Magazine menu

Thu, Sep

Food Access and Nutrition Innovators


Presented by: Yael Lehmann, The Food Trust

1st Place: Anne Rice Burgess, Methodist Home for Children/Methodist Services. As CEO of a nonprofit agency, Mrs. Burgess recognized the need to supplement the reduced food being provided to the clients in transitional and permanent housing programs. Going back to the roots of our agency, she developed a chemical free farm on 1/2 acre of land that has grown into 4 acres in 4 years producing thousands of pounds of food annually. Anne is a dynamic, forward-thinking and innovative person who truly cares about the general welfare of all people.

Five years ago, Anne Rice-Burgess galvanized Methodist Services Board leadership, campus community and friends to establish a sustainable urban farm, integrated into a Philadelphia social service agency providing children's education programs, housing for homeless and child welfare services. Ms. Rice-Burgess states “Receiving the 2017 Social Innovations Award honors our long-standing mission and vision for the future: Serving the community at large, Methodist's 4-acre Heritage Farm is an innovative response to supplementing decreasing food resources, educating children and families about healthy eating and local food sourcing, and developing work skills for young adults, women and families”.

2nd Place: Patrick Walsh, Catholic Social Services, Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Patrick Walsh is a highly motivated individual whose goal is to assist in the transformation of lives in a regenerative way by building community, opportunity and food security in the largest choice model food pantry in Montgomery County, Martha's Choice Market. Within a year's employment with Catholic Social Services, Patrick has cultivated relationships with partners in the community, incorporated a year-round aeroponic growing system to provide fresh produce and education to the clients of the pantry as well as researching the implementation of a client facilitated co-op. Patrick is a hardworking, energetic, passionate and creative individual whose main vision is to provide a service that is rooted in love, respect, inclusion, empowerment and dignity. Patrick Walsh is a respected leader within the emergency food community in Montgomery County and an innovative, mission-driven, beloved employee of Catholic Social Services.

Patrick offers, “This award is an affirmation of the generosity, courage and sacrifices of so many amazing volunteers, staff and partners. We are deeply grateful to share and grow along with so many other dedicated and creative efforts that are building just and thriving communities in our region.”

3rd Place: Mary Seton Corboy and Greensgrow Philadelphia Project. Mary pioneered the urban farm concept as an economic engine and public health intervention strategy. Mary exhibited fearless leadership in putting abandoned land back into productive use, creating over 40 jobs in a forgotten section of Philadelphia, and inspired countless other innovators to improve our city and local food economy. Mary passed away in August 2016 and this award honors her legacy.

Ryan Kuck, the organization’s new Executive Director, affirms that “Greensgrow is honored to be included amongst such a cohort of individuals and organizations working towards transformation and justice. We look forward to continuing our involvement in this community as it continues to grow and pioneer solutions to persistent social and economic challenges.”