About Neighborhood Gardens Trust

A crucial resource for community gardening in Philadelphia

Preserving community gardens

The Neighborhood Gardens Trust (NGT) secures and protects land for community gardens throughout Philadelphia. Since its founding in 1986, the organization has preserved 45 gardens, ranging from small gardens on single home lots to 3.7 acre-large spaces, to vegetable and flower gardens to sitting parks. NGT removes the barriers to ownership of community-managed open spaces so that Philadelphians can reap the social, health, economic and environmental benefits of community gardening.

 Apply for preservation

NGT’s website has an application through which your garden can apply to be preserved as part of the trust. Once an application is submitted, NGT works with you to assess whether or not your open space is a good fit for permanent preservation through NGT. If your garden is not ready for permanent preservation, NGT will explore other land access and preservation strategies with you.

If your garden is approved for protection through NGT, we will then work with the city and other relevant land owners to complete acquisition of the land. NGT will hold the land so that community members can continue to care for it for generations to come. NGT also provides insurance, as well as support garden improvements in partnership with Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Your garden or farm may be a good candidate for preservation if:

  1. Your garden has been active for at least three growing seasons
  2. Your garden has ties to other community organizations, such as churches or schools, and can demonstrate community and city council support
  3. Your garden is active and well-maintained

If you have any questions about NGT’s application process or want to discuss your garden’s preservation, please contact Marlana Moore at (215) 988-1630 or mmoore@pennhort.org.

Get involved with an NGT-preserved garden near you

If you are looking for a garden plot at an NGT garden, you can start by looking at the map below or on their website to identify gardens by location. Once you select specific gardens you are interested in, please email ngt@pennhort.org so they can connect you with garden leader. Demand for garden plots can be high and certain NGT gardens have wait lists.

Neighborhood Garden Trust:

This document is meant to be a living document of resources and recommendations for those growing food for themselves, their neighbors or others. If you would like to add a resource to this page, or if you see something on this page that appears to be inaccurate, please contact Jonathan McJunkin.

More resources for joining the urban agriculture community or buying local

How to Obtain Land Through Adverse Possession

Gaining land ownership through adverse possession in Philadelphia requires a 21 year statutory period before you can obtain the title to the land or property.

Philadelphia Stormwater Charge: Community Garden Discount

Here’s how you can get a discount on your Philadelphia stormwater bill for your community garden.

Conservatorship of Vacant Properties

Conservatorship is a helpful tool to obtain the rights to manage a property in order to return it to productive use and into compliance with code.

Gardening Without Ownership

You don’t need to own vacant land to establish a community garden or green space in Philadelphia, but gardening without ownership comes with risks. Find out how to get started.

Growing Food in Philadelphia

Urban agriculture is recognized as a valid use of land in Philadelphia under the zoning code. Find out what you need to know about zoning in Philadelphia.

Licenses, Permits, and Regulations

If you plan to sell food produced in your farm or garden–especially prepared foods–you should be aware of Philadelphia laws about food safety & preparation.

Water For Your Garden

There are several options in Philadelphia for providing water to gardens and urban farms.

Liens and Debt

Unpaid debt from a previous owner can stand in the way of using a vacant lot for a community space–here’s how to find out if a vacant lot has debt, and what to do.

Employment and Labor Law

If you are looking to hire workers or have volunteers in your community garden or urban farm, you need to comply with state and local labor laws.

About Soil Generation

Soil Generation is a Black & Brown-led coalition of gardeners, farmers, individuals, and organizations working to ensure people of color regain community control of land and food.