The sixteen acres of the Arboretum northwest of Washington Lane make up the Agricultural Village, a shared farm space for a variety of local partners. From gardening to goat walks, Harvest Festivals, workshops at the Education Center, co-op farming, and much more, there’s always something new to discover in this educational and community-focused area.
Location and Directions
With the exception of visitors with disabilities, parking is not permitted in the Agricultural Village, but free parking is abundant on the bordering streets of Ardleigh St and Washington Ln. The Education Center building is just a short walk from the Ardleigh Street entrance.
Visitors are welcome from dawn to dusk; the space is free and open to the public. Please be mindful of the vegetable and flower beds, beehives, and animal enclosures, and follow any posted signage. There is plenty to see and learn in this unique area of the Arboretum!
Features and Tenants of the Agricultural Village
Education Center Building
An educational facility, including a garden classroom and teaching kitchen, opened at the Agricultural Village in Spring 2013. Here we host educational programs, our Teen Leadership Corps, community events such as our yearly Harvest Festival, local homeschool groups, and more. When not in use for programming, the Education Building is available for rent.
This garden, maintained by Penn State Extension Master Gardeners and skilled volunteers, is specially planted and tended to attract pollinators. Plants are both nectar and pollen-rich natives and exotics. The Philadelphia Committee of the Garden Club of America initially funded the garden in 2010.
The Awbury Arboretum Community Garden, established with Pennsylvania State University Cooperative Extension in 1977, is the successor to Great Depression allotments and WWII Victory Gardens. The garden provides flowers, fruit and vegetables to local residents and annually donates substantial quantities of food to Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s City Harvest. What makes this garden even more special is that it is managed by a coordinating committee of neighbors of Awbury Arboretum.
Awbury Food Forest
The Awbury Food Forest (AFF) demonstrates permaculture techniques that can be used in home gardens. It is managed by an Awbury volunteer stewardship group, supported by the Philadelphia Orchard Project, who work together every third Saturday of the month to maintain all aspects of the Food Forest, from fruit tree pruning to sheet mulching. Interested in joining and learning about these unique gardening techniques? Click here for more information.
Philly Goat Project
The Philly Goat Project is a unique community-based program offering four services: grazing overgrown vegetation, animal-assisted therapy, goat yoga and community wellness. They invite the community to join them for goat walks several times each week – please visit their website and Facebook page for the latest news and schedules.
Weavers Way Co-op’s Mort Brooks Farm
The “Mort Brooks Memorial Farm” est. in 2000 commemorates a long-time proponent of Urban Agriculture. The farm was established on ¼ acre of Awbury Arboretum’s “Northwest Tract” in 2000 by Mort’s wife Norma Brooks and her friends from Weavers Way Co-op in partnership with Awbury Arboretum. Since 2007, a full time farmer and many volunteers have worked the 2-acre farm, providing learning opportunities for our community as well as fresh, environmentally responsible produce to Weavers Way Cooperative stores. Through the nonprofit Food Moxie (formerly Weavers Way Community Programs), community members and students visit the farms and get their hands dirty planting, weeding, harvesting, tasting and learning about growing healthy food. They also donate food to local organizations that serve our communities.
Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers
The Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers is a non-profit organization whose mission is to foster the art and craft of weaving and the fiber arts. They maintain several raised beds and grow plants used to dye textiles.
Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild
The Agricultural Village is home of the Philly Beekeepers Guild, who have been “givin’ a durn about bees since 2009.” They established and care for dozens of hives on site and host workshops, symposiums, extraction sessions, and more, caring for these pollinators and serving a resources for local beekeepers.
In 2008, Penn State Cooperative Extension partnered with Weavers Way Farm and Awbury Arboretum to build a hoophouse at the Agricultural Village for experimentation with season extension.
Weavers Way partners with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s City Harvest Program, providing food to several organizations combating hunger in Philadelphia. Since 2008, Pennsylvania State University Cooperative Extension, Weavers Way Farm, Awbury Arboretum, and PHS City Harvest Program, have joined in season-extension through use of a high tunnel/hoop house, a heated greenhouse to start seeds and a shade house for hardening off seedlings.
Awbury Arboretum’s Landscape Staff Headquarters and Supply Yard
Awbury Arboretum’s Landscape Staff strive daily to maintain Awbury’s 55 acres of green space so each area may be enjoyed by visitors, and utilized for programming, rentals, and community events. The landscape staff also collaborates with Awbury’s partners on projects, general landscape support in the Agricultural Areas.
Wingohocking Creek Riparian Area
The spring house and wetland area near Washington Lane feeds the Historic watercourse across the street and is the only above-ground portion of the Wingohocking Creek. This entire area helps reduces storm water stress on city sewers. Thanks to the help of hundreds of volunteers and support from TTF Watershed Partnership, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and Umar Myca’s Poison Ivy Removal Crew, this area was recently cleared of hundreds of pounds of invasive species and planted with over 300 trees and shrubs as well as other wetland plants, which will manage rainwater, stabilize the creek’s edges, and keep our creek healthy for years to come.