What is the count of farms in Philadelphia?

Travel Destinations

By Kristy Tolley

Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania, is known for its historic landmarks, museums, and bustling city life. However, not many people know that the city is also home to a significant number of farms. These farms play an essential role in providing fresh produce and other agricultural products to the city’s residents. In this article, we will explore the count of farms in Philadelphia, their history, and the various types of farming that take place in the city.

Defining Farms

A farm can be defined as a piece of land that is used for agricultural purposes. Farming involves the cultivation of crops, the raising of livestock, and the production of other agricultural products. Farms can vary in size, from small family-owned plots to large commercial enterprises that cover thousands of acres. Farming can be done using traditional methods, where farmers use manual labor and hand tools, or using modern techniques, which involve the use of machinery and technology.

Farming in Philadelphia

Farming has been a part of Philadelphia’s history since the city’s founding in 1682. The city’s fertile soil and mild climate made it an ideal location for agriculture. Farmers in Philadelphia grew a variety of crops, including wheat, corn, and vegetables. They also raised livestock, such as cattle, pigs, and poultry. However, with the growth of the city’s population and the development of urban areas, farming in Philadelphia began to decline.

History of Farming

The decline of farming in Philadelphia can be traced back to the early 1900s, when urbanization began to take place. As the city’s population grew, more land was needed for housing, commercial development, and infrastructure. Many farms were sold to developers, and farmers were forced to move to suburban areas or switch to other careers. However, in recent years, there has been a renewed interest in farming in Philadelphia, with many residents and organizations working to promote sustainable agriculture.

Census of Farms

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducts a census of farms every five years. The census provides data on the number and size of farms in each state and county. The most recent census, conducted in 2017, shows that there were 1,097 farms in Philadelphia County. These farms covered a total of 5,556 acres of land and had a total market value of $29.8 million.

Count of Farms

While there are over a thousand farms in Philadelphia County, most of them are small-scale operations. In fact, over 70% of the farms in the county are less than 10 acres in size. The majority of these farms are owned and operated by families or individuals, and they produce a variety of crops, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards sustainable and organic farming in Philadelphia. Many farmers are using techniques such as crop rotation, composting, and integrated pest management to reduce their environmental impact and improve the quality of their products. Additionally, there has been an increase in community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs, where residents can purchase shares of a farm’s produce for a season.

Types of Farms

There are several types of farms in Philadelphia, including traditional farms, community gardens, and urban farms. Traditional farms are typically located in rural areas and produce large quantities of crops and livestock. Community gardens are small plots of land that are managed by groups of residents for personal use or donation. Urban farms are located in the city and produce a variety of crops, often using sustainable and organic techniques.

Farming Business

Farming in Philadelphia is not just about producing food; it is also a business. Many farmers sell their products at farmers’ markets, restaurants, and grocery stores. Some also offer educational programs, tours, and events to promote sustainable agriculture and connect with the community.

Urban Farming

Urban farming is a growing trend in Philadelphia, with many residents and organizations working to transform vacant lots and abandoned buildings into productive farms. Urban farms provide fresh produce to urban areas that often lack access to healthy food. They also help to beautify neighborhoods, promote community involvement, and create job opportunities.


Farming may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Philadelphia, but it is an essential part of the city’s history and future. With over a thousand farms producing a wide variety of crops and products, Philadelphia is a hub for sustainable and organic agriculture. As the city continues to grow and change, it is important to support and promote these farms and the farmers who work hard to provide us with fresh, healthy food.


  • United States Department of Agriculture. (2017). 2017 Census of Agriculture. Retrieved from https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/AgCensus/2017/Full_Report/Volume_1,_Chapter_1_US/st99_1_0001_0025.pdf
  • Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. (n.d.). Urban Agriculture. Retrieved from https://www.phila.gov/departments/philadelphia-parks-recreation/what-we-do/urban-agriculture/
  • The Food Trust. (n.d.). Farm to Institution. Retrieved from https://thefoodtrust.org/what-we-do/farm-to-institution/
  • Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. (n.d.). Community Gardens. Retrieved from https://phsonline.org/gardens/community-gardens/
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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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