The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) and the John J. Tyler Arboretum (Tyler) have announced a new partnership to increase vegetable production at Lucille’s Garden, a 1-acre garden located at the Arboretum’s property in Media, PA. This collaboration will help meet COVID-19 associated food needs at two Delaware County, PA food pantries. The partnership was formed to collaboratively utilize a $10,000 grant from The Foundation for Delaware County (PA) to support PHS’s Harvest 2020. PHS launched the program in May to bring together thousands of local gardeners and a collection of public gardens to grow and share food for families in need. Harvest 2020 supplies resources for people in underserved communities to grow food for themselves and their neighbors.
“To have Tyler’s team grow and maintain this garden as part of this effort showcases the collective power that gardeners can have across the Greater Philadelphia region,” states Michelle Ullman, PHS Harvest 2020 lead project manager.
Lucille’s Garden at Tyler is one of the five public gardens that have partnered with PHS to expand production. Lucille’s Garden grows 16 different summer crops plus herbs. Arboretum staff and several volunteers grow, harvest, weigh, and record the harvest each week. During the summer growing season, an estimated 2,000 pounds of produce were donated weekly to Delaware County food pantries to support residents in need.
“Combining the foundation grant with the efforts of PHS, we see Lucille’s Garden as a major contributor to the Harvest 2020 initiative. From our combined work, many families facing food insecurity will receive the fresh fruit and vegetables they need to stay healthy during the pandemic,” states Mandy Santiago, Executive Director of Tyler Arboretum.
PHS’s Harvest 2020 initiative will continue through the fall, as hundreds of pounds of produce continue to be harvested and delivered to local food banks each week. For more information, visit: www.PHSonline.org/Harvest2020/overview.
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, an internationally recognized nonprofit organization founded in 1827, plays an essential role in the vitality of the Philadelphia region by creating healthier living environments, increasing access to fresh food, growing economic opportunity, and building deeper social connections between people. PHS delivers this impact through comprehensive greening and engagement initiatives in more than 250 neighborhoods; an expansive network of public gardens and landscapes; year-round learning experiences; and the nation’s signature gardening event, the Philadelphia Flower Show. PHS provides everyone with opportunities to garden for the greater good as a participant, member, donor, or volunteer. For information and to support this work, please visit PHSonline.org.
About John J. Tyler Arboretum and Lucille’s Garden
Founded in 1944, John J. Tyler Arboretum’s mission is to preserve, enhance, and share our heritage, collections and landscapes, to create and inspire stewards of the natural world. Tyler Arboretum encompasses 650 acres of renowned plant collections, heritage and champion trees, historic buildings and 17 miles of hiking trails through woodlands, wetlands and meadows. The Arboretum is open to the public 362 days a year. For more information, please visit: www.tylerarboretum.org. Lucille’s Garden at Tyler Arboretum, which opened to the public in March 2019, was named after one of the arboretum’s long-time supporters, Lucille Francesco. Her vision was to inspire and educate visitors about the collective benefits, beauty, joy, and impact of sustainable gardening. Lucille’s legacy lives on every day, as Tyler fulfills its mission to preserve, enhance, and share its heritage, collections, and landscapes to create and inspire stewards of the natural world. The 1-acre garden contains several themes: A Children’s Garden, A Kitchen Pantry garden, A Three Sisters Garden, A Culinary Herb Garden, as well as the many production beds. During its first year in operation, Tyler utilized the fresh produce primarily for use in hands-on cooking classes for children and chef’s tasting sessions for adults, with extra produce donated to local restaurants embracing farm-to-table recipes as well as the Media (PA) Food Bank. In 2019, the garden produced more than 1,000 pounds of fresh produce, which in turn assisted 30 – 50 families in need per week during the growing season.