A garden, a redevelopment plan, and a fight over who owns a neighborhood

Tommy Joshua, one of the founders of the North Philly Peace Park, gets ready to plant vegetables. (Brad Larrison/for NewsWorks)

Tommy Joshua, one of the founders of the North Philly Peace Park, gets ready to plant vegetables. (Brad Larrison/for NewsWorks)

A vacant lot in a city becomes a dumping ground. Somebody decides to fix it up and grow a garden or open a little shop. Years pass, and then the owner comes back.

Often, the people who’ve been tending the land believe they should have some rights to it.

That can lead to some heated moments. Like when Tommy Joshua showed up at a community meeting to find out the North Philly Peace Park was about to get swept up in a half-billion dollar redevelopment plan by the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

“I remember them telling them, flatly, ‘We don’t accept that,'” Joshua said. “‘The Peace Park is there, so y’all not gonna be able to build there.'”

More in this story, reported for Keystone Crossroads.