An empty lot, rare in the center of Philadelphia’s business district, has suddenly transformed from grass and weeds to 32,000 square feet of produce, flowers, and trees. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), Independence Blue Cross (IBC), and Brandywine Realty Trust introduce “PHS Pops Up” at 20th and Market Streets, a showcase for PHS’s community greening program and for IBC’s commitment to the health of our community.
“Independence Blue Cross is excited to partner with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society on this project that combines greening and improving the community’s health in a unique way,” said Daniel J. Hilferty, president and CEO of IBC. “The pop up garden beautifies this Market Street corner and offers an original way for thousands of workers, residents, students, and families to learn more about nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. We hope people take advantage of this fun and engaging garden and incorporate what they learn into their everyday lives.
At the pop-up garden, PHS is growing vegetables, herbs, grains, and uniquely manicured topiaries to garner support and awareness for its City Harvest program, which provides fresh produce for underserved residents.
The garden will be open to the public every Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 2 p.m. throughout the summer and early fall, when free, on-site programming will include horticultural workshops on container gardening, cut flowers, organic pest control and other topics. Tours, special events and family programs are also planned at the garden throughout the summer and early fall. A complete listing of activities is available at PHSonline.org.
Independence Blue Cross (IBC) presents “Yoga and Nutrition in the Garden,” a FREE healthy eating and yoga foundations class for the public that offers a break from the ordinary day – in the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s (PHS) Pops Up Garden at 20th and Market Streets. Sessions will be offered on three consecutive Mondays: August 15, 22, and 29 over lunchtime. The garden will be dismantled in late October, but will bloom again next spring in a new location.
Members of the public are invited to enjoy the peaceful environment of the Pops Up Garden for a brief nutrition presentation and discussion beginning at 12:30 p.m., followed by a half-hour of standing yoga instruction, starting at 1p.m. Together, these healthy education elements, part of the IBX Healthy Steps program, will provide soothing tranquility and wellness for the mind, body, and spirit.
The classes are free and open to participants of all fitness levels. Participants can experience the physical and mental health benefits associated with gentle yoga and learn simple and effective ways to achieve a smart diet with emphasis on fresh vegetables and herbs.
“Standing yoga can safely stretch your muscle groups and relieve stiffness, tension, and overall fatigue,” said Dr. Richard Snyder, chief medical officer at IBC. “Yoga can also lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate, which can favorably impact the health of those with high blood pressure and heart disease. For many people, standing yoga offers anti-stress benefits as well, so it may be a great mid-day opportunity for center city Philadelphia workers, residents, or visitors.”
The Pops Up Garden offers a great location to learn or practice standing yoga. Focusing on effective yoga breathing techniques as well as precise alignment, standing yoga poses can be done in the comfort of a home garden or just about any exercise space. Participants must be at least 18 years old, must sign a waiver upon arrival, and are advised to bring bottled water. Appropriate shoes and clothing must be worn and yoga mats are not required.