The Iglesias Gardens aim to preserve a space for the people. Through providing multigenerational activities for our community, creating harmony and balance with local ecosystems, and growing edible fruits and vegetables and plant medicine, we pay tribute to stolen land and develop a network of support for our future generations. The work of Iglesias Gardens builds and defends resilient communities
The Philly Socialists first established the Iglesias Garden in 2012 by taking over unused land and transforming it into a collective garden and park space. The garden is named after the playwright, labor organizer, and president of the Puerto Rican Communist Party, César Iglesias, and in honor of the immigrant Puerto Rican and Latinx community that live in the neighborhood.
Our neighborhood is not for sale
Today the Iglesias Gardens is a multi-racial, multi-generational community of growers and activists creating a space to gather, garden, and organize in. Developers have targeted our neighborhood over the past few years. In response, we banded together to fight for community control of the land. In summer 2020, when a housing development project threatened to flip 40+ vacant lots in our 3-block radius into market-rate condos, we shut it down. When city council proposed a developer-friendly spot zoning bill, we killed the bill. We continue to fight back against developers who have damaged and destroyed homes in the neighborhood. We continue to fight for community gardens AND affordable housing. (When we say affordable, we mean affordable for folks in our neighborhood.)
Iglesias Gardens, plural
The Cesar Andreú Iglesias Garden is more than a community garden. It is also a neighborhood organizing project. As gentrification threatened our garden, it also threatened our neighborhood as a whole. We have fought together for not just the land our garden sits on, but for the gardens and side lots of a neighbors. We have what we call a “jig saw garden,” where our plots are a bit scattered, but tied together by neighbors. Our beautiful community is filled with folks who have kept gardens for decades. We fought together to preserve them.
The Iglesias Garden is home to many sculptures done by Philadelphia artist and garden member, Cesar Viveros. His sculptures honor the earth, fire, soil, water, and wind that breathe life in the garden. The sculptures are inspired by indigenous Aztec culture.