Neighborhood gardens grow community as much as food. Now there is online tool to help - Generocity Philly

Purpose

Apr. 15, 2019 2:19 pm

Neighborhood gardens grow community as much as food. Now there is online tool to help

Grounded in Philly, relaunched April 11, fosters relationships between community gardeners and municipal authorities while supporting food access and leveraging vacant land policies.

Ebony Griffin.

(Photo by Bobbi Booker)

Correction: We removed information misidentifying the event in the caption of the photo, and updated the website link.  (4/16/19, 4:50 .m.)
Philadelphia’s tradition of community gardening has been part of the city since it’s inception. It’s just the why and the how that have changed.

As communities throughout the region changed and transformed — particularly in the late 20th century with urban renewal projects, the reconfiguration of white flight and the Great Migration relocation of Black and brown people —  the area’s plethora of neighborhood gardens, many that were cultivated on neglected land,  have served as both a cohesive element in the neighborhood and fill in the gaps for the 300,000 Philadelphians who face food insecurity.

The long-term community gardeners who have tilled hundreds of gardens plots in some of the 40,000 vacant lots in the city have received support in their efforts from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Penn State Extension and the Garden Justice Legal Initiative (GJLI), which on April 11 relaunched Grounded in Philly, an online tool that Ebony Griffin, an attorney with the Public Interest Law Center, said is a resource ecosystem for the gardeners.

The Public Interest Law Center founded the GJLI project in 2011 to provide pro bono legal support, advocacy, and policy research for community gardens and urban farmers in Philadelphia’s communities of color, immigrant and refugee communities, and historically disinvested neighborhoods.

Originally launched in 2013, but substantially overhauled since, Grounded in Philly expands on that mission by, according to GJLI spokesperson Jonathan McJunkin, giving communities greater control over the future of their neighborhoods by fostering relationships between community gardeners and municipal authorities while supporting food access and positive vacant land policies.

From our Partners

Screen capture of the revamped Grounded in Philly website. (Courtesy of Bobbi Booker)

That is especially the case, as reported in Grounded in Philly, when community gardeners do not have control over the abandoned land they care for. After years of cultivating the land, those parcels may be targeted for development or other uses.

“[Those gardeners are] able to really go on that website, and get information that they need to help shepherd them through the process,”  Griffin said, “and become the first line of defense for [those] who are trying to figure out what their next step should be.” That will allow staff at Public Interest Law Center to focus less on the issue of who owns any given property, and more on other legal questions that impact their clients, Griffin added.

“The goal of the website is to bring together information and resources from not just here, but from other organizations in the city all in one place,” McJunkin said, “and set up in such a way that you can go on to the site, think about what you want to do, then find the resources that are most relevant.”

“For example,” he said, “we will link to this city tool that allows people to view vacant lots according to the council district they are in.”

Ali Jaffar, founder of Key Medium, a local web design firm with a strong community focus, has led the technical and design side of this update.

“I’ve worked with a couple of organizations that ar, similar to this,” said Jaffar, who himself is an urban gardener. “And, this is a huge opportunity to support the community.”

-30-
LEAVE A COMMENT

From our Partners

On Juneteenth, let’s start to address the separate and unequal treatment of our Black elders

What does allyship look like in the workplace? Join us for a Slack AMA on June 25

Bridging the digital divide: An equity saga

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

On June 17, First Person Arts and EMOC launch a virtual event they hope will shatter misperceptions of men of color

2950 Potshop Road Worcester Pa 19490

Variety – the Children's Charity of the Delaware Valley

Director of Development

Apply Now
Philadelphia

Playworks Education Energized

Development Operations Associate

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

GreenLight Fund

Program Associate, GreenLight Fund Philadelphia

Apply Now

On the market: 20 opportunities to flip the script

Evictions at PATCO encampment show fragile nature of last summer’s Parkway agreement

Delaware County is having a moment. Nonprofits share $2.1M in funding to provide for crucial needs

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

Good food + good people + good cause = good times

West Chester, PA

Friends Association for Care & Protection of Children

Chief Operating Officer

Apply Now
West Chester, PA

Friends Association for Care & Protection of Children

Advancement Associate

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

Fairmount Ventures Inc

Associate

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Generocity