Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


How to Start a Community Garden in Philadelphia

the plan

by Libby J. Goldstein

There's a weedy, nasty vacant lot in your neighborhood. You meet with your neighbors. You've all seen community gardens around town and decide you want one. What do you do next?

  1. Call Neighborhood Gardens Association/ A Philadelphia Land Trust 215-988-8800. Ask for "How to Obtain Permission to Garden on a Neighborhood Vacant Lot". NGA can also help you negotiate a lease with the owner (if necessary) or even acquire the land for yourselves (if you're interested).

  2. Figure out the street address(-es) of the lot by looking at the addresses of the houses around it. You'll need the exact address of the to get on with the process.

  3. Get the owner's permission.

  4. Call Philadelphia Green 215-988-8800. They may be able to help you with things like fencing, soil and tools.

  5. Call Penn State's Urban Gardening Program 215-471-2224. Garden Advisors and Master Gardeners bring you great advice and publications on everything from organizing your gardeners to building fences with recycled lumber.

  6. Write some rules so everyone knows what's expected.

  7. Add organic matter:
    free compost Fairmount Park Recycling Center 215-685-0109,
    mushroom compost (not free) Joe Leo, Inc. 610-444-3892,
    manure: "Carriages-Horse, Riding Academies" in the Yellow Pages

  8. Plant

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Revised June 21, 1999

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture