United States of America, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia County, Philadelphia
Glenwood Green Acres (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
This 140,000 square-foot community garden site is located at the northern edge of the Susquehanna Greene Countrie Towne, a low-income community in north central Philadelphia. Initiated in 1983 with assistance from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Philadelphia Green program, the garden has been developed by the neighborhood on the former site of a warehouse complex destroyed by fire. By the third season in 1986 between 80 and 90 vegetable plots were flourishing. Two primary coordinators, both retired men, have handled the work in the common area, with the support of several other volunteers. They set up the wire fence, paths, raised beds, sheds, and watering system. The boards used for the raised beds and bricks for the pathways were recycled from a number of buildings being demolished in the area. Philadelphia Green provided fencing, a watering system, gravel, soil, woodchips, a paved driveway, trellis, a patio, plants, and benches. Although the garden was initially focused on vegetables, in 1990 plans were implemented for the East Hill, filled with trees, shrubs, and perennial flowers, set among boulders for dramatic effect. A pergola was erected as the entrance to the hillside garden, and additional plants were donated from exhibits and the Philadelphia Flower Show. In 1992, the commissioner of the Department of Licenses and Inspections entered into an agreement with the gardeners under which he put a caboose from his personal train collection along the back of the garden in exchange for replacement of fencing along two sides of the garden.
The group is well-organized, with elected officers and written by-laws. The gardeners are mostly in their 60s and 70s, while a few younger ones are in their 30s and 40s. Many of the gardeners are former residents of the neighborhood who travel back to Glenwood to work a garden plot each year. The community at large is supportive of the garden, which has won many prizes in the City Gardens Contest. The gate is never locked and visitors are often treated to the harvest and favorite recipes. The gardeners are renowned for their huge feasts in the summer when everyone is welcomed. The gardeners of Glenwood Green Acres have hosted Philadelphia Green workshops on many occasions. A special intergenerational project was conducted there in 1990 introducing youngsters to the heritage of southern agriculture. Demonstration plots of tobacco, cotton, and peanuts are still grown there.
The folder includes a worksheet, narrative description of the garden and its history, and an abbreviated garden plan.