While checking on the now-demo’ed Galvo the other day, we couldn’t help but peer through the fence at a former neighborhood staple. We last checked in back in 2021, when a trio of homes were under construction across the street from the horticultural cornerstone, Greensgrow Farm. While the homes are finished, so sadly is the business formerly at 2501 E. Cumberland St., as the farm closed its doors about a year ago for a number of reasons. The overgrown gravel is an unfortunate state of affairs for this long-standing garden haven.
So…what happens now? It turns out that Greensgrow was just a tenant here and did not own their spot, renting from the New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC). However, the NKCDC has no plans to sell or turn the property into housing, opting instead to look for green uses to maintain the character of the land. As such, there are preliminary plans for a community-focused “Urban Agricultural Educational Hub,” which will offer neighbors an opportunity to get hands on and learn about the wonderful benefits of getting your hands dirty in the garden. There have already been clean ups here, and the group plans to keep the site active as they make repairs and raise funds for the project.
While our arms are usually tired from waving our “highest-and-best use” flag all the time, we have a soft spot for keeping this pocket of the neighborhood green, moving forward. There are few spaces dedicated to gardening and farming in the area, and having a place for folks to gather, learn, and enjoy some nature is A-OK in our book. And besides, there’s the proposed six-story, 155-unit apartment project proposed just across the street, so this could form something of a grand square for the Riverwards. Or at least a cool spot to learn about soft shield ferns.