Social Entrepreneurship

The term “entrepreneurship” evokes different emotions and brings various scenarios into my mind. On one hand, I view this term through a lens of negative connotation. This lens tells me that entrepreneurs are risky investors, driven solely by the hope of making a profit. Their goals are selfish and do not seeks to improve the lives of anyone other than themselves. This perspective, however, is rather irrational and does not make the most sense. I can’t say I know much about economics, but I do know that one of the driving features of successful entrepreneurship is the concept of supply and demand. For example, let’s say that I were to make a product that I thought was AMAZING, only to find out that no one wants to purchase it. What a waste of time, energy, and money!

Time and time again, we can see how entrepreneurship and stakeholder engagement go hand in hand. Stakeholders are individuals, corporations, and organizations that are affected by or can influence a certain issue; in the same token, they can also be the ones to affect and influence. Entrepreneurship must recognize the sheer importance that stakeholders have in the development and implementation process of innovation, development, and design. When I think of the term “entrepreneurship” in this light, it evokes for me a well thought out innovation with input from various perspectives that can be utilized and improved upon overtime. This is how I define social entrepreneurship: innovating for the benefit of current and future communities to ameliorate a problem.

“Engages neighborhoods in cultivating social entrepreneurship, urban agriculture, and community greening”

Core Values: Caring for the planet, Caring for people, Educating by doing, Staying local, Welcoming everyone, Maintaining transparency, Being groundbreaking

In 1997, Mary Seton Corby and Tom Sereduck founded this community initiative, taking an abandoned lot from a former steel factory and transforming it into the thriving urban farm it is today. This non-profit organization engages the neighborhood and provides fresh produce to underserved and overlooked communities. The original location, Greensgrow Farms, and the second location that opened up in West Philadelphia work together revitalize previously abandoned areas and promote community supported and engaged agriculture.

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One thing that Greensgrow and I have in common is the fact that we both came into being during the same year! Although this organization is relatively young, its growth and impact overtime has been astounding. One year after opening the farm, Corby and Sereduck grew their first exclusive crop hydroponically, collecting $5,000 from this lettuce. This first part of their urban farming initiative aligns with the first component of our definition of sustainability, particularly with its discussion of reducing resource use and restoring the health of natural systems. Hydroponics is a sustainable method for growing crops because it uses only a fraction of the amount of water compared to traditional methods; it’s they can be designed to use ten times less water (Energy in Water, n.d.).

Over the years, Greensgrow Farms has made and effort to incorporate more sustainable methods into their urban farming practice, including Integrated Pest Management (a cat helped scare away lettuce-picking crows) and raised crop beds so growth could occur at brownfield sites. This is especially important in their push to revitalize abandoned spaces. In 2012, the organization sold over $1,000,000 in product, and to present day, it continues to support Philadelphians by growing its community partner network and emphasizing affordability for all. While businesses often focuses on the profit they generate as a measure of success, the inherent values of community, support, and care are emphasizes as well.

Greensgrow Farms is a perfect example of how social entrepreneurship can not only strengthen bonds between community members but also among other community organization. This organization partners with over sixteen other organizations in the Philadelphia area to provide resources and guidance to those who need it. In terms of community support and revitalization, it is important to note that connections exist with various civic associations, community gardens and trusts, and development corporations.

I am drawn to this campaign because of its emphasis on overall support and emphasis on access to affordable foods. With the growing participation in The Snap Box program to being a source of community cohesion, Greensgrow Farms has and will continue to have long-lasting social and economic benefits. It is a perfect example of how social entrepreneurs recognize problems in their communities and innovate for a cause far bigger than themselves.

For more information, visit this webpage!


Energy In Water (n.d.). Case study: Hydroponic systems – a way to save water. Energy In Water. Retrieved from

Greensgrow (n.d.). About US: History. Greensgrow: Growers of food, flowers & neighborhoods. Retrieved from