Growing Home Garden: Emily & Mercy Streets

Planning for the Growing Home Garden started in 2009. It was in large part inspired by feedback from refugee families who sought growing space in the city. The gardens formally opened in 2011.


Supported by City Harvest

Development of the South Philadelphia site, which had been sitting vacant for a decade, was supported through a PHS City Harvest Growers Alliance grant. Funds covered soil, lumber, harvest kits, organic fertilizers, plants and supplies to construct the first 60 raised beds. As it enters its fifth growing season, Growing Home has expanded to include 107 plots across three locations and 7,000 square feet.

The support of PHS remains central to the garden’s continued impact, from their invaluable expertise and provision of plants and materials to expertise vital for the promotion of urban farming within the city.

Self-Determined Space, Shared Community

Most of our Growing Home gardeners come from Burma (Myanmar) and Bhutan. Beyond being a place in which to carry our urban agriculture projects of their own design, the shared space enables families to connect with one another and their South Philly neighbors. Crops are tested and vetted. Block parties are thrown. Knowledge is shared, including seed-saving techniques that feed the harvest from year-to-year.

In the gardens, we are growing togetherness, one plot at a time.

By the Numbers

  • Officially opened in 2,011
  • 7,000 square feet of growing space
  • An increase from 60 to 107 plots over five years
  • Biweekly community workdays
  • Monthly garden meetings