A Better Education Starts With Food

photo courtesy of: Fresh Start Farm
Fresh Start Farm at The Bragg Nature Center is an initiative of the Baltimore City Public School System to engage students in healthy school menu planning through food and health education, hands-on seed-to-table food experiences and vocational training. This is part of a larger mission to relocate Baltimore’s central kitchen from Brooklyn to Baltimore, source school lunch ingredients from Maryland farms, reopen school kitchens and reinforce that student health is critical to student education. Fresh Start Farms is planned to be part of a national model for farm to school programs as well as a sustainable, organic, teaching farm for Baltimore school children.
This year we are working with students on field trips, student apprentices and student employees to grow two acres of vegetables, establish a one acre orchard, raise pigs, laying hens, honeybees, composting worms, mushrooms and several other symbiotic living systems. We will be building an outdoor oven, tent platforms, beehives, portable chicken shelters, rainwater collection infrastructure, vermicomposting infrastructure, demonstration raised-bed gardens, and planning green renovations for the entire thirty-three acre farm and its seven historic stone buildings.

The Bragg Nature Center has a rich history of agriculture, nature study, education, vocational training, and community dating back to the early 20th century. It is named in honor of the Reverend George Bragg – the statesman, writer, and founder of the Maryland Home for Friendless Colored Orphans – who transferred the property to Baltimore City Public Schools in the 1950’s. Fresh Start Farm is the most recent chapter in the storied history of this land.

For those of you who have had the opportunity to walk around our thirty three acre site, you might have noticed that most of the things you picture on a farm aren’t here, yet. However, the most important thing is here already – passionate people. Working side-by-side with students and community members, we are preparing the farm for the explosion of life hinted at above. In fact, as I write this our first vegetable and greenhouse plantings are just a couple of weeks away! January and February are months of all-hands-on-deck projects like clearing fields, identifying trees and organizing indoor spaces. We are always looking for more skilled and passionate people to join our effort with their hands, donations and knowledge. If you would like to be added to Fresh Start Farm’s volunteer or supporter lists, please contact us at gregory.strella@gmail.com

-Gregory Strella

Produce Coordinator
Fresh Food Baltimore

717 350.3730 (mobile)
410 614.5353 (The Men’s Center)


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