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Thomas Paine Plaza will transform into a big urban farm in 2018

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The PHS-run farm will produce 1,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables

PHS will bring a temporary urban farm to Thomas Paine Plaza, similar to this pop-up garden that was set up at in 2011 at 20th and Market.
Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Goodbye, larger than life Parcheesi pieces, hello 2,000-square-foot urban farm: Next summer, the Thomas Paine Plaza in Center City will be transformed into a large community farm that’s estimated to produce about 1,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) was just awarded a $300,000 grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage to create a “Farm for the City” at Thomas Paine Plaza, across from City Hall. The plaza is well-known for its 20-year-old “Your Move” art installation that features over-sized dominoes, chess and bingo pieces, and other game pieces scattered all over the plaza.

Thomas Paine Plaza in Center City, Philadelphia.
via Flickr/Wally Gobetz

Farm for the City will bring a temporary 2,000-square-foot urban farm to the plaza as way to spotlight food security in the city, where many neighborhoods lack easy access to supermarkets or fresh food. In addition to the actual farm, the site will play host to forums, gardening workshops, and performances throughout the summer and fall of 2018.

Meanwhile, the produce produced from the farm will be donated to Broad Street Ministry, a non-profit organization that serves the homeless. The ministry, which will help tend the garden, says it will also host two community dinners for 150 people using the food grown at the farm.

PHS spokesperson Alan Jaffe says the design is still in the very early stages, so we’ll have to wait a little longer for a preview of Thomas Paine Plaza’s transformation and whether the “Your Move” art installation will remain in place.

Thomas Paine Plaza

1401 John F Kennedy Boulevard, , PA 19102