Northern Liberties: Park Went from Tannery to Greenery

Two women sat at a table in Liberty Lands Park.]

Two women sat at a table in Liberty Lands Park.

The Weeders Club brings gardening gloves and meets for coffee and snacks at Liberty Lands Park for the sole purpose of tending to the community gardens of 37 plots. The Weeders Club is an informal club that consists of neighborhood volunteers.

“Every Saturday morning, a collection of us shows up,” Jennifer Gold, garden coordinator at Liberty Lands said. “Sometimes there’s only the three of us, Janet, Liz and myself, but a lot of times, like today, there’s a whole bunch of volunteers.”

The garden is open to the public and neighbors can purchase a plot for a small donation. Some of the vegetation grown on these plots includes kale, collard greens, tomatoes, tatsoi, baby bok choy, cucumbers and green peppers.

Aside from the community plots, are City Harvest plots that grows vegetables donated to City Harvest, a local food bank.

A woman walked her dog in the pet-friendly park.

The area now known as Liberty Lands Park was once an industrial area housing the American and Burk Brothers Tanneries. In 1962 the tanneries were closed and the area was part of a clean up effort by the Environmental Protection Agency to remove hazardous materials in 1986.

The area was left abandoned until it was donated to the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association in 1995. In 1997, the NLNA converted this land into viable green space. At the time, Northern Liberties was the only neighborhood without green space.

The Hunter family visited from West Philadelphia on several occasions.



“It’s a great resource, and there’s just not enough in the neighborhood,” Barbara Saverino, member of the Liberty Lands Park committee said. “So we need to protect them and hopefully other people will get involved, so that’s why we’re here.”

Along with the community garden, the park features almost 200 trees of varying types, some bearing fruit, a butterfly and herb garden, picnic tables, a playground and a stage for musical performances.

The Northern Liberties Neighbors Association hosts numerous events around the year at the park. The Music Festival takes place twice a year and features local bands, a flea market and food vendors. There are hayrides through the park in the fall. Every Tuesday night during the summer, residents bring their blankets to the park and watch movies under the stars.

Future plans for the park include adding chess tables, better pathways, a restroom with a pass code and solar lighting and Laurel Street gardens.

A calendar of events at Liberty Lands Park can be found on the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association website.

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