Denzel Thompson, the 19 year old co-founder of The Philadelphia Urban Creators, accepted the BET Shine a Light award at the 2014 BET Awards for Urban Creator’s mission to energize, encourage, and educate youth by transforming blighted urban landscapes into sustainable urban gardens. The youth led organization bridges education, health, environment, and sustainability to the community in a productive, fun, and encouraging manner. Lesson learned while volunteering in the community garden last a life time.
The active garden currently at 11th and Dauphin in Philadelphia is a success story. Once an abandoned plot of deteriorated land the plot is now a fully functioning garden that grows, harvest, and sells organic locally grown produce. By volunteering at the garden the community is able to build skills and networks that transcends into their daily life. The children are able to see their hard work flourish from a seed to a staple ingredient on the dinner table. It shows that hard work does pay off and that their efforts, not only in the garden, but in life matters. The community garden is a example of what fresh food, fresh ideas, and community involvement can do to bring a community together.
I had the opportunity to see the garden in all its glory this past weekend. A short walk from the Dauphin/Susquehanna subway stop, the garden is right on the corner of Dauphin and 11th street. The 39 bus also stops right at the intersection too. A few steps from the street and the garden entrance is right at your feet. The regular volunteers, many of which have been involved since the beginning, were friendly and inviting. They showed us (My little cousins and I) around the garden and taught us a little bit about the plants and their growing patterns.
The garden looked so lush and vibrant and the sense of community helped make the experience complete. I look forward to going back to volunteer and I hope you do the same too. They have veggies for sale, veggies to taste, and scents to smell. The people over at urban creators are doing their part to build up a stronger healthier community all the while encouraging others to do the same. If you want more information as to how you can help or buy their produce check them out online.