Preston’s Paradise is an all-volunteer community resilience project based in the Belmont neighborhood of West Philadelphia. We focus on building local food and health sustainability through strengths-based recognition of community resources.
Preston’s Paradise is committed mainly to projects that have roots in the history or passions of its participants. Much of our work is related to community food production because agricultural traditions are shared by many of the individuals in our neighborhood, and indeed by the neighborhood itself through a long legacy of community gardens and produce sharing. We are a part of continuing those traditions in ways that are accessible, appropriate, and sustainable. With food as the common root, Preston’s Paradise engages a neighborhood in assessing strengths, identifying resources, and crafting individual approaches to community health.
Past and present projects include:
- a weekly Farm Stand to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables
- our community meals series featuring local chefs with local ingredients
- organizing weekly trash clean-ups
- facilitating mural painting and graffiti removal projects
- supplying vegetable and flower starts to neighborhood green spaces
- hosting workshops in approachable technology, environmental stewardship, and self-sufficiency
- operating a demonstration homestead site featuring the city's first functional greywater system; passive and active solar utilization, an intensive backyard food production site, permaculture orchard, alternative heating systems, material reuse, and environmentally friendly building products
- urban agriculture and natural building consultation and building services, and
- supporting the OURfarms backyard agriculture community, and the Edible Belmont food resource project
But what about the name? Who is Preston?
A few years ago, after a community clean-up event, some Belmont neighbors on Preston Street were sitting around admiring a block reborn, and a common sentiment emerged - “This is like paradise”. And so, when we decided that we could play a role in spreading that feeling to additional blocks, the vision of the Preston Street Paradise was born. That name got quickly shortened in the the street to Preston's Paradise. But we're not limited by our name. Although we do focus our events and outreach to our immediate community, we've helped neighbors all over this great city.
Everyone is welcome at our events, which are almost always family friendly. All of our work is dependent on heavy community involvement, so we encourage you to get involved however you can. Join our events listserve through the subscription box above or by clicking on the RSS feed icon. Or you can find us on Facebook!
Using our bodies, sharing our food - simple things that unite us all.