Another Reason To Love Philadelphia

The Lempert Report
February 25, 2021

The Economy League’s Well City Challenge social impact incubator’s goal is to explore ideas on how to use food and nutrition to achieve being a Well City.

Today, we reveal the 5 finalists who in a pitch competition on Wednesday, March 3, will make their case to a panel of judges as to why they should win $10,000 in seed funding. They can score an additional $7,500 for their project by getting the most votes from the audience.

In no particular order they are:

Land-Based Jawns: Stay ready, so you ain’t gotta get ready

Ashley Gripper attended an annual National Black Food and Justice Alliance retreat, and the phrase “land based” swirled through her mind. “I’m a jawn by birth,” the Philadelphia native explained. “My friends are jawns. and many of us want to be or are land based.” Land-Based Jawns, is a  program to offer education and training to BIPOC women about natural agriculture, survival, food sovereignty, and carpentry, and community healing.  Gripper is a farmer-in-training at Sankofa Community Farm and a full-time Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Health.

Philly Food Therapy: Joshua Bullock, who runs Farmer’s Keep restaurant in Rittenhouse wants to make people happy and healthy through cooking and food. Joshua says that food has always been a form of therapy. He uses cooking as a salve for anxiety and panic attacks, and to allow him to reconnect with surroundings, including his family. The envisioned “healthy holistic food experience” will help people use healthy ingredients and get physical while creating delicious meals

B.G.H (Brain Gut Heart) Wellness: Jie Bin Chen has been intrigued by the role of food in creating identity and overall wellbeing. As a graduate student at Jefferson, he studies mental health and trauma counseling. His studies have covered the three “brains” that help direct human behavior: the one in your head, your gut and your heart, which led to his idea to combine them into one therapeutic program.

Freedom Greens and Gardens:  During the height of last summer’s pandemic and protests, Jiana Murdic worried that food deliveries were becoming sporadic. She redirected grant funds to make sure neighbors got fresh produce via her Get Fresh Daily boxes — and then realized she could also help them turn the veggies into delicious meals. She launched virtual cooking classes, and also runs an after-school program, spring and summer camps, virtual events focused on plant based cooking, and a support group for Black moms.

The Welcome Spot:  A trio from a small synagogue, Shtiebel, in South Philadelphia opened a little over a year ago, these team envisions bringing millennials together through food, coffee, and religion. Their goal is to create a warm and welcoming environment for people of different faiths to connect, and what better way to do that than through food, they said.

Perhaps its time for us to turn every city and town into a “Well City” in America.