The Francis Cope House
One Awbury Road
Philadelphia, PA 19138
William Penn Funds Awbury Agricultural VillageA $330,000 two-year grant will pay for community engagement in this project.
Awbury has received a two year $330,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation for community engagement centered on a collaborative demonstration project called the “Awbury Agricultural Village”.
Located on Awbury’s "Northwest Tract" - a 16-acre plot of land separated from the rest of the Arboretum by Washington Lane - the Awbury Agricultural Village hosts a vibrant mix of institutional and private partners including the Awbury Garden Club, KJK Associates, Weaver’s Way Farm, Weaver’s Way Community Programs, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and Penn State Cooperative Extension.
The Northwest Tract has a long history of agricultural use. It was an 18th century farm, and remained in active agriculture until the early 20th century, including production of fruits, vegetables, milk, poultry and eggs. Intensive use was abandoned around 1930, although during World War II the first community gardens on the property were established as Victory Gardens. As the 20th century grew to a close, the property - separated from the rest of the Arboretum - struggled to find its purpose and became dormant and overgrown.
Over the last decade, the rise of the urban agriculture movement has brought renewed interest to this neglected parcel. Awbury's first modern "pioneer" tenant on the Northwest Tract cleared an open space to store nursery inventory. A small garden was later established by a local food coop. Both of these enterprises continue today in greatly enlarged form, and have been joined by a number of other partners linked by a shared infrastructure which includes teaching areas, greenhouses, roadways, and water service.
Today, in recognition of its many residents
and special community quality, the site has been renamed the “Awbury
Agricultural Village”. The development
of the Agricultural Village is intended to coordinate the many projects and
activities which have developed organically on the property over the past
several years. The William Penn grant provides the means for Awbury to
harmonize all of the activities occurring at the Agricultural Village,
including funding for a business plan and a site management plan. The grant
anticipates that the assessment, restoration, and management of the landscape
surrounding the production areas will support and further the activities which
our partners are presently conducting.
Awbury is in the early stages of its work under this grant, but there
have already been significant changes to the landscape.
Members of Awbury Arboretum are encouraged to stop by and walk through the Agricultural Village to see what’s growing in the beds and gardens, and view the greenhouses.
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