PA NRCS announced funding awards to four community garden projects within the Philadelphia metropolitan area under the People’s Garden Initiative (PGI).

Pennsylvania’s USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced funding awards to four community garden projects within the Philadelphia metropolitan area under the People’s Garden Initiative (PGI). The projects selected support collaborative, food-producing gardens using sustainable practices with an educational component.

“We are excited to announce our new People’s Garden partnerships in Philadelphia,” said NRCS Pennsylvania State Conservationist Denise Coleman. “Our People’s Garden Initiative is focused on empowering communities as they grow healthy food in a sustainable way and teach about the benefits of local, resilient food systems. The development of farming and educational initiatives in urban areas exemplifies the mission to foster community collaboration, create jobs and green spaces, provide access to nutritious food, and benefit the environment.” 

The projects being awarded funding through the People’s Garden Initiative include:

  • The Bethel Community Garden Infrastructure and Network Expansion Project: This urban/suburban farming and environmental education initiative will enhance the impact of the established Bethel Community Garden in Ardmore, offer accessible agricultural education for South Ardmore residents, and support the development of additional gardens to grow a network of faith-spaces addressing food insecurity through urban agriculture.
  • John Bartram Association (JBA): By working closely with local residents, including local youth participants in paid workforce development programs, this project will leverage trusted existing partnerships and community green spacesincluding a thriving African Diaspora–focused community farm sited at America’s oldest surviving botanic garden, to strengthen community food sovereignty through intergenerational resident engagement, including community and home garden programs, public education and workshops, produce distribution, and more.
  • Philadelphia Orchard Project: The Philadelphia Orchard Project (POP) offers hands-on training in plant care, sustainable practices, and urban agriculture, as well as print, video, and in-person educational resources. They maintain an active school garden, conduct cooking demonstrations and nutrition education, distribute fresh produce boxes, and offer culturally relevant programming to students, families, and neighbors.
  • Public Indoor” Garden: This urban/suburban farming and environmental education initiative will create an indoor edible garden/green space. The model for the indoor garden could then be replicated in other spaces, from school buildings to office spaces to private homes. The goal is to reach a broader audience than they could normally reach with a backyard garden or even a garden in a designated outdoor space. They will offer a series of engaging lessons for the children.

USDA originally launched the People’s Garden Initiative in 2009. It’s named for the “People’s Department,” former President Abraham Lincoln’s nickname for USDA, which was established during his presidency in 1862.  People’s Gardens grow fresh, healthy food and support resilient, local food systems; teach people how to garden using conservation practices; nurture habitat for pollinators and wildlife and create greenspace for neighbors. 

To learn more about People’s Garden, visit the People’s Garden webpage at



This post adapted from one by NRCS.