Crowdfunding to save the W Rockland Street Community Garden. We need you!
The W Rockland St Project in Philadelphia has launched a crowdsourced fundraising campaign to remove a sick tree from the community garden that’s threatening the 2014 growing season and neighborhood gathering space.
In 2012 the residents of W Rockland Street in Northwest Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood took over the trashstrewn vacant lot and built an award-winning community garden and gathering space from scratch. In just two years, members have produced hundreds of pounds of fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs. Sadly, this urban oasis is under threat. There is a sick and diseased tree falling into the garden and the vacant house nextdoor, making it unsafe for neighbors to use the space and halting plans for the 2014 growing season. If the tree does not come down, this vibrant but low-income block will have to close its home-grown community space to the many children and adults who benefit from this little slice of green in the city.
You can help save the summer! Support our fundraising effort to cover the high cost of tree removal and watch a neighborhood blossom. Give any amount you choose.
The garden is home to 13 raised garden beds (lucky number!), a melon and climbing vine patch, a compost bin, a floral garden, and jungle gym for kids. Non-gardeners also use the peaceful green space to host gatherings, activities for the block’s many children, and other events. As the garden has flourished, the tree’s health deteriorated. Huge branches entwined with Poison Ivy now reach down to the ground, covering some of the garden beds. It cannot be saved.
Today, this dying tree stands in the way of a community on the rise. Neighbors have already organized a work-day on Saturday, May 24 to install new picnic tables for the summer and equip the garden with rain barrells, a small shed and new fence. But, the tree must come down first!
The community’s answer to blight
Located at 15 W Rockland Street, the garden sits next to a vacant house, recently sealed by the City’s office of Licenses and Inspections. Two vacant spaces side by side can crush a block. Fedup with the conditions, neighbors decided to take a DIY approach. The garden was built on April 16, 2012 during the 4th annual Philly Spring Cleanup and its been growing and evolving ever since. By activating the abandoned spaces, the community lessens the effects of blight created by vacancy, turning a double negative into a positive. The transformed space has made the neighborhood safer and improved quality of life for nearby residents. Help us keep it that way!
If you’re not convinced yet, listen to Mrs. Ada Pullett talk about her love of planting and 40+ years living on W Rockland Street in this cool soundslide created by Temple University journalism students Shanise Redmon and Monet Tucker.
About The W Rockland Street Project
The W Rockland Street Project is a citizen-driven effort to revitalize one Philadelphia city block through community organizing and small-scale urban interventions. With a do-it-yourself spirit and low-cost high-impact approach, the grassroots initiative builds community and creates change you can see. The project is spearheaded by Aine Doley and Emaleigh Doley, sisters and longtime block residents. Discover rocklandstreet.com.
- Inga Saffron, Pulitzer Prize-winning Architecture critic at The Philadelphia Inquirer: “The methods the Doleys employ are worth watching — and imitating all over Philadelphia… Cities just don’t plan like they used to. That leaves tactical urbanism as one of the few tools for making change.” Read: Germantown sisters use tactical urbanism to bolster their block.
- 40+ year block resident Minnie Plez: “It makes the neighborhood look much better, and I think it’ll make everybody act a little better too.” Watch: Germantown neighbors plant new life.
- Pennsylvania Horticultural Society city-wide garden contest judges: “The garden has a colorfully inviting entrance and neatly laid out raised beds inside with a space set aside for socializing. It is clearly meeting its mission of creating community through horticulture. Impressive that this community has come together to build a garden on an abandoned lot. A credit to the garden creators!” In 2012, the garden was awarded Second Prize in PHS’ annual contest in the Community Garden Combination category for first-year community gardens with both vegetables and flowers.
- Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter: “When neighbors are trying to make something happen, we, the city, have to meet them halfway.” Read: Sisters persuade Nutter to move up demolition of derelict houses.
Got questions? Contact us.