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Music Inspires Healthy Eating at the Fairhill Square Park Farmers’ Market

July 31, 2013

tune upThe sounds of classical music and the scents of fresh fruits and vegetables filled the air of Fairhill Square Park Farmers’ Market on Tuesday, July 9th. Young, aspiring musicians captivated 40 Hartranft residents at Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s Tune Up Philly’s first performance – the first of many to draw attention to a local healthy eating initiative.

“The performances allow for community engagement and social change,” said Paul Smith, Assistant Director of Tune Up Philly.  “The students are able to involve their families and the greater community. Those in attendance are inspired by the music.”

Working with Philadelphia LISC, Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM) and The Food Trust, Tune Up Philly combines cultural programming with a local farmers’ market to build a healthier community. The result of the collaboration led to a sixfold increase in farmers market sales at Fairhill Square Park in 2013, compared to the 2012 season.

Tune Up Philly’s programming and supplemental workshops are designed to introduce youth to classical music. Since its launch in 2010, the program has been serving at-risk students in Philadelphia’s most vulnerable neighborhoods through an educational outreach program based on classical music instruction.

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Tune Up Philly engages students through workshops which educate children in the mastery of valuable skills such as cooperative learning, teamwork, and self-esteem, through the experience of music. By organizing students into smaller groups, instructors can better guide them in the fundamentals of instruments; in return, the students receive individualized attention and exposure to classical music. Following completion of the workshops, students demonstrate their new talents at performances like those hosted at the farmers’ market every first Tuesday of the month through October.

“It doesn’t take a huge endeavor to make an artistic impact on children,” added Smith. “It can be done on a smaller scope and still fill the emotional gap in the community.”


Through the performances held at the Fairhill Square Park Farmers’ Market, Tune Up Philly attracts residents to arts and culture while promoting healthy lifestyles – which is one of the goals of the Eastern North Philadelphia community’s Quality of Life plan.  This plan, developed as part of the Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI), with support from LISC, is designed to better coordinate comprehensive development efforts in the area.  Comprehensive — or sustainable — development takes a holistic approach to community building, which considers not just real estate but other resident issues, such as job training, financial literacy, and clean and safe streets.

LISC and APM, along with other neighborhood stakeholders have developed the Healthy Communities Initiative (HCI), to coordinate and develop place-based strategies to positively impact health outcomes in the neighborhood. HCI offers an opportunity to build on the strength of such health programs like the Food Trust’s Fairhill Square Park Farmers’ Market, connecting community engagement strategies to measureable improvements in the health of the neighborhood.  Specifically, HCI aspires to reduce levels of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension among area residents.

The next Tune Up Philly performance is Tuesday, August 6th at 3:00 p.m.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Synitha Brown-waters permalink
    September 4, 2013 12:11 am

    Thank-You to Tune-Up Philly for all your support and effort during your valuable time @ Hartranft Elementary School.

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