Vacant Land 215 Toolkit

  • Philadelphia has tens of thousands of vacant parcels. For decades, many communities have tried to put these spaces back into productive use by growing gardens or farms or establishing open, community spaces. But too often gardeners, farmers and community members face challenges trying to gain legal access to new spaces or secure the legal protections they need to maintain their spaces. So, we created a comprehensive self guide for gardeners looking to maintain or create community spaces on vacant land. Through this guide, our community trainings, and, we are helping community members self advocate to secure access to vacant land. Click here to read or download the toolkit.
  • Recursos 2015 Sobre Terrenos Desocupados


Grounded in Philly Legal Toolkit


Other Legal Resources

  • American Community Garden Association offers affordable liability insurance policies for members.
  • contains legal information, best practices and supporting tools for urban agriculture in the U.S.
  • Department of Records Philadelphia has information on the municipal records and land ownership.
  • Dig, Eat and Be Healthy: a Guide to Growing Food on Public Property by ChangeLab Solutions presents helpful legal and policy information for city gardeners regarding questions about common types of land agreements, issues of liability, utilities, maintenance, growing practices, contamination, access, security, improvements, and gardening on school district property.
  • The Urban Agriculture Law Project, A legal blog maintained by Becky Lundberg Witt.


Gardening + Farming


Garden Supplies

  • Philadelphia Urban Farm Network (PUFN) is a very active listserv offering resources and community for the Philadelphia urban farmers and gardeners.
  • Fairmount Park Organic Recycling Center offers compost, mulch and manure for free (small amounts) or for a fee (larger amounts).
  • PHS City Harvest Program offers seed, soil, seedlings, supplies and technical assistance through Green Resource Centers to participating urban farmers and gardeners. City Harvest participants will receive instructional workshops on organic pest prevention and control, pre- and post-harvest handling, season extension and soil building. Participants are expected to donate a portion of their produce to local soup kitchens and food cupboards.
  • The Farm and Garden Section of Craigslist often posts cheap tools, soil, compost, materials, and other useful items.
  • The free section of Craiglist often posts firewood, bricks, palettes, horse manure and other useful materials for starting or maintaining a garden project.


Small Grants 


Neighborhood Organizing and Citizen Planning

  • Philadelphia Citizens Planning Institute -  Become a Citizen Planner. Learn more about planning practices and how your organization can be more effective in maintaining and improving the quality of life in your community. 
  • The Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service is committed to investing in people to increase community engagement. We do this by building relationships, soliciting input, providing information, connecting community residents to resources and supporting the process to strengthen communities across Philadelphia.



Land Bank

  • On March 7, 2013 Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and former Councilman Bill Green reintroduced the Philadelphia Land Bank Bill to the Philadelphia City Council. City Council unanimously passed the Land Bank Bill, with amendments, on December 12, 2013.  
  • The Philadelphia City Council approved the Philadelphia Land Bank's 2017 Strategic Plan on March 9, 2017.
  • Visit for updates on the Land Bank.  
  • A number of organizations advocated for the Land Bank. See below for some of these organizations and additional resources:

Making the Case

  • Philly Food Justice contains articles that provide useful information and potential contact information for food justice work in the City. 
  • The Thriving Communities Institute explains the need for urban community revilatization and charts the steps of transitioning from vacancy to vitality.