Community Gardens Day

Community Gardens DayPhoto by Jeff Stroud, Nature Spirit Photography

WHEN:     SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 10 A.M. TO 3 P.M.

WHERE:   BEL ARBOR COMMUNITY GARDEN,  10th & Kimball Sts., South Philadelphia

WHAT:   The newly revitalized Neighborhood Gardens Trust is kicking off the summer season with the first citywide Community Gardens Day! Participating gardens of NGT and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, as well as others throughout Philadelphia, will celebrate with a variety of family-friendly activities. Gardeners and garden lovers of all ages can join in garden tours, hands-on garden workdays, arts and crafts projects, and opportunities to enjoy the city’s beautiful community gardens and learn more about gardening. A perfect way to celebrate the first day of summer!

The event at Bel Arbor will launch the festivities with noted guests and the reading of a Mayoral Proclamation announcing Philadelphia’s inaugural Community Gardens Day.   Check www.ngtrust.org for the up-to-date map of the 30 participating gardens, many of which are protected from development by NGT, whose mission is to acquire and preserve community gardens and shared open space in order to enhance the quality of life in Philadelphia neighborhoods. With 42 million Americans growing their own food in home and community gardens, residents and visitors to Philadelphia can experience how community gardens enhance the quality of life in their neighborhoods, provide healthy food for everyone, and help the environment.

WHO:

  • Margaret McCarvill, Board President, Neighborhood Gardens Trust
  • Mark Focht, First Deputy Commissioner, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
  • Drew Becher, President, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
  • Councilman Mark Squilla, First District
  • Carla Puppin, NGT Board Member, Bel Arbor Garden Representative & Co-Founder

Additional Photo and Video Ops:    Visit the Strawberry Mansion Green Resource Center for a workshop on composting.  (link to: http://ngtrust.org/index.php/2014/01/18/strawberry-mansion-grc/)

The Strawberry Mansion Green Resource Center is located on Ridge Avenue at Natrona Street. The lots that make up the site are leased from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and contain 31 community beds and 15 beds for students at the Strawberry Mansion High School across the street. The site acts as a Green Resource Center for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, one of five spaces that support neighbors and other urban farmers in growing fresh, healthy food and creating a more beautiful city landscape.

Drop by the Spooky Gardens (http://ngtrust.org/index.php/2014/01/18/spooky-garden/) to check out the “community backyard” and complete an arts & crafts activity.

The Spooky Garden, located on two lots that stretch from North Fourth Street to North Leithgow Street, between George Street and Girard Avenue, acts as a “community backyard” for the nearby residents. Like many city gardens, the lots that compose the Spooky Garden were a former dumping ground that the surrounding neighbors cleaned up more than 20 years ago. The yard hosts community vegetable, herb & flower gardens, trees (including a magnificent elm that is estimated to be over 75 years old), shrubs, a community composter, sitting areas and a small open lawn.

The 2,000-square-foot space has seven distinct mixed-use growing plots, and currently serves 11 member households (18 adults and eight children). While some members follow a traditional community garden approach, focusing on growing vegetables, herb and flowers, others use the yard primarily as a gathering space to socialize with and get to know their neighbors, and some see it as a safe place for their young children to play and learn about nature. This wide range of uses makes the Spooky Garden unique among community gardens in the city and enables it to meet the needs of a diverse group of neighbors.

Since the clean-up years ago, neighbors tried all avenues available to preserve these lots as open community green space. When the lots were listed as “For Sale By Owner” in a craigslist auction in January 2011 without any posting or notice to adjacent neighbors, a powerful wave of community support and network news coverage got the attention of Councilman Darrell Clarke. After visiting the garden and meeting with neighbors, Clarke expressed his approval of and support for the community’s efforts by removing the properties from the auction block and securing the current license agreement between the city and NGT.

The name Spooky Garden is inspired by the garden’s annual Halloween celebration, which attracts hundreds of Philadelphians from across the city.

Help finish a mosaic art project at Hicks Street Garden (http://ngtrust.org/index.php/2014/01/18/hicks-street-garden/).

Hicks Street Garden is located on South Hicks Street between Moore and Mifflin. The garden was founded and preserved in 2007. More than 20 gardeners, including young children, cultivate primarily ornamental plants in this single-lot garden. The lot is located on a small street in South Philadelphia where increasing development pressure has created demand for open space. The garden provides an opportunity to restore the quality of life for residents and make the entire neighborhood safer. In addition to planting, the gardeners have been developing a wall mural engaging children and families as it evolves to completion.

Hear the AMLA Youth Latin Jazz Ensemble performing at 11 AM at the NET Garden at 4404 N. 5th Street as part of Make Music Philly,  AND MUCH MORE!! 

Through its ongoing programs and special projects, AMLA promotes the development, dissemination, and understanding of Latin music in the Philadelphia area and beyond.

AMLA’s programs are directed mainly to Latino youth, families, and community members, but are open to all students, families, musicians, dancers, and aficionados of Latin American music and culture. By teaching and inspiring love for and disciplined knowledge of Latin music and dance, AMLA helps build bridges between frequently divided racial and ethnic communities. AMLA, like its partner organization Esperanza, believes that strong engagement in culture strengthens community.

Community Gardens Day is made possible through the generosity of its sponsors: Chanticleer, Mostardi Nursery, Whole Foods Market-South Street, Urban Jungle, and Valley Green Bank.

Gardens

The Neighborhood Gardens Trust acquires and preserves community gardens and shared open space in order to enhance the quality of life in Philadelphia neighborhoods. Over the past two years, NGT has re-examined its mission and gone through an organizational renaissance that has led to new vision for the future. Now, with a new board of directors and a recently completed strategic business plan in place, NGT seeks to re-introduce itself to the Philadelphia region and establish itself as the city’s leading non-profit community land trust.

Media contacts: Alan Jaffe, PHS, 215.988.8833, (m) 267.968.0859ajaffe@pennhort.org or Nina Zucker Assoc at 610.457.4387 or nzapr@aol.com.

Photo by Jeff StroudNature Spirit Photography

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