Who We Are
The Hansberry Garden and Nature Center (HGNC) is a community garden and resource for environmental education in the heart of Philadelphia’s Southwest Germantown, located on the corner of Wayne Avenue and Hansberry Street at 5150 Wayne Avenue.
We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization invested in our community through organic gardening, the City Harvest Program of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and educational programs for children and adults. Members are residents of Southwest Germantown.
History, Mission, and Leadership
The history of HGNC began in 1981 with a demonstration garden at 5150 Wayne Avenue funded by a federal grant from the Neighbors Community Program.
In the 1990s the City of Philadelphia razed the house at 5148 Wayne Avenue, making the garden at 5150 impossible to use. Former garden members and neighbors joined in 2001 to develop a vision of a community garden and nature center that would serve the Germantown community. In 2002, the Hansberry Garden & Nature Center Steering Committee was formed and began clearing the land, organizing, and fundraising.
Later that year, Philadelphia Green put up a fence, and raised beds were built with funds from Community Gardens Project. The Hansberry Garden & Nature Center, Inc., became designated a 501(c)(3) organization under federal law in July of 2004. In 2008, 5148 Wayne Avenue was purchased by HGNC, and the city recently turned over the deed to 5148.
The Hansberry Garden and Nature Center will be an educational community resource center for environmental education in the Wayne/Hansberry region of Germantown. The mission of the nature center is to:
- Promote awareness and appreciation of the natural world;
- Promote understanding of the natural cycles and behavior of plants and animals;
- Engender the values and attitudes among people that foster responsible stewardship of our urban environment.
Claudia Ginanni, President
Claudia Ginanni has lived in Southwest Germantown since 2004, joined Hansberry Garden and Nature Center in 2013, and has learned a great deal about raised-bed gardening from fellow gardeners. She takes pride in raising vigorous tomato seedlings with big, fat, hairy stems. An enthusiastic cook who loves heirloom vegetables, she enjoys experimenting with various kinds of home fermentation. In 2022, she became a founding member of HGNC’s Gardening Collective.
Dennis Barnebey, Kelly Green Project Lead
Dennis Barnebey is a 40-year resident of southwest Germantown. After 32 years at the Philadelphia School District, Dennis spent seven years working for the child-advocacy organization Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), focusing on education issues. In 2010, Dennis became an active member of HGNC and is currently chairing the Kelly Green initiative.
Sarah M. Getz, Treasurer
Sarah Getz, who identifies herself as the Hippie Accountant, is a veteran of the nonprofit universe with over 25 years of experience in finance, human resources and bookkeeping for the greater good. A longtime resident of Germantown and an avid gardener, she has recently moved to a house within walking distance of Hansberry Garden. She looks forward to tending its books with the same care she lavishes on the cherry tomatoes she plants in front of her home to share with passersby.
Dan Crozier, Board Member and Maintenance Chair
Kathy Miller, Board Member and Co-chair of Events and Programs
Kathy Miller was a board member for the first 10 years of HGNC, six as secretary and three as president. For several years she served as co-chair of the Land Use Master Plan Committee, which was commissioned to redesign our garden space to be more useful and beautiful. She is rejoining the Board in gratitude for the wonderful camaraderie, delicious food, and community activism that HGNC inspires. Kathy is a psychologist in private practice, enjoys trying new recipes for healthy food and outrageous desserts, and has been a member of the Philadelphia Women’s Health Collective for 45 years.