By Ann Shields
March 01, 2011

Planters, the peanut and snack company, has announced plans to create small, branded, green spaces on unused plots of land in San Francisco, New Orleans, NYC, and Washington, D.C.

The Planters Groves, as they’ll be called, will be created and maintained in cooperation with the Corps Network, an organization of young urban workers and volunteers. The public/private partnership has engaged Ken Smith, a visionary and often whimsical landscape architect, to help design the Planters Groves, and will cooperate with community groups on long-term maintenance and seasonal plantings.

Each park will include a bench featuring a seated Mr. Peanut statue and will enjoy occasional visits from the Planters Nutmobile (which, impressively, is built from reclaimed wood and truck parts, runs on biodiesel, and when parked, is powered by solar panels and a wind turbine).

While I am normally allergic to corporate branding in public spaces, there’s much to recommend this particular project: a serious commitment to the environment and to the community tempered by a goofy sense of humor.

Ann Shields is Online Senior Editor at Travel + Leisure.