About Us

Cloud 9 fosters leadership, resilience, and environmental stewardship through youth and community-led food and garden programs. We cultivate sustainable communities where people of all ages grow, learn, and share.

 

Cloud 9 partners with organizations and buildings to design, build, and support the growth of community-led gardens and farms in Philadelphia.

 

Cloud 9 offers community-led design facilitation, project management, training, and community programs.

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Our Programs

Cloud 9 offers workshops, training, and supports the development of community-led food access and garden programs throughout Philadelphia. 

Our Workshops are hosted by a number of partners, including:

  • Mural Arts Philadelphia

  • Friends Rehabilitation Program

  • Free Library of Philadelphia

  • Guild House West

  • Sol Garden Studio

  • Restaurants and Bars

 

Cloud 9 operates a community-led Food Pantry at Guild House West, a 155-unit apartment building for low-income seniors. Distributions are held every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.

 

Cloud 9 conducts weekly maintenance on a series of rain gardens at The Haverford Triangle as part of The Philadelphia Water Department's (PWD) Soak It Up Adoption (SIUA) Program. 

 

Contact us if you'd like to host a workshop or are interested in starting a garden or food access program! 

Our Farms & Gardens

Cloud 9 operates 3 community-led farm and garden programs. Each is developed and managed in partnership with the community the site serves to make sure our work is tailored to meet their needs and goals.

The Urbanstead Farm is located within Francisville Village, a 42-unit housing complex for low-income seniors managed by Community Ventures. Urbanstead grows food for the community, operates a seasonal farm stand, and hosts learning opportunities for people of all ages, and internships for youth and young adults.

 

At Opportunities Towers, a 275-unit apartment building for low-income seniors, Cloud 9 has built a Community Garden with help from YouthBuild student volunteers. 15 gardeners grow produce and flowers in 10 accessible garden beds. 

In West Philadelphia's Belmont neighborhood, Cloud 9 is partnering with Friends Rehabilitation Program, an affordable housing and social service provider, to develop and implement a community-led food production and distribution plan, the Belmont Agrihood Project (BAP). Based on goals established in community meetings, Cloud 9 is helping build backyard garden beds, distribute produce in partnership with Greener Partners,  with the growth of a number of neighborhood gardens, and is preparing to build a greenhouse and develop market opportunities.

Community-led Agriculture

Why Community-led?

Community-led gardens and food access programs benefit the health of ecosystems, communities, and individuals by

Community ownership

Supporting biodiversity in urban environments

Increasing local food production and access

Solutions tailored to community needs and goals

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Our History

Since 2012, Cloud 9 Community Farms (formerly known as Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm) has supported community-led food access and youth gardening leadership programs in Philadelphia. Cloud 9 began as a dream to create beautiful, productive rooftop farms where people build more resilient communities by coming together to grow food, learn from one another, and share the harvest.

In 2020, Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm merged with longtime partner, Urbanstead, to strengthen our programming, organizational capacity, and outreach. The newly reimagined Cloud 9 Community Farms combines the best of Urbanstead’s established youth work with Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm’s community-led gardening and food access programs. Cloud 9 Community Farms is a Philadelphia-based nonprofit with a mission to foster leadership, resilience, and environmental stewardship through youth and community-led food and garden programs.

Cloud 9 works closely with community members to design, build, and grow gardens that meet their needs and build upon their gifts and skills. Our gardens provide food, healing, and spaces for community members to connect with one another and their environment. Currently, Cloud 9 operates a series of rain gardens in West Philadelphia, an urban farm in Francisville, a food pantry, and three community gardens. Our programs support low-income seniors and families, and youth leadership development.

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Our Team

Staff

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Tara Anastasi Executive Director

A free-spirit at heart, Tara has always connected with landscapes and animals. Her love of the outdoors led to a Bachelor's in Environmental Biology from Barnard College/Columbia University, where she worked in the greenhouse and studied Sea Turtle conservation in Mexico. Being grounded allowed her to see how the planet provides all the resources we need to survive and thrive.

 

With a "food is medicine" mindset, she worked on organic farms in Maui, Boston, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco and D.C. She acquired her Master's in Agriculture, Food, and the Environment from Tufts University to gain the formal knowledge to educate, design gardens, and engage communities in their food landscape.

 

Tara also serves as the Landcare and Volunteer Manager at FDR Park for Philadelphia Parks and Recreation.

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Danyell Brent
Farm Director

Danyell is an experienced urban farmer, community organizer, and general contractor. Danyell founded the Friends Garden for Peace and Understanding, served as the community garden manager of Mantua Peace Gardens, and an elected member of the People’s Emergency Center Neighborhood Advisory Committee. Danyell leads Cloud 9’s recovery-focused programs at The Kirkbride Center and Kensington Storefront.

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Andy Kissinger
Program Director

Andy returned home to Pennsylvania after years of working on urban farms in exotic locations like Cleveland and St. Louis. He has been growing with Cloud 9 since 2018. Some of his passions include Japanese turnips, farm cats, and Eagles football.

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Kuan Young
Urbanstead Farm Manager

 Kuan is a Philadelphia native and a Multi dimensional artist. Kuan manages the Urbastead Farm, youth programs, farmstand, and volunteer activities. Kuan Started Gardening with his grandmother when he was young. He has always loved plants and has a great deal of plans to bring more plants to the people. Kuan is also a Vibrational Healer & Co owner of a Wellness studio in Spring Arts Entitled “Sol Garden Studio." Kuan is dedicated to community growth and providing resources to those without access.

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Erik Ildefonzo
Culinary Educator and Communications Manager

Erik has a Bachelor’s in Culinary Arts & Science from Drexel University, and a culinary arts background. Erik has a contagious passion for delicious, healthy, accessible food.

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Shannon Mathews
Development Co-Manager

Shannon managed the Urbanstead Farm and youth programs for 3 years before stepping into her role on the Development team. Shannon brings her depth of experience with the organization and programming to Cloud 9's fundraising efforts.

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Kayla Aughenbaugh
Development Co-Manager

Kayla is an undergraduate at Drexel University studying Geoscience with a minor in Environmental Studies. Kayla has been gardening for most of her life alongside her family and is a creative at heart. In early 2021, she began an internship with Cloud 9 to document, share, and seek funding for community-led farming, educational programming, and food access efforts. 

Board of Directors

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Cathy Davies
President 
Food Safety Mid-Atlantic

Cathy Davies. Ph.D.  runs a food safety consultancy, Food Safety Mid Atlantic, which she started to support small and mid sized businesses with food safety and product development. She helps clients develop robust food safety programs and scale up their businesses while maintaining integrity with their values. Her goal is to support her clients so they make food at cost that is safe, tasty  and compliant with federal, state, and local regulations. 

Additionally, Cathy is writing a book, Food Science and Food Systems: A Need for Change. The goal of this book is to bridge the gap between food scientists and people working to strengthen the food system. This is necessary if we want a more resilient and equitable food system.

Originally from Birmingham England, she moved to the US in 1995 and became a US citizen in 2008. She now lives in South NJ and enjoys walking in nature, knitting, spindle spinning and music when not thinking about food.

Cathy’s life purpose is to create, build and support a food system that is safe, resilient, equitable, and healthy.

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Tony Piazza
Vice President of Strategy & Chief Information Officer
Applied Frameworks

Tony Piazza serves on Cloud 9's board as Vice President of Strategy and Chief Information Officer, bringing 2 decades of professional experience in technology management and organizational change, and nearly 3 decades of community volunteer experience to help advance Cloud 9's mission. Tony was previously a board officer at Urbanstead and helped design the bylaws and framework for that organization's merger into Cloud 9.

 

Tony is a Senior Consultant at Applied Frameworks, a management consulting firm that provides product management, business agility, and technology profitability generation services to enterprises. Tony's degrees are from Ball State University, where he is chair of the advisory board and member of the Alumni Hall of Fame of the University's Center for Information and Communication Sciences. Tony is an advisor to Heroes Meeting Heroes, a veteran-led non-profit organization that provides entertainment and community reintegration services to Iraq and Afghanistan US service veterans.

 

Tony lives in Radnor Township with his wife, Elizabeth, and children: Molly, Maggie, and Harrison.

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Isabelle Coupet
Treasurer & Board-Staff Liaison 
Green Building United

Isabelle (she/her) came to Cloud 9 Community Farms as a Development Assistant through Drexel University's Co-op program, working with Cloud 9's staff's daily gardening and outreach efforts. She now serves as the Board Treasurer.

 

Isabelle is passionate about Cloud 9's mission and commitment to providing green space, education, and food to people in Philadelphia. She is currently studying engineering at Drexel University and offers program management assistance for the sustainability organization Green Building United.

Rania Campbell-Bussiere 
Executive Director

Friends Rehabilitation Program

Brenda Tucker
Advisor

Guild House West 
Food Pantry Manager

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Tara Anastasi
Executive Director
FDR Park

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Maeve Pollack
Secretary 
Friends of the Wissahickon

Maeve was introduced to Cloud 9 Community Farms through Young Involved Philadelphia's (YIP) Board Prep Program and currently serves as the Secretary of Cloud 9's Board. 

 

Maeve is passionate about equitable access to green spaces in cities and enjoys gardening and eating fresh foods. With a background in fundraising, communications, and event management for non-profit organizations, she is excited to contribute to the continued growth of Cloud 9.

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Brenda Tucker
Advisor
Guild House West 

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Monisha Ravi
Vice President - At Large
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A free-spirit at heart, Tara has always connected with landscapes and animals. Her love of the outdoors led to a Bachelor's in Environmental Biology from Barnard College/Columbia University, where she worked in the greenhouse and studied Sea Turtle conservation in Mexico. Being grounded allowed her to see how the planet provides all the resources we need to survive and thrive.

 

With a "food is medicine" mindset, she worked on organic farms in Maui, Boston, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco and D.C. She acquired her Master's in Agriculture, Food, and the Environment from Tufts University to gain the formal knowledge to educate, design gardens, and engage communities in their food landscape.

 

Tara also serves as the Landcare and Volunteer Manager at FDR Park for Philadelphia Parks and Recreation.