Posted by: MM | October 28, 2011

Pro bono legal services for community gardeners in Philly

Longtime community organizer Amy Laura Cahn is working with the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia’s new Garden Justice Legal Initiative to provide pro bono legal services to support to protect urban gardens. HAYDEN MITMAN/STAR PHOTOHere is an excellent resource for Philly’s guerrilla gardeners.

The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia’s new Garden Justice Legal Initiative, a program headed up by Amy Laura Cahn, provides pro bono legal services as well as research and support to protect community gardens in Philadelphia.

Hayden Mitman of The Northeast Times Star has recently interviewed Amy,  who is a longtime community organizer and lawyer.

“She said advocacy is needed to protect these urban [community] resources because gardens allow neighbors to care for their community, especially in places where speculators or absentee landlords leave lots vacant for years. Such spaces can quickly become frequently used for prostitution or drug use. In Kensington, Cahn said, she’s working with a resident who has tended a community garden for 32 years. The community has never gained permission to use the land from the private owner… She’s working to help provide security for gardeners in these situations. But security for the community gardener can be tricky, she said, because every garden has various zoning, ownership, employment and liability issues. But, in a city with more than 40,000 vacant lots, Cahn said, community gardens create such value for local residents that they need to be saved. Just how that gets done is complicated, too.”

Read the interview



  1. hi mrs. cahn, i am attempting to reach out to you to express interest in your assistance in establishing a wonderful state of the art community garden in the Eastwick / Southwest Philly area of the city. I am a public servant for the city and volunteer countless hours with youth and elderly programs as well a registered block captain in my community. I cant find any email to directly contact you so using this platform to do so. Please contact me at at your earliest convinence and thanks for your dedication to the public for quality food sources and many other things you have been committed to. god bless
    Mr. Victor

  2. Thanks for your post, Mr. Victor McKnight. I’ll forward your message to Ms. Cahn. – MM

  3. The idea of a community garden in a vacant lot owned by a inattentive landlord is a difficult issue indeed. The owners of these lots really have no responsibility to do anything with them, but the communities in question truly do have good use for them. These lots are presumably not doing anything good for the owner of the land, perhaps it wouldn’t be so difficult to work out a deal, especially if it was a community effort. It’s good to see a professional dedicating time and energy to this cause.

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