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Community Garden

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NEWS
June 23, 1986 | By EDWARD MORAN, Daily News Staff Writer
Some Sunday mornings in the growing season at 33rd and Race streets, the atmosphere takes on the aspect of a revival meeting. Gospel music and the exhortations of preachers fill the air from small radios. Men, women and children in work clothes fuss around the green sprouts of plants that might seem more at home in the soil of South Jersey than the dirt of a vacant lot in Powelton Village. And there is a revival going on. At 33rd and Race, what had once been a debris-strewn lot, like so many similar and equally useless eyesores that intrude upon the city's rowhouse neighborhoods, has been revived into a fertile and productive truck farm.
NEWS
August 15, 1993 | By Jane G. Pepper, FOR THE INQUIRER
"Every inch you dig," says Meredith Nix, "you find yet another brick, but that's just about what you'd expect if you garden on the site of an old hotel. " After watching the pleasure that her friend in Trenton reaped from participating in a community garden, Nix, who works for a Center City real estate developer, determined that she, too, was ready to search for a piece of land on which to garden. Nix's garden is a narrow slice of Philadelphia land, and this year, its second in production, there are 15 families gardening there.
NEWS
July 26, 1990 | By Pamela Stock, Special to The Inquirer
No address is listed in the phone book, and, because of past thefts of vegetables, fruits and tools, members don't freely disclose the location. But the scent of strawberries and blooming flowers is bound to draw visitors in Bryn Athyn to a flourishing community garden. Since 1945, when the Council of Defense encouraged families to plant "victory gardens" to save money, the popularity of community gardens has wavered. In 1974, however, community gardens were given fresh encouragement in Pennsylvania, when Gov. Milton J. Shapp proposed a plan to turn over unused state land to the elderly and low-income families.
NEWS
May 16, 2012 | By Valerie Russ, Daily News Staff Writer
A COMMUNITY GROUP that has gardened on vacant lots in Grays Ferry for 60 years won court approval on Tuesday to halt the sheriff sale of two lots that were scheduled to be sold Wednesday. "This is a real victory for the community," said Amy Laura Cahn, a lawyer who represents the Central Club for Boys and Girls. Cahn said Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker ordered the sale postponed for six months. During that time, Cahn said, the Central Club hopes to get approval of its tax-exempt status from the city Office of Property Assessment.
NEWS
May 26, 1999 | by Nicole Weisensee, Daily News Staff Writer
Alta Felton learned a lesson yesterday. She learned that no matter how many hoodlums destroy what you care about, there will always be people out there who will help you rebuild. "I look at it another way today - that if you're in need and down and out and if someone sees that need and sees you're trying, they'll try to help," said the 86-year-old South Philadelphia woman. "That's what I saw today. It really enlightened me a lot. " She had a far different attitude on Sunday morning when she awoke to find that vandals had once again torn through her beloved garden at 25th and Dickinson streets and ransacked it. But after the Daily News ran a story about her plight yesterday, offers of help poured into her rowhouse on Taylor Street near Dickinson, which backs up to the large urban garden she founded 20 years ago and still oversees.
NEWS
August 13, 2000 | By Kelly Wolfe, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
The children found the softening cucumber lying on the ground beneath a bean bush and took it to their leader for inspection. Dave Johnson, facilities coordinator at the Brandywine Valley Association on Route 842, took the vegetable in both hands and pulled it in two. "What we have here is a cucumber . . . that has rotted!" Little hands clapped over eyes, faces and mouths as yellow, pungent liquid poured out of the cucumber and streamed over Johnson's hands and onto the ground.
NEWS
January 12, 2011 | By Karen Heller, Inquirer Columnist
Mother Earth has come undone. Vanoka Morris-Smith, known by that moniker among her young charges, is crying. She never cries. A deep crater of red dirt, two lots wide, has rent the award-winning children's garden at 30th and Berks. "I would rather go through FBI questioning than try to tell my children why their garden is being torn up," she says. For nearly a decade, students from Blaine School tended the garden across the street to learn about plants, food production, and seed propagation.
NEWS
September 11, 2012 | BY MORGAN ZALOT, Daily News Staff Writer
ON A SWELTERING, sunlit summer afternoon, Vincent Kennedy marched through the community garden at the end of his North Philadelphia block, proudly showing off crops that he cares for. "We had corn, but it went fast," Kennedy, 53, said, nimbly stepping around beds of flourishing plants that brighten the corner at 27th and Silver streets. "The only rule of the garden is, you can come get as much as you want, as long as you leave some for the next person. " Kennedy and his neighbors say that their block - historically plagued with drug activity and violence - has gotten better since the PhillyRising Collaborative started work in the neighborhood last fall, targeting the area from 22nd Street west to 27th, and Lehigh Avenue north to Indiana.
FOOD
May 5, 1993 | By Marilynn Marter, INQUIRER FOOD WRITER
The lure of the soil and of nature brought people from all walks of life - and from all over the city and suburbs - to the Benjamin Rush Gardens in the Far Northeast the other weekend. They came to plant their own vegetables and herbs, which they will tend throughout the summer, and harvest. Russell Fama, a retired barber with a penchant for painting and gardening, has traveled to Rush from 11th and Mifflin Streets in South Philadelphia every summer for 18 years. Seventy-year-old Lera Moses drives from her home in West Philadelphia to maintain a garden at Rush.
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NEWS
December 6, 2015 | BY DAN GERINGER, Daily News Staff Writer geringd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5961
PAT WALDER, who has lived on her East Kensington block for 50 years, was delighted when the Arcadia Commons community association bought two vacant lots last year, removed the trash, built concrete raised garden beds and created a green mini-park for neighborhood families. But last month, Walder woke up one morning to discover that a developer, excavating a foundation on the adjacent lot, had crossed the property line, dug deep into Arcadia Commons, undermined one of its raised concrete garden beds and left that bed half-suspended over the edge of the pit. Walder, 70, who has "watched over my neighborhood for decades," was angry that an illegal excavation turned the kids' park on Kern Street near Huntingdon into a kids' hazard.
NEWS
June 26, 2015 | BY ANNIE PALMER, Daily News Staff Writer palmera@phillynews.com, 215-854-5927
IT WAS 2011. Outside City Hall were rows of tents where many flavors of political persuasion could be found - anarchists, communists, Democratic socialists, libertarians. This was Occupy Philadelphia, or, as Dusty Hinz remembers it, a "great coming-out party for the general left. " Amid the monthslong protests, a splinter group of twentysomethings formed with a plan to sustain the protests' energy in a way that would bring real change to city neighborhoods. Dubbed Occupy Vacant Land, the group of guerrilla gardeners squatted on dozens of vacant, garbage-strewn properties.
NEWS
April 27, 2015 | By Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Writer
A chilly Saturday did little to stop the march of progress at Bryn Gweled Homesteads in Upper Southampton. There was a crowd at the tai chi class in the community center. Upstairs, Bill Dockhorn, his wife, Carol Wengert, and Jerry Smith sifted through 75 years of documents. Bart DeCorte worked in the community garden. Louise Kidder was off to her kitchen to make sourdough bread to be served later with jam made from the 60 quarts of blueberries her husband, Bob, picks each year in their yard.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 10, 2015 | By Virginia A. Smith, Inquirer Staff Writer
Nic Esposito is at once a romantic and a realist, and both inform his passions: farming, telling stories, and advocating for fresh, local food for all. Now, with Kensington Homestead , his second book and first attempt at nonfiction, Esposito, 32, is emerging as a literary voice for the wildly vibrant farm community in Philadelphia. His 14-essay collection chronicles the joys and frustrations of growing crops in uber-urban East Kensington, where the forces of gentrification press relentlessly through the swirl of entrenched poverty.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 25, 2014 | By Inga Saffron, Inquirer Architecture Critic
Four decades after settling in West Philadelphia, John Lindsay still speaks bluntly in the Yankee rhythms of his native Boston. After he got wind that a developer was eyeing his community garden at Powelton Avenue and Wiota Street, Lindsay responded by erecting a small billboard under one of his ornamental pear trees. "Jannie Blackwell wants 12 houses built here," it declares. For good measure, he includes a link to his "Save the Wiota St. Garden" Facebook page. The story is a bit more complex than his message suggests, but there is no doubt Lindsay's sign calling out Blackwell, West Philadelphia's powerful Council rep, distills the painful choice being confronted by comeback neighborhoods around the city: gardens or housing?
NEWS
October 5, 2014 | By Jason Laughlin, Inquirer Staff Writer
Tears trickled from Rashida Ali-Campbell's eyes Friday morning as she watched volunteers turn old tires and empty beer cans into a haven for the have-nots in her West Philadelphia neighborhood. "Have you ever wanted something so much?" she asked. "So many people are helping make this dream come true. This is what I have prayed for. " Tires stuffed with hundreds of pounds of dirt will form walls. Old oven doors will serve as roof shingles. When she is done with what used to be a warehouse at 675 N. 41st Street, it will be a studio with a garden adorned with fruit trees and vegetables.
NEWS
July 11, 2014 | By Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writer
Among the favorite tokens that the Rev. William "Jud" Weiksnar will take with him from his time in Camden is a collage of a small girl standing atop a mound of grass, created with shattered glass and litter cleared from Von Nieda Park. The "trash art" was one of the few remaining items in Weiksnar's parish office Tuesday as he packed up to move after nine years as pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church. The image, created seven years ago by then-third grade student Soledad Velazquez, shows the girl and a godlike figure holding hands beneath an apple tree.
NEWS
June 2, 2014 | By Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer
It was a grand and glorious funeral, one that drew hundreds of people onto the streets to honor not a person but a house. There were tears, more than a couple. But also joy, and music and memories, all in celebration of 3711 Melon Street in West Philadelphia. The house began life 142 years ago as a stack of bricks and lumber, and was set to end it on Saturday as a dusty pile of the same, after a ritual demolition. The empty, abandoned home, its roof failing and back wall bulging, was the centerpiece of "Funeral for a Home," an arts project that paid tribute to one home as a way to recognize them all - in a city where demolitions have become commonplace.
NEWS
April 28, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
TILLING THE SOIL at a new community garden for Bhutanese refugees in Northeast Philadelphia yesterday, Meena Dhimal smiled as she raked the land. She said she would grow hot chile peppers and potatoes. Dhimal, 27, and several other Bhutanese refugees of Nepali descent broke ground yesterday at a new community garden - a project of HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) Pennsylvania - on the property of All Saints Episcopal Church, at Loney and Frontenac streets in Rhawnhurst. "This is really an opportunity for them to bring their home culture to their new lives here in Philadelphia" said Sarah Amazeen, director of refugee programming and planning at HIAS, one of Philadelphia's three refugee-resettlement agencies.
NEWS
April 21, 2014 | By Inga Saffron, Inquirer Architecture Critic
Usually when neighbors and developers lock horns over a project design, things turn ugly and stay ugly. There's a happier ending for One Riverside, a high-rise that Carl Dranoff plans to build on the Schuylkill next to the popular riverfront trail. First proposed last summer, the project at 25th and Locust has undergone a major redesign at the insistence of neighbors, who bitterly objected to the design - and even to the tower's very existence. Now the blank walls on the ground floor are gone.
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