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.
Learn more about Our Plans and Partners.
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:
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.
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.
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.