[image credit: camdenchildrensgarden.org]
Vacant public land can become a burden to the city
With the announced closure of the Pathmark in the city’s Fairview neighborhood, Camden will soon be without any full-service grocery store at all within its borders, making what is already considered to be a “food desert” even more barren.
As the planned ShopRite on Admiral Wilson Boulevard isn’t slated to open until 2015, the grocery’s closing in the coming months means residents who can’t easily leave the area will be forced to rely even more heavily on the city’s more than 100 community gardens — where residents and organizations are turning vacant lots into islands of fresh produce.
Solution: Convert it into public gardens
Garden Club members maintain productive community gardens on vacant, city-owned lots or on lots affiliated with community centers or faith-based groups. A study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Public Health Initiatives, which has been researching the community gardens in Camden since at least 2009, found that the gardens produced the equivalent of $2.3 million in food last year
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