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See More Grantees Like This One

Pittsburgh, PA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: Grounded Strategies transformed a vacant lot in Pittsburgh's Central Hill District into a community garden. The organization relied on what is calls its ReClaim Ambassador model, which connects experts with vulnerable communities to repurpose vacant land and revitalize neighborhoods. To create the Peace, Love and Friendship Garden, the ambassador for this project worked with corporate donors, volunteers and nonprofit partners. Meant to offset the closure of a local grocery store, the garden features 72 raised beds where residents can grow vegetables. Grounded Strategies is now working with partner organization Grow Pittsburgh to create programming for the space.

Philadelphia, PA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: The Viola Street Community Garden has served the East Parkside neighborhood for half a century. But the garden faced challenges related to soil quality water access -- gardeners had to haul in water barrels from a fire hydrant down the block. And because the City owned the garden property, its future was uncertain. After Neighborhood Gardens Trust assumed ownership, they wanted to improve the space. The organization built raised beds, brought in fresh soil and installed a new irrigation system. Volunteers also laid down ADA-accessible pathways to accommodate gardeners of all ages and abilities. New fencing, as well as a picnic table and shade umbrella, made the space welcoming. Since the upgrades, the Trust has added new parcels to the garden's footprint. Organizers say the garden helps ensure food access for West Philadelphia families, helping heal disparities resulting from systemic racism and disinvestment.

Philadelphia, PA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: Philadelphia's Hunter Park neighborhood is considered a food desert. The Food Trust's community orchard, garden and farmer's market give local families a way to access fresh fruits and vegetables. To raise awareness, Food Trust workers handed out fliers and put up banners directing residents to the market. They also put on a fall festival, which featured a series of walking tours of the gardening facilities, which are located within a neighborhood park. Volunteers distributed coupons to attendees, allowing them to purchase fruits and vegetables grown onsite. Additionally, the Food Trust provided tour participants with garden kits and encouraged them to join the volunteer-led community garden. Since the publicity efforts, project organizers report a boost in garden membership.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Grantees

Lancaster, PA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Public safety interventions

Description: The Clean, Green and Safe project will make it safer for older residents to walk to the Marin Senior Center by adding shade trees, plants, benches, trash receptacles and public safety cameras along the route and outside the center.

Harrisburg, PA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Vacant lots in Harrisburg's Allison Hill neighborhood -- which make up about a third of the neighborhood's land area -- were overgrown with weeds and debris, attracted crime and often served as illegal dumping sites. To address this, the Tri County Community Organization set out to clean up eight lots. Volunteers cleared the sites of debris, installed fencing and planted low-maintenance grass that only grows to six inches in height. This project opens up the space so that there's no place to hide for crime, so this project really helps to bring beauty to the neighborhood, Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator Donnell Brown said. Now that the lots are cleaned up, project organizers hope the spaces will help raise property values, as well as provide residents with a gathering space.

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