Over the past year and a half, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has worked to transform a once-vacant lot at 2500 Reed Street into a community garden.
Volunteers have worked to clear debris from a former warehouse that stood on the lot and bring 400 garden beds to the property. Half of the garden is used for those who grow and sell vegetables to local businesses, while the other half is for the members of the surrounding community to use.
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The South Philly site is a partnership between the lot owner (the nearby Church of the Redeemer Baptist), PHS and the Nationalities Service Center (NSC), which works with refugees resettling in Philadelphia. NSC leases about two-and-a-half acres (of the three-and-a-half acre lot) from the church, and worked with PHS to develop a large community garden there.
“It’s an entire city block and it’s right by the old rail line, so it’s really a wonderful place to have a community garden,” says Nancy Kohn, Director of Garden Programs at PHS. Before NSC and PHS arrived, the long-unused site was full of debris, rubble and stones. Volunteers from Villanova University and various corporate partners pitched in to clear the land and build hundreds of raised garden beds. Now the site has its own water line, a shed and 400 beds.
Interested in reading more about the process of creating this garden? Nationalities Service Center has a blog dedicated to this Growing Homes Garden.