Stories of Hope

Urban Tree Connection

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Issue: Abandoned lots and a lack of fresh produce overtook a West Philadelphia neighborhood.  

When the Haddington community started to be overwhelmed with run-down houses, empty lots, drug dealers, and unsavory characters, residents came together to make their community safe, healthy, and viable. As a community, they formed Neighborhood Foods and its parent organization, Urban Tree Connection, which transformed one lot after another into productive gardens. The lush green plots are busting with kale, peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes. However, the crown jewel is a three-quarter acre farm surrounded by 60 houses.

Their Impact: Feeding the stomachs, the needs, and the souls of their community.

In addition, to transforming an entire community, they created meaningful local jobs, training opportunities, and a source for fresh vegetables. Youth are employed to work the land and harvest the bounty. Residents can buy the organic produce at a subsidized weekly market, and Neighborhood Foods sells the abundance to farmers’ markets and high-end restaurants. Today, the Haddington community is healthier, stronger, and even tastier than ever.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development has supported the community-building work of the Urban Tree Connection and its newest venture, the Neighborhood Foods cooperative.