Philadelphians are not shy about our love-affair with urban farming. From the construction of the first-ever 'Urban Earthship' in West Philly, to last season's WetLand, the "mobile, sculptural habitat and public space" at Spruce Street Harbor Park, to the mere musing that large swaths of North Philly, could, in fact, work really really well as farmland, Philadelphians wield our green thumbs with pride.
Because what we know is this: vacant land is bad for our communities. Urban gardening, doing something useful with vacant land, is a proven boon to our communities. And if sometimes you may think that we're shouting into the abyss, this video from The Washington Post is a timely reminder that in fact, we are not.
The video explores just one of the city's nonprofits actively fighting urban blight by "transforming vacant lots into green spaces and community gardens:" the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
"Once an industrial powerhouse," Alice Li of the Washington Post writes, "Philadelphia is now plagued by more than 40,000 vacant lots. These sites are more than just an eyesore, they're physical proof of an ongoing blight. One nonprofit, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, is trying to change that by transforming vacant lots into green spaces and community gardens."
"This garden's doing more than just one thing," says Charnette "Bunny" Felder, Mantua resident and urban farmer who features in the video.
"Now it's useful space. You're creating relationships, community togetherness."
· Urban Blight: Philadelphia's promising fix [Washington Post]
· Master Plan for 'Semi-Rural' Lower North Philadelphia Might Include Farmland [Curbed Philly]
· First Ever Urban Earthship Coming Soon to West Philadelphia [Curbed Philly]
· WetLand [Official Website]
· The Nay-Sayers Were Right: Land Bank Withdraws First RFP [Curbed Philly]
· The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society [Official Website]