Photo courtesy of Grow Pittsburgh.

It’s still winter, but things are already blooming in Wilkinsburg.

Garden Dreams Urban Farm & Nursery, a small oasis at 806 Holland Ave., is now owned by the Allegheny Land Trust and will be operated by the nonprofit organization Grow Pittsburgh.

Wilkinsburg resident Mindy Schwartz, co-founder of Grow Pittsburgh, created the three-quarters-of-an-acre green space nearly 20 years ago. She cobbled together several vacant lots by her home and remediated the soil to literally plant the seeds of change in the community.

It’s a place where folks can stock up on fruits, vegetables, organic gardening supplies and seedlings, which start out in the garden’s licensed basement greenhouse before moving above ground to hoop houses made of reused materials.

Although she’s moving to Maine, Schwartz is making sure her dreams (and garden staff) will continue to thrive in Pittsburgh.

“By donating her property to our partners at the Allegheny Land Trust, she has made an amazing gift that will preserve it as an agricultural asset for generations to come,” says Jake Seltman, executive director of Grow Pittsburgh. “The donation speaks to her long-standing belief in the benefits of urban food production.”

Grow Pittsburgh serves as a resource for backyard, school and community gardeners. It also runs agricultural sites such as Braddock Farms in Braddock and Shiloh Farm in North Point Breeze, as well as a greenhouse spot at The Frick Pittsburgh.

Seltman says the group has big plans for Garden Dreams. Projects include building a year-round, climate-controlled greenhouse, offering community gathering space, adding more garden beds on an adjoining lot, launching a workshare program and expanding educational outreach.

In the meantime, Grow Pittsburgh wants people to think spring.

On April 18 from noon to 3 p.m., Garden Dreams will host an open house to kick off the growing season and celebrate all the great things blossoming in Wilkinsburg.

“We want to talk to neighbors and customers and gardeners to hear what they love about Garden Dreams and what they want to see happen here,” Seltman says.

Kristy Locklin

Kristy Locklin is a North Hills-based writer. When she's not busy reporting, she enjoys watching horror movies and exploring Pittsburgh's craft beer scene.