Volunteers work to create Homewood community farm

PITTSBURGH — A vacant lot in Homewood is being transformed into a community garden, providing much needed fresh produce to the people who live there.

Volunteers got to work Saturday morning, drilling garden boxes and moving dirt. Among them, some Chatham University students pitched in to help.

“I like seeing vacant lots used for better purposes than grass and and weeds,” Nick Sirio, Chatham student, said.

It all started as a small community garden on North Braddock Ave. Now expanding from 22 beds to 32 beds, the garden was relocated to a spacious vacant lot just a block away on Susquehanna Street, which will become the new home of the expanded community farm.

“I think that it’s really important how neighborhoods don’t have access to food and grocery stores. Having the community come out and kind of take control of how their sourcing their food and building the community. I think it’s really important,” Jasmine Pope, Chatham student, said.

Rahim Jones with Sankofa Village Community Farms spearheaded the project, and said the location will include storage beds, a greenhouse and an underground irrigation system. Also included in the plans is a garden for autistic children.

He said there is no healthy food close by — and this will fill that void.

“This will benefit the people who live here. The people across the street they can wake up in the morning and might want to salad and just come out here and grab yourself something. And all we ask is that people respect the farm. Respect the garden,” Jones said.

There is no charge from the program, which is funded through grants.

The farm is expected to be finished in May.