MOSAIC C.L.T. Hires New Community Gardens Manager, Laura Washington

laura-washingtonPottstown, Pa. – Mosaic CLT is pleased to welcome Laura Washington as its new Community Garden Manager.  Laura has been on a lifelong journey to eat well, live well and make every concession to live a natural, wholesome lifestyle.  A big part of that journey revolves around the foods that she and her family enjoy.  Laura completed a 9-month Homestead Herbalism Course and certification at the Farm at Coventry in Pottstown.

The course was a turning point in her view of life and the reality that the earth provides everything we need to live a life that is kinder and gentler to the environment and one another.

Last year, Laura was an active member of the Mosaic Community Gardens at 423 Chestnut St. She held seminars, demonstrations and assisted with volunteer activities while tending to her own plot and those of others.

Laura has this to say about her experience of the gardens last year:

“I captured the essence of what a community garden is made of: amazing people who share and care about the environment, each other and what they grow and eat.”

A big “thank you” to all the amazing applicants for this position!

We consider it fortunate to have had the opportunity to interview so many qualified candidates.  It was a tough decision.  However, we enjoyed the process and especially speaking with each and every one of you and, (some of you twice).

Again, thank you so much and we hope you’ll be part of the gardens this year to help further create community and share your knowledge with others.

Laura’s qualifications, in the end, were the perfect match for our mission of creating neighborhood, gardening and promoting healthy choices.  As a volunteer, during our first season, Laura made a big impact on all who had the joyful opportunity to spend time with her in the gardens.

Conshohocken Community Garden Gives Borough Grand Green Makeover

Location of Conshohocken in Montgomery County

Location of Conshohocken in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CONSHOHOCKEN, PA — Hey Conshy, how does your garden grow?

Last spring, while the rest of us were procrastinating on that mythical vegetable garden we swore we’d finally get around to planting, those early birds at the Conshohocken Community Garden were busy tilling the organically fertilized soil and getting their cucumber seeds and tomato plants into the earth where they needed to be.

And now they’re reaping the harvest.

Practically everything’s growing like crazy here at 411 E. Elm Street — c’mon, cantaloupes, what’re you waiting for? — on what was for decades an eyesore of a vacant lot.

Read more:

MOSAIC Community Land Trust To Hold Artist Reception This Saturday In Pottstown‏

Pottstown, Pa. – Local photographer Sharon K. Merkel will be on hand at MOSAIC Gallery, 10 S. Hanover Street in Pottstown, this Saturday, July 21 from 6-8 pm.  All are welcome to attend this free reception.

Ms. Merkel’s work is on view now at the gallery along with the paintings of Sharon McGinley in MOSAIC’s latest show, Nurturing Hope.  The show highlights the beauty in nature and in urban spaces, much like a community garden.  MOSAIC Community Land Trust, which runs the gallery, built Pottstown’s first community garden at 423 Chestnut Street this past spring.  Gardeners are now realizing the fruits of their labor at the garden site.

In the artist’s statement on her website, Ms. Merkel says, “My photographic work looks at my world with a very direct approach.  Photography is the art of exclusion – knowing what to include and what to leave out to create the correct balance and narrative.”  Her photos of urban buildings and barns often feature intersections with a brilliant sky or a lone tree.  Several prints of industrial buildings in Pottstown are included and for sale at MOSAIC Gallery.

MOSAIC receives a standard 30% commission on all art sales, so a purchase not only supports these local artists, but also the community garden, arts, and affordable housing mission of MOSAIC Community Land Trust.

This show is being curated by MOSAIC summer interns Amanda Hoffman and Blake Wrigley, who spent their early years in Pottstown and graduated from Boyertown High School.  Blake is a recent graduate of Messiah College and Amanda is a senior art major there.

Nurturing Hope will run through July 28. The MOSAIC gallery is located at 10 S. Hanover Street in Pottstown. Regular gallery hours are Thursday-Saturday from 4-7 pm. MOSAIC’s website is  Sharon Merkel’s website is

Mosaic Community Garden – Pottstown’s Hidden Jewel On Chestnut Street

Pottstown, PA – I was given a tour of the new Community Garden on Chestnut Street yesterday by Katy Jackson.  The garden was formerly a broken down playground full of weeds, drug dealers and hookers.  The school district and the borough worked with Mosaic to make this project happen.  It is now a source of pride and a stabilizing factor in the neighborhood.

The large space was cleared and has been subdivided into 34 individual plots that people are using to grow their own vegetables.  There is also a flower garden near the front entrance, a patio area and a common gathering area in the rear.  An amphitheater is being constructed for lectures and programs.  There is a shed full of tools, three hoses for water and several adult and child picnic tables.  In addition, there is a composter in the rear of the property that will be brought back into working order so that gardeners can all contribute to the communal composter.

There is an educational component to the garden as well as the ability to grow one’s own food.  There is art programming at the garden this summer in conjunction with the Olivet Boys & Girls Club/Ricketts Center.  20-25 children are attending.  The children have painted the benches the past three Thursday mornings and this Thursday they are gathering at the garden to paint bird houses.

There is special kids pizza garden and a middle school garden.

People are harvesting green beans, lettuce, yellow squash and tomatoes.

This Saturday, July 14th, there is a composting workshop at the garden.  Lectures will be given on traditional composting and worm composting.  This workshop runs from 9am to 11am.  The presenters will be Laura Washington and Scott Winter.

Future plans include selling produce grown from the garden and additional community garden sites being added in Pottstown.  There are many volunteers who have put hours of sweat equity into making this garden a huge success.  They should all be commended!

For more information about the tremendous project, click here:

Urban Gardening In Philadelphia Teaches Kids Life Skills

This story could be repeated in Pottstown.  The Mosaic Community Land Trust will be doing a community garden here in Pottstown and these great results could be replicated in our own community.

Watch the short but inspiring video:

Urban Gardening In Pittsburgh And The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

Pittsburgh is leading the way into the “green” and sustainable lifestyle for a big city.  An ambitious project, that has been 20 years in the making, is the transformation of a former mining site, mostly in North Fayette Township, into a community garden.  Talk about taking lemons and making lemonade!

The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is a work in progress.  The finished project will be 450 acres of public garden.  Yes, you read that correctly 450 acres!  It is hoped the Botanic Garden will attract a minimum of 300,000 visitors per year.  This Botanic Garden has another ten years to go before completion and will end up costing $30 million.  Phase One, which is expected to open in 2012, will be the Wildflower and Woodland Trail.  The Botanic Garden will be 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh.

The leftover coal extracted from the site is being sold to help pay for the $7.9 million clean up.  Grants have been received from various organizations to help pay for projects over the years.

One of the fundraising methods being used for the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is the annual Pittsburgh Botanic Garden’s Town & Country Open Garden Day Tour.  The tour, which is in its 14th year, raises much needed money for the Botanic Garden project.  The tour features 14 gardens.  Six of the 14 gardens are located in Pittsburgh’s Southside neighborhood.  The Southside is an urban neighborhood of densely packed homes with small lots.  Not exactly an area most people would think of as a garden paradise.

In addition to the Southside, the tour also visits Sewickley, Observatory Hill, Brighton Heights and Ben Avon.  You can take a bus tour or the less expensive self-guided tour.  There are two rooftop gardens on the tour this year!  The gardens are a mixture of urban, suburban, large, small, formal and informal – a little something for everyone.

The tour is Sunday, June 26th from 9 – 5.  The bus leaves at 8:30 a.m.  The bus tour, which includes lunch (Andora’s), is $110.  The self-guided tour is $50.  There is a $10 discount for members.  The deadline to buy tickets is Tuesday, June 21st.  Tickets can be purchased online or at several locations listed on the website.

The bus departure and drop-off point is the PSI Building, 850 Poplar St., Green Tree.

For more details visit the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden website:

Or call (412) 444-4464

Watch a video about the reclamation process at the Botanic Garden site!

4-H Helps Urban Areas Go Green – Harrisburg’s Allison Hill Neighborhood

This project is a 4-H educational outreach program of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. The program was initiated by Dauphin County cooperative extension to address the specific needs of urban and inner-city youth.