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Transforming A Neighborhood

By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – After 50 years in the Haddington Homes projects in west Philadelphia watching kids dealing drugs, listening to gunshots and going to funerals, Lisa Barkley now looks out the window and sees an orchard, hears kids laughing and walks out her door to harvest collard greens.

Urban Tree Connection changed a neighborhood – now, a rose garden for the seniors, two drug houses turned into perennial gardens, an acre farm where the block captains have a Saturday farmers market, and blocks lined with flower boxes with sweet potato vines and petunias.
The local people learned to grow so much food that they sell it to restaurants, have a stall at Rittenhouse Square and have started a small 55 share CSA.

Who knew that a greening experiment a decade ago could turn into an economic engine, feeding families, teaching teens about their farming heritage and making neighbors feel like they really have control of their streets.

Visit the neighborhood and check out UrbanTreeConnection.org.

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