Dear Neighbors and Friends of Greensgrow,
Thank you to everyone who attended the community meeting at the former Greensgrow Farm at 2501 E. Cumberland St. on June 3. We had a great turnout of about 50 people, including neighbors and former Greensgrow employees, and had a candid conversation about the future of the property, which NKCDC has owned since 2000.
As previously announced, NKCDC does not plan to sell the land or develop it for housing. We were happy to give an affordable lease to an urban farm for many years, and we are committed to keeping the space green now. Specifically, plans are in the works to develop an Urban Agricultural Educational Hub that will bring community members together, encourage care for the neighborhood, improve access to healthy food and nutrition, and be a catalyst for even more parks, gardens and community spaces across the Kensington area and Philadelphia.
Unfortunately, this will not happen overnight. As former Greensgrow workers confirm, the property has serious infrastructure issues, including problems with drainage and plumbing, that will have to be corrected to make a sustainable, public garden space. In addition, NKCDC plans to build a permanent, sanitary bathroom on site.
Work is moving forward at a good pace. Initial assessments are complete, and cleanups are ongoing. Soil testing of harmful chemicals was completed in 2021 by UMASS Research Department. The results were free of harmful and negative contaminants for all the areas tested. This testing will be conducted routinely by NKCDC to ensure the safety of plants and vegetables growing on the land. We continue to look to people and organizations in the Philadelphia urban agricultural world for guidance and partnerships that can build on the dream that Greensgrow’s founder, the late Mary Seton Corboy, had for this space.
Our plan is to keep the land active even as repairs and improvements are being finalized. Informal events like the June 3rd meeting, community cleanups, and this year’s Earth Day celebration will continue to be advertised and hosted. Neighbors have expressed interest in using the site for farmers markets, food distribution, recycling collection, and even a tool library for gardening supplies. These ideas and suggestions will be considered as we develop a long-term plan for Greensgrow and secure financial backing to maintain the space. State Representative Joe Hohenstein attended the June 3 meeting and spoke about funding efforts at the state level, and his desire to get other elected officials involved. Anyone who has ideas for the space, time to volunteer, other resources to keep it active and clean during this transition, should contact Roberta Dubuclet at 215-427-0350 x109 or email@example.com.
We have heard that some neighborhood residents are not getting updates about the property. NKCDC will redouble its efforts to reach near neighbors through email and fliers, including information posted on the garden gates. If you would like to add your name to the email list, please send an email to Roberta Dubuclet at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, we encourage you to follow NKCDC on social media, and to sign up for our occasional e-newsletter at the bottom of the home page of our website, nkcdc.org. Correspondence like this will also be posted to our website at nkcdc.org/blog.
NKCDC’s mission is to advance social equity and economic empowerment by nurturing and creating opportunities for residents to live in and actively shape their neighborhood of choice. We are committed to working together with neighbors to make the former Greensgrow Farm a welcoming space that benefits the entire community.
Roberta R. Dubuclet
Vice President of Programs, NKCDC
Frequently Asked Questions
Is NKCDC going to build housing on the land?
No, the farm will remain an urban agricultural educational hub for the community.
How long will it take before the farm is operational?
Currently, we are working to resolve issues with plumbing, water irrigation, and drainage throughout the property. We are forming a plan for permanent restrooms, and addressing structural concerns with the farmstands and greenhouses. All these things are needed for the farm to be successful. A Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) grant, transferred from Greensgrow, will support construction of the restrooms. Other funding sources are being explored to support the additional needs.
What will the space be used for until the farm opens?
NKCDC has a few ideas, but we are seeking the community’s input as well. Our goal is to keep it active with community events until we have made long-term decisions. Some ideas we have heard and are considering:
- Pop-up retail events (farmers market, planting and gardening supplies)
- Pop-up family-friendly events (petting zoo, green space workshops)
- Pop-up physical activities (yoga classes, Zumba, dance)
- Pop-up special events (arts festival, beer garden, wine garden)
Are you going to keep the name Greensgrow?
We are undecided about a name. We will be looking to the community for input.
Will there be livestock?
Not this year, as we are cleaning the space and gathering community input. Animals need reliable caretakers and cost money. We want to make sure we have staff and volunteers who can support NKCDC if this is a long-term desire of the community.
Will you have Christmas trees?
We are hoping to meet this request in the fall. We are looking at a few vendors who we could support with space.
When will there be fruits and vegetables?
We have begun the process of preparing a few items to go into the ground, but we will not have anything until July or August.
What will you do with the fruits and vegetables?
Some items that are grown will be used for our SNAP-Ed and Nourish programs and the rest will be sold for a reasonable amount.
Can I grow my own fruits and vegetables?
We are not equipped to handle that this year, but we will have retail space as well as a farmer who can assist you with your own home garden in the next few weeks.
Can I volunteer a few hours a week?
We are stabilizing the farm. There will be volunteer opportunities soon. We want to ensure that it is safe to have volunteers on site.
How can I get involved?
We are asking for assistance from block captains, neighbors, and residents to give input on things that would benefit their community while we decide next steps for the future of this farm. Contact Roberta Dubuclet at 215-427-0350 x109 or email@example.com. Let’s keep the conversation going!