project leader
Turnaround Community Garden Alliance .
South 58th Street
(West Philadelphia)
latest update rss
Progress Report post first IOBY campaign: Almost Ready For Launch!

the project

Thank you to everyone who supported this fundraiser! Please click here for updates about this project!

Help us fund our very first Community Garden project in West Philadelphia!

We recently founded Turnaround Community Garden Alliance (TCGA) to help empower the lives of vulnerable families in low-income neighborhoods. We need your help to make this happen!  Our program’s focus is reclaiming existing vacant lots in underserved neighborhoods, turning them into community gardens, working hand in hand with the local community to promote healthy eating, healing, community engagement, and neighborhood pride.

Our Turnaround Community Gardens will offer Five Primary Pillars as the foundation for a self-sufficient, successful future. Working with our established social services partners, we will orchestrate direct, on-going access to:

1)     Healthy food options and hunger relief

2)     New job skills and employment

3)     Healthcare possibilities with one-on-one guidance

4)     Childhood and adult literacy resources

5)     Art and Music Programs

Your donation enables us to launch our very first Turnaround Community Garden located in West Philadelphia, covering the costs of our project manager/team leader, lumber, mulch, proper soil, liability insurance, transportation of New York City volunteers to the Philadelphia site and treats for the on-site volunteers working in the cold winter months.

Our vacant lot “Transformation Team” will bring folks in the neighborhood together with justice-involved youth who will work alongside the locals.  These young boys and girls will learn job skills and team work from our leadership team and the locals themselves, as well as the value of being part of a larger family community, all working together to create a better, more secure life.

the steps

  • November 10:                 Site final review and walkthrough with project manager and on site team 
  • December 26-30:            Clean out entire lot: Demolition/Hazard Waste Removal /Soil Testing
  • January 3 - 5:                  Create new lot foundation to support/cultivate the garden
  • January 6 -10:                 Build raised garden boxes, tool shed and compost bin
  • January 13 - 16:              Prepare soil, protect garden beds for Winter in anticipation of Spring planting

why we're doing it

We are grassroots volunteers who, over many election-cycles, canvassed marginalized neighborhoods in Philadelphia and New York seeking support for our candidates and causes. We grew increasingly distressed by the unchanging, deprivation of the locals we visited and pledged to do something to let these people know that they are not forgotten and to foster lasting, tangible and meaningful improvement in their lives.

We formed the Turnaround Community Garden Alliance, an-actions-speak-louder-than-words initiative to earn the trust of the locals by getting our own hands dirty,  in tandem with the locals, transforming unused properties into productive community gardens, helping them to help themselves.  The gardens will be magnets to draw social services to each site on a regular basis. This clears the way for aid agencies to identify their constituents, listen to their specific needs and see to it these needs are met.

Turnaround Community Garden will be a scalable model, offering an adaptable roadmap for regular folks to proactively band together and reach out to others with less.  By working side by side for a shared goal, we believe we can clear a path towards rebuilding mutual trust and healing among individuals.



Disbursed Budget (as of 12.27.17):

We raised a little less than expected and will put our first round of donations to work as follows:

  • A + W Solutions (clearing of lot and liaising trash pick up) $300.00
  • Soil   $32.00 per yard        $800.00
  • TCGA Team car rental: 4 trips – SUV ($125 p/d)                   $500.00
  • Balance in reserve for sales tax and other adjustments    $71.30

RAISED = $1,840.00
less ioby Platform Fee  $35.00
less ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $83.56
less ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $50.14

Original Budget:

$6500 Total Ask


Michael Young per/day stipend: $300

Based upon 1 site visit per week x 3 months to get garden launched                      $3600


1. 6 pitchforks   $25.00 ea -                                                                                        $150

2. 6 pan head shovels  + flat shovels:  $11.00 each                                                   $70

3. 1 wheelbarrow (ideally two-wheeled version)   $90.00 ea

4. 3 boxes of heavy duty plastic garbage bags                                                           $50

5. Gloves, masks, hand sanitizers for the number of volunteers


1. Hammers  $12.00 ea                                                                                              $100

2. Drills  $45 ea + 12.00 bits set                                                                                 $200

3. Measuring tapes  $10.00                                                                                        $50

4. Circular saw  $100.00                                                                                             $100

5. 3" screws

6. 3" deck screws

7. Lumber  $35 per double bed                                                                                   $400

GARDENING (Phase Three)  (20 x 30 x 12”  - 22 cu yard of soil) 

1. Soil   $32.00 per yard                                                                                              $800

2. Seeds

3. Trowels (hand shovels)  $7.00 ea                                                                             $100


12 round trips                                                                                                             $1000

ioby Platform Fee  $35
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $325
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $195
TOTAL TO RAISE ON ioby= $7,055



Progress Report post first IOBY campaign: Almost Ready For Launch!

We have secured vital and committed local affiliations with John Heinz Wildlife Refuge and A + W Community Solutions who will help us interface with the local community, provide the person-power to keep the project moving, conduct town hall-like meetings in the adjacent recreation center to learn firsthand from the locals how they want to see this garden project take a form that is relevant to them.

The John Heinz Wildlife Refuge is keen to promote programs among Philadelphia’s communities that will inform folks about what to plant for their own livelihood as well as what to plant to support the well-being of migratory species so important to the ecology of our planet.  Our TCGA Garden in West Philadelphia will mark the Refuge’s first step towards achieving their goal.   It’s totally a win-win-win situation!

We are waiting for the City Garden Agreement to be drafted and signed and then are good to go.  That and Mother Nature taking it easy on us in the next couple of weeks so we can prepare the garden and cover the beds in readiness for Spring.



Nearly Ready For Prime Time

We have liaised with our Philly ground team, the City Councilperson Jannie Blackwell, and our key partners.  So all this is lined up.  The final frontier has been securing the requisite liability insurance which should be issued this Friday.  Then, we begin - more details to follow!!!~


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Blake and Linda Gall
  • Linda Morley
  • Dana Cowin
  • Susan & Chip
  • Anonymous
  • Richard B Barthelmes
  • Anonymous
  • F. Michael Perkins
  • Laura Varacchi
  • Steven Abramson
  • Christine L.
  • Steve Sagman
  • Anonymous
  • Deborah J Gaffaney
  • Deb Schiffman
  • Anonymous
  • Manu Iyer