A new community garden is growing on a former parking lot in West Philadelphia, thanks to a generous donation and a whole lot of sweat equity.
The 1-acre plot sits behind the Karabots Pediatric Care Center at 48th and Market streets, footsteps from the subway. It’s considered the centerpiece volunteer project for the Democratic National Convention, which will be in town July 25-28.
On Wednesday, in sweltering heat, dozens of volunteers wielded shovels, spades and wheelbarrows to get the garden prepped for its inaugural growing season.
They planted a variety of fruits and vegetables, including pears, apples, tomatoes and squash.
“This will be an opportunity for the community to have fresh fruits and vegetables, which is something that a lot of people don’t have,” said longtime resident Linda Schnolis.
The garden is expected to yield roughly 100 pounds of produce a week, enough to feed up to 20 families during the growing season.
It will also be home to workshops promoting healthy cooking and eating.
The Karabots Center, part of the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, primarily serves residents from the surrounding community, many of whom suffer from obesity, diabetes and other conditions related to nutrition.
During a brief press conference, the Rev. Leah Daughtry told volunteers that that garden embodies democratic values.
“We believe that when communities are strong, our nation is strong. And what better way to demonstrate that than to ensure that children of all ages have healthy, nutritious, home-grown food right in their own backyards,” said Daughtry.
The garden was created using part of a $300,000 donation from America’s Credit Union. The rest will cover operational and programming costs during its first year.