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Former high school stadium in Harrisburg being transformed into community garden

It's the vision of two high school friends, Kerry MacDearmid and Amahl Pitts, to create a healthier Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The empty Bishop McDevitt High School stadium in Harrisburg is getting new life.

“We started looking around at some of the vacant lots in the city and started talking about how we could help the city learn how to grow their own food,” said Kerry MacDearmid, chief operating officer of Harrisburg City Farm.

The farm is the brainchild of MacDearmid and Amahl Pitts – two high school friends with one vision – a healthier Harrisburg.

“We’re very concerned about people’s nutritional health and we know it can improve life tremendously when people eat right,” said MacDearmid.

So the pair created the Harrisburg City Farm project.

In a matter of months, the old stadium bleachers will turn into a garden filled with more than 50 different vegetables.

“There’s local community gardens but nothing on this scale honestly and particularly, when we’re done the design of this, there’s going to be nothing like it anywhere,” said Amahl Pitts, chief executive officer of Harrisburg City Farm.

The hope is to sponsor food giveaways and a weekly farmer’s market.

Both initiatives will provide local families with nutritious food.

“Something that’s very, very important to us is for the maximum amount of people to be able to access this food so it’s really important to us that we keep our prices low,” said MacDearmid.

The garden will feature vegetables which represent the many different cultures which are alive and well in Harrisburg.

Project leaders also want it to be a way for families to learn about growing their own food.

“Even if you only have a window, even if you don’t have a yard, you can still grow some of your own food so that’s what we’d really like to teach people because there are things people can do that can not only save them money, but better their health, and their children’s health,” explained MacDearmid.

The project is a true community effort, as anyone can come out on weekends and volunteer.

Organizers say it’s just the first part of a full transformation of the Bishop McDevitt campus into an eco-village community center.

“When this is all said and done, it’s going to be pretty spectacular,” said Pitts.

Harrisburg City Farm is looking for donations for the project:

- Wheelbarrows

- Five-gallon buckets with sturdy handles

- Watering cans

- 400 ft. of 1/2" garden hose

- Harvest equipment like containers and buckets

- Materials for water catchment system

- Fencing materials for chain link security fence

- Pallet of organic granular fertilizer (Espoma Plant Tone)

- 100-gallon tote of fish fertilizer

- Electric fence supplies

- Monetary donations

- Volunteers and sponsors

If you have anything to donate, you can contact the group through the Harrisburg City Farm Facebook page.

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