Homewood Sunflower Project

Program Area: ReClaim

Topic: Community Engagement, Vacant Land, Youth

Year: 2013

Neighborhood: Homewood

In 2013, we planted our largest sunflower project to date in partnership with Operation Better Block and The Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon. Operation Better Block’s Junior Green Corps assisting in greening up a lot located on Frankstown and Collier in Homewood. The plantings totaled more than 11,000 sqaure feet.

The first sunflower garden done in partnership with The Pittsburgh Dick’s Sporting Goods Marathon was back in 2011. Unified in the mission of greening the route,  the initial pilot project was at Mile 17, near the Homewood Neighborhood Festival. GTECH partnered with Operation Better Block (OBB) and their youth program, the Jr. Green Corps to green a vacant lot along the course. The project was supported by a generous donation from Nathan’s Sports Gear.

On marathon day, GTECH, OBB and volunteers worked as Pittsburgh Marathon runners passed by.  Over the summer and fall, GTECH worked with OBB to plant, maintain, and harvest sunflowers on this vacant lot.  GTECH also taught the Jr. Green Corps about Land Use, Community Greening, Green Jobs and the Green Economy.

Homewood Sunflowers

(2013) Operation Better Block's Junior Green Corp (JGC) taking ownership of these blocks of vacant land.

JGC prepping the soil .

This site has been reclaimed!

Sunflowers beginning to grow.

Pittsburgh's largest urban sunflower field

Sunflowers in full bloom

Sunflowers in full bloom


SUSTAINABILITY: Youth plant giant sunflower garden  Homewood Nation | June 9, 2013

It’s a gray morning in Homewood, and cool for a Saturday in June. But that may be all to the good for a crew of about twenty people who might otherwise be hot and sweaty by now. They’re working in a half-acre stretch of vacant land in the 7400 block of Frankstown Ave., planting sunflower seeds… [read more]


The 2013 Homewood Sunflower Garden has helped over a dozen youth through Operation Better Block’s Jr. Green Corps get hands on experience and environmental education growing and managing over 11,000 square feet of sunflowers on a vacant lot. We hope this vacant lot spurs the Homewood community to imagine a longer-term reuse of the space.


  • Operation Better Block

  • Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon