Overbrook: Farmacy Aims to Bring New Meaning, Access to Healthy Food

In 2017, the Overbrook Environmental Education Center is hopeful of opening the Overbrook Hall Farmacy for Human and Environmental Health Center, or Overbrook Farmacy, at a vacant structure at 6150 Lancaster Ave.

The Overbrook Farmacy is a project guided by the idea that pathways to healthy foods and healthy behaviors are multi-dimensional. This Farmacy, a play on words “pharmacy” and “farmer’s market,” will educate people that access to healthy foods is not simply a function of geographic access, but rather a function of five distinct dimensions of food access: spatiotemporal, economic, social, service delivery and personal. This theory is based on food access studies of low-income populations in the South in 2011.

The center will provide a public venue area that could be offered for educational sessions, rental, a farmer’s market, as well as a commercial kitchen that would demonstrate healthy cooking alternatives, and sell fresh and nutritious retail and prepared food to the community.

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Jerome Shabazz (left), the executive director of Overbrook Environmental Education Center, is the leading coordinator of this project and has partnered with local schools around the area in order to further educate the students through various projects for school.

“We have a very exciting project called aquaponics,” Shabazz said. “It allows us to create a biological process in which fish waste is allowing us the nutritional medium to grow plants.”

The Environmental Education Center is working with three high schools on the project: Carver Engineering and Science, Randolph Vocational and Overbrook.

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“What’s beautiful about this for us is we’re able to engage a variety of schools – some who are strong in biology, others who are stronger in the physical amenities that are necessary, and some who are interested in the environment and the green infrastructure,” Shabazz said.

With the help from the Overbrook Environmental Center as well as the Overbrook Farmacy, Marvin Kingcade, an administrator for the Overbrook Environmental center, said this will help raise awareness of healthier food alternatives and strive to keep the environment clean and sustainable.

– Text, images and video by Hoon Jin

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