We want to start this post by once again thanking the overwhelming number of organizations and individuals that have decided to make even greater investments in the circular economy by joining Circular Philadelphia. For a full list of our founding members as well as to learn how you can become a member, please visit our Membership Page.
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To show our appreciation for our existing members and to entice people who have not yet become members, we have planned our first members-only meeting for Oct. 24th at FDR Park. Although there will be the serious and important business of presenting on the work that Circular Philadelphia has accomplished in the past few months, introducing our board and opening the floor to our members to provide input on the strategic direction for the next six months, we recognize that we also need to mix it up.
So in the unique fashion that we hope comes to define Circular Philadelphia, we’re here not just to work tirelessly to create a circular economy in Philly, but to have a lot of fun while doing it. Being that we have access to the wonderful grounds of what have come to be known as the South Philly Meadows in FDR Park, we’re taking full advantage of this beautiful space for the first hour of our members meeting by laying out a series of lawn games that will also act as stations to add your input on our strategic direction.
Chip a few golf balls and let us know how we can continue getting our message out to the widest and most diverse audience across Philadelphia. Play some badminton and tell us how we can improve circularity in the built environment. You get the picture.
Of course, planning something this fun takes a bit of coordination. So last week we toured the site with FDR Park Manager Justin DiBerardinis to lay out exactly how these games would work. While walking around the grounds, we could not help but be completely taken with the beautiful plantings that welcomed visitors as they approached the meadows.
As a former Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (PPR) employee, Circular Philadelphia’s Director of Policy and Engagement Nic Esposito knew how tough it is to procure and maintain plantings this extensive in a park setting. So, Nic asked Justin, “How did you pull this off?” He casually looked at Nic with a smile and responded, “These are all left over plants from the Flower Show. I guess that fits with what Circular Philadelphia is all about.”
This sparked Circular Philadelphia’s Director of Operations and Programming Samantha Wittchen to confirm, “Yes, exactly, that’s circularity in action!”
As anyone who has attended the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society’s (PHS) annual Flower Show has experienced, the Convention Center becomes completely transformed in the final days of winter to create a lush and beautiful expanse of flowers and garden design. As magical as this is, and as much as PHS touts, “thousands of items from the Philadelphia Flower Show such as plants and exhibit infrastructure are re-purposed or donated to organizations and community groups throughout the Philadelphia region,” it’s still a feat to get all of those plants from the Convention Center and into the ground in the beginning of March in Philly.
So not only did PHS benefit from moving the show to June in the beautiful outdoor setting of FDR Park, both PPR and PHS also capitalized on the opportunity to put circularity in practice by using those excess plants to directly benefit the landscape where the show was produced.
As Sam Lemheney, PHS Chief of Shows & Events, said, “PHS is thrilled that the Philadelphia Flower Show could contribute to the beautification and enhancement of one of the city’s most beloved parks. We are so happy that we can offer such a great array of items to support the work of our partners at Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Friends of FDR Park, and the local South Philadelphia community who helped to make the 2021 Show a success.”
The proceeds from the Flower Show help PHS green 12,000 vacant lots in Philly, provide 250,000 seedlings to community gardens in the region, operate a tool library for gardeners and train dozens of returning citizens in landscaping. To be able to have that social and financial impact while also utilizing circular principles is the exact type of market transformation that Circular Philadelphia hopes to see throughout the region in the next few years.
A big part of Circular Philadelphia’s mission is not just about driving the growth of new economic systems or circular businesses, but to also get people to identify ways they are already practicing circularity. So we could not be happier that our members meeting is in such a welcoming and forward thinking—not to mention beautiful—place. And we’re super excited to learn that the Flower Show is returning to FDR from June 11th-19th 2022 with the appropriate theme “In Full Bloom.”
We’re sure that the circular economy in Philly will also be in full bloom by June, and it all starts with you becoming a member. Sign up today, and we’ll see you at the South Philly Meadows in FDR Park on Oct. 24th!
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