Urban Tree Connection home page


We build community one vacant lot at a time.

The Urban Tree Connection (UTC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that assists low-income urban communities to revitalize their neighborhoods by transforming abandoned open spaces into safe and functional places that inspire and promote positive human interaction.

We work with residents of West Philadelphia's Haddington neighborhood, and increasingly with other low-income communities, to develop community-driven greening and gardening projects on vacant land. Through land revitalization, we help residents become strong leaders, foster deep community cohesion, and ultimately create livable communities.

In Haddington alone, we have converted 29 vacant lots, which had been crime-ridden and trash-strewn eyesores for decades, into a network of community gardens, including a fully functional 3/4-acre urban farm. These sites, and the wide array of educational and community programs we organize on them, are helping to connect neighbors who once were isolated from each other. In addition, the farm and gardens form the backbone of a community-based food system that will make affordable, healthy food available to every neighbor.

What's New at UTC (scroll down for additional stories)

UTC Is On The Move! New Offices Now Open.

We are excited to announce that UTC has moved to new offices at the Philadelphia Business and Technology Center in the West Parkside section of the city. This new location puts us within walking distance of our Neighborhood Foods Farm, and many of our other key program sites. We are also part of a community of like-minded nonprofit organizations and small businesses that have office space at the Business and Technology Center. Our new mailing address is: Urban Tree Connection, 5070 Parkside Avenue, Box 48, Philadelphia, PA 19131. Our physical address (for meetings and packages) is: Urban Tree Connection, Philadelphia Business and Technology Center, 5070 Parkside Avenue, Suite 3500C, Philadelphia, PA 19131. Our phone number remains the same: 215-877-7203.

UTC, Residents, and Philadelphia Housing Authority Break Ground on Farm at Abbottsford Homes

On October 12, UTC staff, Philadelphia Housing Authority President & CEO Kelvin Jeremiah, and residents of all ages gathered to begin construction on a small farm at PHA's Abbottsford Homes site. Under the leadership of UTC Agricultural Director Rachel de Vitry, the group assembled seven 3' x 50' raised farm beds and eight 4' x 10' raised children's beds, then filled them with freshly delivered farm soil. In November, we will build another set of beds, with planting to begin in the Spring. Following our Chester Farm Initiative (featured below), this is UTC's second project developed in direct partnership with a local housing agency. We are very excited about the high level of resident involvement at Abbottsford, where Tenant Council President Greg Brinkley and his fellow Council members have worked closely with UTC and PHA to bring the project to fruition. Check out photos of the event on UTC's Facebook page.

UTC Founder & Executive Director Skip Wiener Recognized as Philadelphia Change Maker

In its latest issue, Grid Magazine identified 10 Philadelphians making change by empowering others and we are excited to announce that UTC Founder & Executive Director Skip Wiener was selected as one of the group! The article includes a great profile of Skip and the neighborhood change he's promoted through Urban Tree Connection.

Urban Tree Connection's Chester Farm Initiative Featured in Inquirer

The Philadelphia Inquirer recently spent a day with UTC Chester Farm Project Manager Terrence Topping-Brown, and the result is a great story on our work at the Ruth Bennett Homes affordable housing complex. To follow the latest developments in Chester, you can also check out Terrence's Ruth Bennett Community Farm Tumblr, which is regularly updated with great photos from the field.

Urban Tree Connection Signs Lease With City For 3 Acres on Merion Avenue!

After years of planning for a proposed farm site at 4789 Merion Avenue, UTC has finally signed a 5-year lease on the 3-acre property with the City of Philadelphia. The lease allows UTC to move forward with infrastructure development on the site, and will dramatically increase our farm production capacity over time. Click here to read more about the exciting Merion Avenue project on our blog!