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Ash Richards

Ash Richards is the Urban Agriculture Director at Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, managing the Farm Philly Program and the City’s first Urban Agriculture Plan, Growing from the Root. Ash earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Pennsylvania in City and Regional Planning and has an educational background in geography and agroecology. They have served as a member of the Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council (FPAC) since 2013 and as the co-chair of the FPAC Urban Agriculture Sub-Committee since 2016.

Ash Richards received the SustainPHL #FuturePHL award in 2019.  Then in 2023, Ash was honored for advancing sustainable agriculture through innovation and collaboration by receiving a Pasabilities Award. Pasa Sustainable Agriculture is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to cultivate environmentally sound, economically viable, community-focused farms and food systems.

“Ash Richards led a democratic- and community-minded process to create the Urban Ag Strategic Plan that is not only an invaluable roadmap for Philadelphia but is a needed resource to many other aligned organizations. Pasa among them, these organizations and the people they serve benefit from the plan’s ability to address challenges and support urban growers and organizations in forwarding substantive change to historically inequitable systems.”

Pasa board member Jessica Moore

They have been a panelist at FITCITY PHL’s Design and the Opioid Crisis Conference (2018), a presenter at the American Planning Association (APA) Conference: Comprehensive Planning and Green
Stormwater Infrastructure (2018), a panelist at the Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange (GPLEX) Conference: Comprehensive Redevelopment in North Philadelphia (2017), and a panelist at the Philadelphia Free Library’s 21st Century Literacies Conference: Crossing the Food Desert Session (2016) to name a few recent appearances.

Richards’ work supports the self-reliance and determination of residents to grow and produce their own food and sits at the nexus of policy, planning, public services/goods and civic engagement.

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