By Callista Popp
Did you know that there are more than 300 community gardens and communal growing spaces in neighborhoods across the Greater Philadelphia region? That's a huge number!
The PHS Community Gardens Program is dedicated to ensuring community gardens thrive and provide fresh produce to neighborhoods all over Philadelphia. PHS supports community gardens and grow sites by providing a wide range of resources for community gardeners to help their gardens flourish, including gardening workshops, tool rentals, seedling distributions, and more!
To check which community garden is near you, use this map to learn more about those in the area that are registered with PHS’s Community Gardens Program. Then, read on to learn more about the array of tools and resources PHS offers to support community gardens throughout the growing season.
PHS provides a variety of workshops and events to help community gardeners learn about the best practices in starting and maintaining their gardens.
For groups or individuals just getting started with a community garden, PHS offers our "Garden Tenders" series, a five-part workshop that focuses on the organizational aspects of community gardening, including governance. These programs are tailored specifically to teach the basics of gardening -- from gardening maintenance to finding garden resources within your own neighborhood.
Another educational program geared towards community gardeners and growers is the "Growing Organics" series. These workshops are regularly held in partnership with community-based organizations and are free to attend for all community gardeners. In 2022, PHS restarted the series in March by partnering with SHARE to offer a workshop on greenhouse repair.
This program focuses specifically on people that work with young children. Over a 5-week series, attendees learn the basics of horticulture, gardening, and more to be able to inspire and educate young children in the garden. Participants do not have to be teachers -- this workshop is available to anyone that works with children. Additionally, this workshop will be hosted online, so you do not need to live or work in Philadelphia to attend.
PHS opened the McLean Urban Agriculture Tool Library in 2021. This amazing community gardener resource has everything you need to keep your community garden thriving -- from wheelbarrows and pitchforks to drill bits and jigsaws, and even a cider press for yummy beverages! It is located at Glenwood Green Acres and provides gardens enrolled in PHS’s Community Gardens Program with tool rentals free of charge.
Carolyn, a gardener from the Tioga-Hope Park & Garden, recently used the tool library to rent an auger for her community garden. She shared, “The auger really did the job digging the holes for the posts Saturday. We installed 16 posts around our orchard area and attached a wire fence to it. It looks amazing!”
PHS hosts seedling distributions four times throughout the early spring and late summer months for gardeners participating in City Harvest. Planting seedlings -- instead of seeds -- encourages plants to fully flourish in a community garden. Seedlings give gardeners a head-start on growing new plants, plus they are usually more resistant to harmful insects and other bugs.
There are still 2 remaining seedling distributions for 2022:
Volunteers are needed to help with the upcoming seedling distributions. Sign up today!
Community gardeners not enrolled in the City Harvest initiative can use the online request forms to request seedlings for upcoming distributions. Interested in being a part of City Harvest? Sign up here.
PHS’s Community Gardens Network provides resources for gardens in the Community Gardens Program or gardens that participate in the City Harvest initiative. These gardens grow fresh produce to donate to their communities, local food pantries, and churches to address the inequities of our food system and help fight food insecurity. They have access to seedlings and other necessities to support their gardens.
If you are a member of PHS’s Community Gardens Network, there are online request forms available for your garden to request lumber, soil, volunteers, and other forms of technical support. PHS can also organize volunteer workdays to support your community garden tackle cleanups and other major tasks!
PHS strives to support community gardens to keep them growing and benefiting the neighborhood’s health and well-being for years to come.