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Community Gardens Yield More than Just Produce

Tuesday, April 23, 2013
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My budding garden plot. Photo by Stephanie Singer

If you are a city dweller who is short on green space but long on green thumbs, why not join one of the many community gardens in Philadelphia? In almost every neighborhood, personal and community plots are an easy way to grow your own produce and, of course, interact with your neighbors.

Programs such as City Harvest from The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) aim to support these gardens in a very symbiotic way. City Harvest provides starter plants, and then donates some of that harvested produce throughout the city as a way of combatting the food insecurity faced by too many residents.

I am part of La Finquita, a small community garden at the corner of Lawrence and Master Streets in Old Kensington supported by City Harvest. Our strategy is to make sure La Finquita substantially benefits the whole community, not just its member gardeners.

"Currently in South Kensington, as with the majority of low-income neighborhoods citywide, there are limited options for neighbors who want to purchase fresh produce at affordable prices," states Natania Schaumburg, member of La Finquita and director of programs at the South Kensington Community Partners, SKCP. "The benefits of a farm stand run by neighbors who live and grow in the neighborhood they are serving are abundant and include: increased access to and awareness of the importance of fresh, local food; creation of a local economy; and productive use of space that would otherwise be vacant and potentially unsafe. There is a demand for a locally based farm stand. There are currently close to 25 gardeners eager to cultivate and share their produce from 13 shared plots in La Finquita."

La Finquita isn't just about gardening either. One any given night, you can see a gathering around the garden's fire pit, holiday parties and other celebratory events.

La Finquita Farmers' Market: Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 438 W. Master St

In the Neighborhood,

Stephanie
The Bubbi Project

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