By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A group of neighbors near Eastern State Penitentiary today broke ground for a community garden on the grounds of the historic former prison.
The Bache-Martin Elementary School, at the corner of 22nd and Brown Streets in Fairmount, may have lost its counselor, its vice principal, and several teachers, but it’s getting a fantastic new learning space across the street, thanks to the Friends of Eastern State Penitentiary Park.
The teaching garden is just one element of the space. Gardener Anna Forrester says it will have a natural playground, with sand and rocks and blueberry bushes; community garden plots; picnic space; and, the pièce de résistance, an “edible” forest.
“What we’re doing here with the edible forest garden and using edible forest beds to define all of these multi-use spaces for all of these different users is, I think, pretty unique on the east coast,” she tells KYW Newsradio.
Forrester showed the space to Philadelphia councilmen Darrell Clarke (far left in photo) and Bill Greenlee (second from left, in background). Clark had helped to get city to clear the lot.
“It just goes to show you don’t have to spend a lot of money to create something very nice for a community,” Clarke said at the event.