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A Guide to Philly Community Gardens
Lifestyle

A Guide to Philly Community Gardens

Sprouting Roots in Philadelphia

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.

Alfred Austin

Gardening is not just for the suburban or rural folk, our cities offer a way to get your hands dirty on a local scale through community gardens.

It’s a wonderful concept: people of all walks of life, your neighbors and community members, working together in a shared space to grow fresh produce, and perhaps find peace, a new friend, or a shared connection. It’s a rewarding experience anyone can partake in instilling a sense of pride that comes from a nurturing labor of love and patience.

Philadelphia hosts a number of these beautiful green spaces throughout the neighborhoods we live in.

How do Community Gardens work in Philly?

Often a neighborhood association, neighborhood garden trust or land acquisition will take an area of land which are often a previously vacant lot, abandoned space, or even a rooftop and converts it into a garden.

Gardens are taken care of through neighbors who volunteer a certain amount of hours in the communal area to obtain their own individual spot for growing. As a result, the community is often cultivated and friendships blossom. (Pun intended.)

Community gardens have the power to transform a neighborhood by bringing forth those who may not normally interact, people of different backgrounds, together in a positive way creating a connected community.

Benefits of Community Gardens

Philly community garden

Beyond the aesthetic beauty, there’s a whole host of benefits that community gardens provide, including:

  • Increase biodiversity of plants and animals
  • Supply healthy food
  • Improve physical health & reduce stress
  • Improve food security
  • Can reduce neighborhood waste through composting
  • Reduce pesticide exposure
  • Raise property values
  • Live longer
  • Decrease crime rates
  • Providing gardening space to residents who may not have access.

Where are Philly’s Community Gardens?

Some community gardens have been around for years while others just recently established – the variety rich. With over 60+ across Philadelphia, here are 2 maps & a directory of Philadelphia’s community gardens:

The best part, even if you don’t belong to a community garden, you can explore these beautiful spaces! Most are open to the public or have days in which they are.

Another opportunity is the 6th annual community gardens day on June 15th. A few years back, I participated in a fabulous community garden bike tour run by Weaver’s Way and it really showed me the power of community. These spaces are transformative, making a positive impact on people’s lives and neighborhoods. 

Community gardens are an excellent example of how people can come together to transform a forgotten space into something beautiful and thriving. Imagine if we could apply the same concept to all the spaces we interact with on a daily basis, a little love, care, and ownership for our environment could go a long way. 

Interested in gaining the skills to start your own community garden?

PHS has a garden tender course with great resources to get up and running. Find out more info and join here.

Additional local gardening resources:


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Nicole Matthesen
Nicole Matthesen is nature lover, ocean conservation advocate, and ambassador for all things related to living a sustainable lifestyle. If there’s a Philly event related to an environmental sustainability you can expect to find her there. View all posts by Nicole Matthesen
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