How Public Interest Law Center Got in the Weeds of Urban Garden Laws


Turning overgrown vacant lots into community safe havens has brought neighbors together in a number of disinvested Philadelphia neighborhoods. With rising property values, many community gardens land in massive tax debt and may be victims to gentrification via sheriff’s sale or private sale.

Research has shown the neighborhoods who construct community gardens have many benefits, including reduced violent crime. When the Philadelphia Land Bank proved inadequately staffed to protect the gardens, our nonprofit partner, the Public Interest Law Center stepped in.

The organization has successfully represented two community gardens, New Jerusalem and La Finquita, in securing permanent community access to the land. Additionally, Public Interest Law Center has committed to ensuring as many community gardens as possible secure their land rights.

What’s next? Spreading the word. Our partner is holding trainings for lawyers taking such cases and hosting legal clinics for gardeners at risk of losing their land to help everyone navigate through the weeds of this urban challenge.

For more information on our partner’s dedication to protecting community gardens, check out