PCRG’s Community Development Awards recognize outstanding achievement in the revitalization of urban neighborhoods in Greater Pittsburgh. Any project or program that creates a positive, lasting impact on the physical, social, or cultural fabric of a community is eligible for an award. Examples of eligible projects include community plans, neighborhood-based real estate development, greening and community gardens, and effective community organizing strategies. Any project that restores, preserves, or redevelops a neighborhood is eligible. Nominated projects can be in any phase of completion.
2014 Community Development Award Recipients
Homegrown: Phipps Edible Garden Program
Launched in 2013 to increase access to fresh produce, promote better food choices, and improve the overall health of families and children in Pittsburgh’s underserved neighborhoods, Homegrown is Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ new edible garden outreach program. Homegrown fulfills its goals by installing raised bed vegetable gardens at households in underserved neighborhoods, providing mentorship and resources, and creating a positive and lasting impact on our local communities, one garden at a time. Most importantly, Homegrown trains participants in their first year to become mentors to new participants the following year, building a network of support that will help ensure the program’s long-term success.
Ballfield Farm is a neighborhood project that collectively grows organic food in Pittsburgh’s Perry South neighborhood. In 2008, Mark and Courtney Williams, then staff at The Pittsburgh Project, led an effort to transform an abandoned, overgrown baseball field into a small urban farm that produces fruit, vegetables, and herbs. Seven years later, the farm is now a completely volunteer-run effort, led by a leadership team including Charles Chapman, Dawn Cicchini, Gavin Deming, Carol Gonzalez, Andy Moore, and Mark and Courtney Williams. Unlike many community gardens where members have individual plots they maintain amongst other plots, Ballfield Farm’s members work cooperatively to tend to the whole growing space, enabling them to share in the entire harvest, providing a bounty of fresh food for their own families as well as neighbors in need. As of April 2014, more than 30 households participate in this community-building venture.