Our Mission & Vision

Bartram’s Garden is many things to many people.

It’s a home for horticulture, the first nationally landmarked landscape, and the oldest surviving botanic garden in North America.

It is Sankofa Community Farm, an ancient riverfront, a conversation on food sovereignty, high school internship programs, and a place of untold histories.

At its core, it is a public park spanning nearly 50 acres in the Kingsessing neighborhood of Southwest Philadelphia, offering peace, rest, and connection.

The Garden is operated by the non-profit John Bartram Association in partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation.

Mission & Vision

In 2020, the John Bartram Association Board of Directors adopted the following vision and mission after a 7-month process led by a collaborative committee comprised of board and staff:

Vision

Bartram’s Garden is a place and an aspirational vision for the future, where:

  • Public spaces are centers of welcome, respite, and celebration.
  • Nature and the environment are accessible and inviting to everyone.
  • People decide what happens in their own communities.
  • Historic places seek to repair our fraught legacies.

Mission

The mission of the John Bartram Association is to create equitable relationships among people and nature through immersive, community-driven experiences that activate the Bartram legacy, Garden, and House, on land and on the Schuylkill River, in Southwest Philadelphia.

Organizational History

Building on the rich history of this landscape, the non-profit John Bartram Association was founded in 1893 by descendants of John Bartram to support the City of Philadelphia’s management of Bartram’s Garden as a public park.

For much of the 20th century, the Association functioned in an advisory capacity to Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park Commission, a city agency charged with the management of all public parkland, including Bartram’s Garden. Until the 1930s, this small group was comprised largely of Bartram descendants; the Association’s work focused mostly on planting, restoration of historic buildings, and research on John and William Bartram. Beginning in the late 1970s, the Association took over active management of Bartram’s Garden while continuing to work closely with the City of Philadelphia.

Today, the Garden welcomes more than 100,000 visitors annually, sustained by dedicated volunteer leaders, talented professional staff, and visionary partners.

Learn more about our Shared Histories.

I'm interested in:

Biking & Walking

Birds

Boating & Fishing

Flowers, Plants & Trees

Gardening

History

Kids' Activities

Sankofa Community Farm

Southwest Philadelphia

Water Quality

Workshops, Wellness & Culture

Youth Internships

I'm interested in:

Biking & Walking

Birds

Look up! More than 100 species of birds rely on this ecosystem.

Boating & Fishing

Enjoy all that the Tidal Schuylkill River has to offer.

Flowers, Plants & Trees

See what’s blooming, find a favorite tree, and stroll the gardens and natural lands.

Gardening

Bring the Garden home! Shop for plants and grow your own food.

History

Uncover the interconnected stories of this historic site.

Kids' Activities

Join us year-round to learn, make, share, and wonder.

Sankofa Community Farm

“Go back and get it!” Growing food sovereignty with an African Diaspora focus.

Southwest Philadelphia

Resources and opportunities especially for neighbors in Southwest Philly.

Water Quality

Find our latest data on the river’s bacteria levels and recent rainfall.

Workshops, Wellness & Culture

Enjoy upcoming workshops, self-care, and events. Are you a Southwest artist? Let’s partner!

Youth Internships

Calling Southwest students: paid internships available with the river, the farm, and the trees.