Bel Arbor Community Garden
With communal spaces including a gazebo, orchard, meadow, trees, and a bricked barbecue area, in addition to 23 individual plots, Bel Arbor Community Garden welcomes all kinds of life to Philadelphia’s Bella Vista neighborhood. The land has a long history in Philadelphia urban gardening, being the approximate site where Alexander Parker’s Botanic Garden stood in 1820.
When an abandoned factory burned down in 1993, neighbors created two organizations to transform the space: the vegetable and flower-producing Kimball Street Community Garden and the Bel Arbor Tree Farm (both began to organize in 1994). The land was preserved by the Neighborhood Gardens Trust in 1999, and the two groups combined in 2001 to form Bel Arbor Community Garden. The garden holds an annual summer solstice barbecue potluck and provides a community space for birthday parties and other impromptu outdoor gatherings.
Story contributed by Joe Makuc