Sustainable Urban Development: Addressing Hunger in Philadelphia

By: Sydney Fiorentino

Believe it or not, hunger exists in America. Yes, in 2011 there are Americans who unsure of their next meal. Who lose sleep over not being able to feed their families. And hunger doesn’t look like rail-thin men and women searching desperately for scraps of food; hunger in America can look like obesity. Cities across the country are plagued with hungry Americans. The city of Philadelphia is no exception.

In Philadelphia, 1 in 4 residents are at risk for hunger. The Haddington section of Philadelphia is one of the city’s most under-served neighborhoods, and food availability and hunger are growing issues for this community. A majority of its residents live below the poverty line: 27.3% of families and 36% of single mothers are all struggling to survive. These families cannot necessarily afford the cost of nutritious fruits and vegetables and/or don’t have the access to purchase them. They instead are choosing less expensive and less healthy food options.

But there is hope. Recently, Sustainable Urban Development (SUD), a local non-profit organization, is working to combat the issue of hunger in Philadelphia. They opened the 59th Street Community Garden, which is located in Haddington. SUD hopes produce over 3,600 meals for local families this summer through this garden. They also are hoping to teach and train community members to grow and cook their own wholesome meals.

Fighting hunger is one of the several goals of Sustainable Urban Development. As part of their “F.A.T.E” program—created by Founder Laura Thornton–initiatives relating to urban farming, affordable housing, training of jobs, and early childhood education help improve the quality of life in Philadelphia neighborhoods like Haddington.

SUD is always looking for donations—whether those donations are time, expertise, property, or money. Any little bit helps, and we appreciate all of it. To learn how you can help, please visit

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