Monday, August 20, 2012

True Collaboration Across All Sectors

Here is an example of true collaboration between all sectors. The Philadelphia Police Department (government) made a donation of confiscated equipment to a Community Development Corporation (nonprofit). The CDC was able to create an agribusiness that will lead to small business development and job creation (business). Because of one person’s innovation, a typical process was re-framed as an innovative solution:

When police raided a former drugstore, they found a hydroponic marijuana farm of serious sophistication. Nearly 100 pot plants, from seedlings to lush, 4-foot bushes, flourished in large tubs of water. Dozens of commercial-grade grow lights powered by industrial generators shone down on a crop worth at least $43,000.

The confiscated equipment typically would have sat in a warehouse until it could be auctioned or destroyed. But Michael Jay, a detective with the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, had a better idea: This equipment could be used to grow healthy food within urban food deserts. For those who haven’t heard the term, a food desert is an area with little or no access to foods needed to maintain a healthy diet.

The result? Today, inside a once-forsaken West Philadelphia storefront, the grow lights are giving life to a promising experiment in urban aquatic farming — not only of vegetables but herbs of the legal variety.

Posted by Myrna Meadows, NRS, International Falls

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