As the sun rises over West Philly, a quiet hum of work is under way at the Growing Together Garden at 25th and Reed Streets. Tomorrow is market day at the Nationalities Service Center (NSC), Philly’s largest refugee-resettlement agency, and there’s much to be done. Beets are picked and arranged, bright like gems. Orange, yellow and bright-purple carrots are gathered into bunches.
Outside the locked gates of the 2.8-acre expanse, freight trains rumble by and the city awakens. Folks gather outside the N-Motion barbershop, talking over chirping work trucks. Kids in uniforms amble off to classes. The garden is an oasis below the 25th Street Viaduct—and between the organically tended beds, more is happening than meets the eye.