A Little Taste of Everything (ALTOE) is a non-profit agency
whose mission is to increase access to nutritious, affordable
foods and provide food system education for low-income
populations in Philadelphia. ALTOE grew out of a youth-driven
project at University City High School (UCHS) in conjunction
with the Urban Nutrition Initiative (UNI) and received its non-profit status in 2005. ALTOE evolved from previous efforts to improve food security in West Philadelphia communities through school gardens and farmers’ markets.
ALTOE’s mission is put into action through the Mill Creek Farm (MCF), an educational urban farm project. The Mill Creek Farm (MCF) is located at 4901 Brown Street in the Mill Creek Neighborhood of West Philadelphia. The Mill Creek runs under the land we work on and was enclosed in a sewer 100 years ago. Housing was built on fill that was not stable for the foundations and began to subside. It was eventually torn down in the 1970s. Since that time there has been a community garden on the western portion of the block, but the eastern portion sat vacant except for trash and weeds until 2005.
In August 2005, the Philadelphia Water Department awarded ALTOE 1.5 acres of vacant land, at 49th and Brown Streets in the Mill Creek Neighborhood of West Philadelphia, on which to start the project. Initial funding for MCF came from Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener Grant for Stormwater Management and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). The Mill Creek Farm had a successful first season in 2006, and has continued to grow and progress as a model for local food system development and sustainability education in succeeding years.