The following post came from our friend (and sister-in-law!) Sarah at The Social Eater. She lives here in the city of Reading and blogs about sustainable, socially-conscious food. We are excited about what she is doing and for the chance to partner with her on this project.

IMAG0653 (1)The world I live in is covered in messes. Tangible and intangible trash overwhelms my senses, and I am tempted to close my eyes to it all.

I won’t, though.

I will get overwhelmed.

I will step away for a while.

But I won’t stop looking for ways to dig my hands into those messes because there are committed groups of people who haven’t stopped, either. There are people who are turning trash into what is beautiful, beneficial, and life-giving.

Some of them, like the inspiring people you will meet at Permacultivate, are doing it quite literally and in our own neighborhoods.

Some of them will compel you to bask in the beauty of what they are doing, soak up the hope, and go away thinking, “maybe I could do that, too.” I say that because that is what happened to me.

During a recent visit, I was able to check out the well-cared-for greenhouse that is home base to Permacultivate. Tilapia swim in tanks that distribute water and fertilizer to nearby floating plants. Worms eat trash that turns into fertilizer. Pots of blooms pop with color, the air thick with moisture and excitement for the circle of life happening within glass walls.

Permacultivate’s Reading Roots Urban Farm is constructed entirely of recycled materials and run on passionate volunteer time. There is no shortage to be done, but curious onlookers like me can visit between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm on Saturdays to ask questions, tour, and explore the grounds.


The Permacultivate team is doing more than turning used materials into beautiful, renewable sources of food. They are offering workshops, field trips, and consultations to local schools so kids can be part of the magic that is happening at the urban farm. They are collaborating with local businesses and organizations to improve the education, aesthetic, nutritional quality in the city of Reading. They are showing up at local events and in local meals.

Want to get involved?

Buy plants and greens at the Penn Street Market on Fridays from 10:30 am- 2:30 pm, order an Urban Salad from Sofrito (the salad mix comes from Permacultivate!), or buy the salad mix during visiting hours on Saturdays.

Volunteer your time, expertise, or money.

Read more about what Permacultivate’s been up to here and how to get involved here.

This article was originally published July 3, 2013 on this page at The Social Eater.

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