Urban Tree Connection home page



About Us

The Urban Tree Connection (UTC) works to build a neighborhood rooted food and land system through community leadership development and land based strategies in West Philadelphia. Founded in 1989 and incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 1997, UTC works with residents of West Philadelphia's Haddington neighborhood to develop community-driven greening and gardening projects on vacant land. Our aim is to cultivate community leadership, to improve community health and to develop a local, sustainable, and equitable food system

Over the last two decades, UTC has transformed the landscape of Haddington alongside community leaders, catalyzing residents' demand for green space and locally produced fresh food. Together, we have redeveloped 29 vacant lots, totaling more than 86,000 square feet of land for communal growing and gathering, sustainable (chemical free) food production and distribution, and multigenerational health and wellness education. This includes our community gem - a ¾ acre urban farm – Neighborhood Foods Farm, which produces over 6,500 pounds of chemical-free produce annually. Furthermore, UTC has been at the forefront of urban farming and land reclamation movements in Philadelphia, helping pioneer key tools for legal reclamation of abandoned properties.

Neighbors, once isolated from each other, increasingly connect through the gardens created on these formerly abandoned lots, as well as through diverse array of educational and community programs that UTC offers. These personal connections have, in turn, empowered neighbors to continue to transform their community. Today, Haddington residents are increasingly realizing the potential for growing food on abandoned lots in their neighborhood, and are active partners with UTC in developing a community based local food system aimed at making affordable, healthy, Haddington-grown food available to every neighbor. This community-based food system presents a powerful antidote to food insecurity and diet-related illnesses faced by residents.



Board of Directors

India Blunt UTC Board Chair
Program Manager, Department of Human Services

Shane Mayo Treasurer
Manager of Administrative Services, Philadelphia Gas Works

David Cruz Secretary
Residential Life, Temple University

Tamar Sharabi
Engineer II, Field Services, Philadelphia Gas Works

Tara Rose Brown
Child Advocate Social Worker, Support Center for Child Advocates

Noelle Warford
Executive Director, Urban Tree Connection

Our Staff

Noelle Warford, Executive Director
noelle@urbantreeconnection.org

Nykisha Madison, Farm Manager
nykisha@urbantreeconnection.org

Jen Ruiz, Office Manager
jen@urbantreeconnection.org

Michael Jones, Community Land Stewardship Coordinator
mike@urbantreeconnection.org

Marissa York, Community Education Coordinator
marissa@urbantreeconnection.org

Devin Esch, Food Distribution Coordinator
devin@urbantreeconnection.org

Ryan Mathews, Lead Farmer
ryan@urbantreeconnection.org