Let us know you want to one of these by emailing

2. You pick a date, invite a bunch of friends and do all of the other things you'd normally do when organizing a party: putting together a menu, getting your iTunes playlist together, practicing your flip cup and beer pong skills, etc.

3. We will arrange for one of the volunteers in our Speakers Bureau to attend the party prepared with a 5-minute pitch about why joining the Co-op would be such a great idea.  You can feel free to chime in - since they're your friends - about why you joined, or just leave the talking to us. The speaker will also have plenty of forms on hand for people to join on the spot.

4. Make sure to take plenty of pictures and let us know how the event went so we can post them to our Facebook page and put on our blog. The more pictures of people eating great food and having a good time, the better!

If you have any questions or if you're new in town and want to know when the next house party is happening, send an email to We'll answer your questions or check with the host to see if he or she has room for more guests.

Pallet Gardening Workshop: June 1, 2013

What better way to spend a sweltering early summer afternoon that keeping cool in the newly designed gardens of South Philadelphia High School? More than 30 people participated in the first Pallet Gardening Workshop, organized and presented by Molly Devinney. Not only is Ms. Devinney a skilled gardener who is ready to impart her green thumb skills to eager urban agrarians, but she is also the coordinator for the student gardening program at South Philadelphia High School.

Judging from our pictures taken by Co-op member Stefania Patrizio, the attendees didn’t mind the heat. In fact, many of them found the program informative and helpful. One participant, Josh Satinoff, shared how this event gave him the opportunity to create a garden for his house and that the event was “awesome”. The Co-op helped to provide pallets and other materials for pallet gardening.

Although this event quickly filled up, the South Philadelphia Food Co-op hopes to host more events that will focus on creating more green space in South Philadelphia. Whether it is creating your own verdant oasis with a pallet garden or touring the various community gardens of South Philadelphia in September, the Co-op is ready to provide more opportunities for residents of South Philadelphia to explore how urban gardening can enhance our community’s aesthetics and bonds. Interestingly enough, South Philadelphia High School’s parking lot, which served as the site for Saturday’s workshop, will also serve as the hub for this fall’s Community Garden Tour. The Co-op is on the lookout for gardens in South Philadelphia to feature for the Community Garden Tour. If you have a garden that you want to show off, or if you just want more information about the Garden Tour this fall, you can go here.


Event organizer and workshop leader Molly Devinney helps participants transform their pallets into gardens.

Participants Josh Satinoff and Ari Packer show off their handiwork at the Pallet Gardening Workshop.
Other participants enjoyed working with their gardens. Attendees described the workshop as really helpful and "Awesome".


Sarah's Garden: Growth

Hello!  My plants have now been outside for a month and besides some cold nights about a week ago it's been smooth sailing.  Let's look back and see how much these cuties have grown.

Here they are on May 2nd after having survived the first night outside:

Here's the next day...looking quite bedraggled from all the sun (note to self:  next year don't worry about hardening off but do give them a few days of partial sun before going all in):