Here at Sol Food Mobile Farm, we have just completed our last major garden build on the east coast in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania! Our next garden build will be in Chicago. For our five days in Philly, our bus was parked on an empty lot in the neighborhood of Kensington (2009 East York Street to be exact) in north Philly. The area was a densely populated few blocks of row houses and a large building across the street known as Viking Mill. The Mill has been spruced up and fixed over the years to house the Little Berlin Art Collective community, a now hip area for local artists in the area. Little Berlin has developed an ambitious two year site plan for the abandon lot across the street, known locally as the “Fairgrounds”, and we were lucky enough to be a small kickstarter on this project.
Throughout the week, the weather managed to cooperate, although summer temperatures we still high and we were able to get a lot done in just a short amount of time. With the help of artists from Little Berlin and tons of helpful neighbors from the area we raised eight garden beds in only four days, along with a hand built park bench and a rainwater collection structure. Angela, the site director was able to acquire three large rain barrels from the city and our team built a raised platform to house them. The structure was completed with a
pitched roof to allow the rain barrels to gravity feed the garden with hoses and to collect water from the gutters.
The garden beds were each constructed out of lumber donated from Little Berlin that had been previously used on a play set for “Charlotte’s Web”. The wood was a beautiful, rough hewn Poplar wood and it made the perfect raised beds, each measuring eight feet long by four feet wide. Every bed was painted, mulch was placed around the garden perimeter and a huge herb spiral was constructed in the center of the radial bed design.
The kids from the neighborhood were a huge help in the garden all week long and we could not have done the project without them! We finished off the week’s workshop by sharing Zomppa curriculum points about different culinary herbs and visiting a local urban farm called “Green Grows.” There the kids got to pick out herbs and flowers for their new garden and see, in person, the possibilities of a well established urban garden.
Thank you to all of the wonderful friends and families that we met in Kensington and a special “cheers” to Angela and all of the artists at Little Berlin. Now we are off to New England to tour some wonderful farms and hopefully eat some local seafood!