The Brewerytown Garden, located at 27th and Master streets, has become a staple in the community, bringing people together by welcoming them into the space, whether or not they have gardening experience.
Nissa Eisenburg is a regular gardener at the garden. She explained what the garden means to the surrounding area.
When was the garden opened and by whom?
The garden was conceived and built by Marathon Farm, which was its own entity and was open for about three or four years. Then, about three years ago, the neighbors started to come together to make sure that the amenity here was protected, and that it stayed a garden that was involved in and ran by the community.
How did you get involved in the garden?
I got involved being in the neighborhood and being involved with a farm stand at 27th and Girard, and just being interested in fresh food.
What is the purpose of the Brewertytown Garden?
The purpose of the garden, I think, is to be here for the community, the community gardeners and their needs, and just wanting to be able to grow their own produce in the city.
Brewerytown Garden is a nonprofit. The people here who are interested are also very interested in bringing fresh food that’s grown in the community to the community. That’s why we have community beds that are dedicated just for selling produce to the community at an affordable price, and helping to make sure that there is a connection and people feel that this is a part of their green space in the community, too.
Another purpose is also working with the athletic rec center across the street, and trying to get more youth programming, and get more cooking and education classes, in addition to the gardening. Even bee keeping. Things like that.
So, we also try to educate people who might not necessarily be gardeners.
How do you think the Brewerytown Garden brings the community together?
It brings all different kinds of neighbors together. Everybody comes together to help people learn to grow things. Not everyone here grew up on farms and knowing much of anything about gardening. But everyone here helps each other.
Everyone can connect over the different things they’re growing, what they cook with it. It’s also a meeting ground for everyone to talk about food and what they like to eat and cook and grow.
What events does the garden host?
It’s varied over the years but they usually try to at least have a harvest festival. They’ve had a jazz barbecue. They definitely try to have a few and are trying to have more community events that bring people to the garden to show them around, help share what we’re growing here and let them know about the community programs that we’ll have and the farm stand, how to become a gardener and how to get involved.
Do a lot of people tend to show up?
Yes, lots of people who are friends of gardeners in the neighborhood. Lots of people who are just interested in the garden, looking for a fun night out, or neighbors who are interested and haven’t had the chance to come in on a Saturday morning.
We have a lot of people who are curious and interested and a lot of people who already know about it too.
Do people respect the garden space for the most part?
There’s some vandalism and sometimes you don’t know if it was a person or a hungry raccoon that broke in and stole somebody’s squash. People have been generally and mostly respectful. We try to welcome people in and let them walk around when the gates are open.
What is your favorite thing about the garden?
My favorite thing is just having a nice space to come out and socialize with other people who are gardening as well, and sharing that knowledge.
I can grow a bunch of the same things in buckets and containers in my backyard but it is just so much nicer to be with other people who you can learn from, and share extra seedlings and share recipes, and just talk about how much we like food. Everyone loves to talk about food.
– Text and images by Cierra Williams and Raina Stewart.