Urban Food Forest and Natural Playscape

Corinthian Gardens makes up the eastern segment of the Eastern State Penitentiary Park, an entirely volunteer-run effort to clean up and improve the derelict exterior grounds of an historic prison. Roots First contributed to this community-oriented process through concept formation, project communication and grant writing.

The vision for the Corinthian Gardens was the establishment of community garden plots at the heart of the space, to be surrounded by a food forest and community orchards. Areas for environmental education and nature play for children were integrated into the food forest itself. We introduced educational components early on in the process, including honeybee hives, butterfly gardens and bird habitat areas, to offer immediate improvements and programming to engage neighbors. Over time, beds of fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, herbs, and nitrogen-fixing and wildlife-attracting perennials were integrated to surround the natural playscape.


Location: Philadelphia, PA

Completion Date: May 2013

Collaborators: CityPlay, Interface Studio

Services Provided

Visioning |Conceptual Design | Grant Writing | Community Engagement

Project Impacts

Integration of opportunities for food growing | Reduction of stormwater runoff | Creation of wildlife habitat | Creation of pollinator habitat | Integration of opportunities for environmental learning