United States of America, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia County, Philadelphia
Las Parcelas (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
This 6,468 square-foot garden was begun on vacant land in the Kensington section of Philadelphia by the Norris Square Neighborhood Project (NSNP), with assistance from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in what was a drug-infested neighborhood. The garden's name, Las Parcelas, refers to the unique combination of more than 40 attractive plots, or parcels, each with its own special feature. Wood-trimmed beds contain vegetables, flowers, and herbs. Neighbors built "La Casita" (the little house), a reproduction of housing that existed in Puerto Rico before World War II that with its kitchen is a tool to teach children about traditional ways of living. Market stands enable the sale of produce from the garden, while an "environmental park" includes many trees and shrubs. Brightly painted garden structures (including "La Casita"), furnishings, and murals enliven the scene. Las Parcelas is the result of the determined and cooperative nature of the entire community.
Las Parcelas is only one of many community greening projects in Norris Square Greene Countrie Towne which dramatize the efforts of the entire neighborhood. Neighborhood leadership has formed a group of community garden activists known as Groupo Motivos to help maintain gardens, parks and street trees for the good of the community. All ages are represented in the garden, with the dominant group being in their late 40's and 50's. Heavy youth involvement in the garden comes from close association with the youth programs of NSNP. In addition to Philadelphia Green and NSNP, Las Parcelas has benefitted from the Weed and Seed Program of the Department of Justice, which aids in taking back neighborhoods from drug dealers. NSNP also coordinates programs with Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania State University, and four other state universities that give voluntary support to the garden. All of this activity is directly facilitated by NSNP.
The folders include worksheets, detailed descriptions of the garden and its history and evolution, garden plans, and other information.