Walking north on 11th Street, Temple students may come across an unexpected find – the urban farm Life Do Grow.
The farm was created in 2010 after a group of young Philadelphians decided to reclaim the abandoned space, which had been an empty lot turned illegal dump site.
The urban farm now houses a full greenhouse, vegetable garden, and showcases murals and artwork.
Life Do Grow is the biggest farm of the seven North Philadelphia farms and gardens operated by the organization Philly Urban Creators.
This initiative uses the farm as a gathering space for community members to plant and harvest food crops, participate in workshops, and even take classes.
Jeannine Kayembe, a Philly Urban Creators Co-Executive Director, says that “the whole goal for this space is to be growing in a space where things are also growing.”
Community revitalization is the main focus of the organization, which recognizes that food and young people are at the heart of the neighborhood.
“Urban Creators is really focused on how to give young people a platform to not only express themselves in artistic ways but also how are they able to be the pioneers of the revitalization of their own neighborhood,” says Kayembe.
Philly Urban Creators hosts everything from educational workshops to music festivals at Life Do Grow and plan to keep the momentum going, offering resources and opportunities to community members and Temple students alike.
Brianna Spause, a Temple Junior, volunteers at the farm. After spending time at the gardening site, she feels that “it’s really important for Temple students to get involved with the community that we live in because the community was here first, and Temple was here second.”
Another Temple student volunteer sophomore Kevin Gigler reflected on time spent with at Life Do Grow, stating, “Its a good exercise to be out here and to help the community… its really positive.”
Philly Urban Creators is working to recreate and reimagine the North Philadelphia landscape one garden at a time.
Site and Develop Manager Devon Bailey is proud of their work, “We’re breaking bridges right here, there’s neighborhood people here, different programs here, there’s Temple students here… this is the type of thing that is magic, you know what I mean, it should be in every neighborhood, everywhere.”