Most of Awbury’s 55 acres is comprised of contiguous micro-landscapes, irregular in perimeter but contained within a single (large) city block. The 16-acre Northwest Tract is separated from the main campus by a major city thoroughfare. Formerly the site of the Caroline Cope Farm, this tract is now the site of the Awbury Arboretum Agricultural Village, a collaborative demonstration project focused on urban agriculture, horticulture, and food-systems education. Since 2010 LDCP has been helping Awbury to plan and expand the programming of this area.
The site was opened to cultivation in the early 2000s and since then development had been allowed to take the path of least resistance. The first step in the planning process was therefore a site inventory identifying extant natural and cultural resources. LDCP then worked with the Awbury Arboretum Landscape Committee to develop a broader, more comprehensive plan for the site: setting aside habitat and areas of significant plant associations, delineating parcels for land use types and for the various partners, and identifying maintenance imperatives.
Planning for the future required working with the existing greenhouse structures, expanding the fields, and centralizing equipment storage. Aspects of the working landscape include crop and orchard areas, composting facilities, a pollinator garden, areas for visitation and teaching.
Awbury’s current partners include the Weavers Way Cooperative, which runs an organic farm on the site, the Philadelphia Orchard Project, the Philadelphia Beekeepers Collaborative, and the newly establish High Point Farm. Awbury Community Neighbors has operated a large community garden on the site since the 1980s.
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