By working with the gardeners, community groups and the City to secure ownership or long-term leases, NGT protects land access for community-managed open spaces.

When NGT determines that a community garden is a good fit for preservation, we work with the gardeners to acquire or lease the land. Land assembly for garden preservation can be complicated and can take more than a year, especially if there are multiple properties with different land owners.

NGT-protected gardens are run by the gardeners themselves. Once NGT secures ownership or a long-term lease, NGT:

  • Provides liability insurance
  • Provides limited support for repairs and maintenance and capital improvements, with a priority on gardens in low-to moderate-income neighborhood
  • Monitors garden conditions and safety concerns
  • Provides access to a citywide network of community gardenersRefers community gardeners to education and technical assistance offered by Pennsylvania Horticultural
    Society (PHS) and other organizations
  • Enters into an agreement with community gardens the define roles and responsibilities.

When gardens apply for preservation, NGT assesses the readiness of community gardeners to manage and maintain the open space for productive, long-term use. 

When determining whether a community garden is a good fit for NGT, it considers a variety of factors including:

• Length of time the garden has been active (minimum of 3 growing seasons)
• Number and experience level of the gardeners
• Physical condition of the garden
• Garden uses (i.e. growing vegetables, orchard, flower garden, social space etc.)
• Demonstrated capacity of the gardeners to maintain the space
• Garden ties to civic groups or other community institutions (CDCs, churches, schools etc.)
• Ownership of the land
• Environmental history and soil conditions of the garden
• Community and City Council support


How can your garden be protected by NGT? Although the process can sometimes take a while, we’re here to help.

Here’s what you need to do, and what you can expect:

1. Apply to NGT. You can also download and print out an application. You will need to give us information about the garden including:

• Address
• Contact info
• Number of gardeners currently using the garden
• Who owns it
• Current source(s) of funding

2. Within two weeks, you’ll receive a response letter from NGT.

3. NGT will review your application and schedule a visit to your garden.

4. After evaluating your application, the NGT Board of Directors will recommend whether to proceed with the preservation of your garden.

5. If your garden is approved, NGT will work with the City of Philadelphia and any relevant landholders to complete acquisition.

NGT works to preserve and protect established gardens that are at-risk of being lost to development or other pressures. If you’re looking for assistance starting a new community garden, we recommend enrolling in PHS’s Garden Tenders program.