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Farm for the City: Growing for Greater Good

A collaborative effort, Viridian and Think Green partnered with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to bring life to their vision for an interactive working farm in the center of Philadelphia. Our concept starts with the form of a nautilus – the symbol for expansion and renewal. Radial planting beds extend out to draw the public in to another world – a beautiful and bountiful world with lots to discover and learn, places to relax and interact. The center stage and tiered seating provide a platform for civic dialogue and demonstration. The planting beds, made of found and reused materials, give form to the space while the plants provide living texture. Sympathetic to the existing framework of colorful game pieces, the design is playful in tone with cheerful pops of color and flags waving in the wind. The flags were proudly designed by community gardeners throughout Philadelphia. This is their space to shine, and everyone is welcome to the table.   

With support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Farm for the City highlights the role community gardeners play in strengthening neighborhoods and the gardens' positive impact on some of the most pressing issues facing our communities, such as food insecurity. The farm will be a site for dynamic public forums, gardening workshops and artistic performances. The programming will bring people together in civic discussions about social equity and food security, encourage policies that promote healthy communities, and highlight ways urban agriculture strengthens neighborhoods and preserves cultures.

Viridian is honored to be a part of such an impactful, dynamic, socially driven, and environmentally conscious project. We are honored PHS asked us to lead the design because to us, this project embodies the power of landscape architects influencing positive change in the world, which makes our work worthwhile. Our work brings society together. It creates democratic spaces for people to come as they are and interact with those outside of their social bubble. We bring social equity, environmental justice, harmony and integrity to each of our designs, and in Farm for the City, we have the pleasure of working with equally passionate partners.


This urban agriculture project is now live on 2,000 square feet on the Thomas Paine Plaza of the Municipal Services Building, 1400 Arch Street, across from City Hall. The farm will produce 1,000+ pounds of produce, which will be donated to Broad Street Ministry and its Hospitality Collaborative program. The program seeks to improve the physical and psychological wellbeing of Philadelphians experiencing homelessness, hunger, and poverty by providing meals alongside stabilizing services.


Farm for the City Events

Enjoy hands-on workshops, dialogue, family centered entertainment and special off-site events now through September with PHS Farm for the City. Designed by Program Curator, Charlyn Griffith, in collaboration with various community leaders and gardeners, the programming will follow four themes - Soil, Seed, Plant and Harvest - for visitors to learn and enjoy.

8.5.18 Sunday - Taste the Rainbow

Join Farm Hosts Crystal and Sam for an interactive discussion and learn how to identify edible plants.


8.7.18 Tuesday - Growing and Sharing: Caribbean Crops in Philadelphia

Glenwood Green Acres gardeners and Grands as Parents will share their garden tips and partnership stories as they work together to grow and share food for grandparents who are primary caretakers of their grandkids.


8.8.18 Wednesday - Black Men Trellising

Join local farmers to discuss the important bonds formed through farming together. Learn best practices and how to build a trellis from easy to find materials.


8.9.18 Thursday - TUFF Girls Health and Wellness for Teens

Join us at Farm for the City for this drop in wellness session for young people exploring their health needs.


8.9.18 Thursday - The Power of Mint and Other Culinary and Medicinal Herbs

PHS staffer and master gardener Guina Hammond presents a workshop in which you will plant herbs in small containers and learn about their culinary and medicinal properties.


8.10.18 Friday - Traditional Medicinals, Tie-Dye with Spice!

Join local gardener Nyambi Royster for a workshop to make your own scarf using plant based dyes.


8.11.18 Saturday - Penn State Extension: Master Gardening!

Join Master Gardeners to chat about your plants and hear stories from their gardens. Growing food for markets? Raising chickens? Looking for new ways to irrigate and conserve? Stop by for a chat!

Click here for more information


8.13.18 Monday - Rain Check: Get a Rain Barrel!

Learn how you can get a free rain barrel from the Philadelphia Water Department! Reduced pricing for downspout planters, rain gardens, depaving, and permeable pavers will also be offered.


8.18.18 Saturday - The Plot Thickens

Join us for a Farm for The City community reading series that discusses intergenerational stories that celebrate the interconnectedness of our lives.


8.18.18 Saturday - Mural Arts Paint Day at Farm for the City

Help the Mural Arts Program and Farm for the City with artists Eurhi Jones & David McShane to learn how to produce a "paint-by-number" mural.


8.19.18 Sunday - Mental Health in the Food Industry

With Laquanda Dobson & Danya Dowd: Dreaming and Planning Our Own Paths to Possibility


8.21.18 Tuesday - Touch Earth and You’re Home

Ewan & Malaika Gilpin, founders of One Art Community Center A present an evening of discussion on how farming has helped them grow a community and why immigration is an essential element of enriching a city.


8.22.18 Wednesday - Flower Power

Learn flower-growing tips, how to attract pollinators, and make a jam jar bouquet with cut flowers from PHS Meadowbrook Farm to brighten up your home.


8.25.18 Saturday - Dynamic Dirt- Protect the Healthy Bugs Your Can’t See

Join Farmers Stanley Morgan and Dylan DeVlieger. Understand the chain of nutrient sharing from soil to plant to our food and seeds. Study and discuss the traditional and emerging methods for mineral and microbe retention.


9.1.18 Saturday - Family Tree: Relationships of Plants

Farm for the City hosts Kecha Medina & Dylan DeVlieger present this workshop on Botanical identities and relationships of plants.


9.4.18 Tuesday - Game Night with Plant-it Planet & the Food Trust

Explore the value of working collectively and the value of natural resources. The game will produce tangible action plans and illustrate a common vision for collective action!


9.6.18 Thursday - Scorch the Earth

Explore ways to manage organic materials, create bio-chard and discuss how these traditional practices can support generations to come.


9.7.18 Friday - First Friday: Botany of Desire

Local artists share visual interpretations of plant-life, and their nonverbal communications with us.


9.8.18 Saturday - Penn State Extension: Master Gardening!

Join Master Gardeners to chat about your plants and hear stories from their gardens. Growing food for markets? Raising chickens? Looking for new ways to irrigate and conserve? Stop by for a chat!


9.10.18 Monday - Vegetable Gardens in Containers

Not much space but still want an edible garden at home? No problem! Learn how to grow food in containers with tips from the PHS gardening team. Presented by Sally McCabe and Adam Hill.


9.15.18 Saturday - Growth Potential

Learn how to scale up your farm’s production from local farmers. Whether you are wanting to grow more food or expand and diversify your programming, hear ways it has worked for other urban farms.


9.16.18 Sunday - Food Trust: Listening Session on Food in Philadelphia

Join us to voice your concerns about the current local food system and be a part of shaping the future of our city.

Click here for more information


9.18.18 Tuesday - Soil Generation: Urban Agriculture Roundtable

Meet with local activists and organizers to learn more about the current food justice work in Philadelphia and across the nation.


9.19.18 Wednesday - Dynamic Dirt - Leave It Alone

Understand the chain of nutrient sharing from soil to plant to our food and seeds. Study and discuss the traditional and emerging methods for mineral and microbe retention.


9.25.18 Tuesday - Future Food

Join local artists to imagine the future of food with this visually stimulating, hands-on workshop and podcast recording with the Black Tribbles!


9.28.18 Friday - Family Tree: Relationships of Plants

Join Farm for the City's Farm Hosts for a discussion on botanical identities and relationships of plants. How to tell one plant from another, their uses and abridged little known indigenous histories.

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