In honor of Green Week Baltimore I wanted to highlight a few important efforts that I’ve come across in the past couple of months. The MTA of Maryland has implemented a Green Facts page on their website. This interactive page provides information on all the energy alternatives which are taking place within our Mass Transit system. We currently have 10 hybrid diesel-electric buses and coming soon are some 100% biodiesel conversions and much more. Parks and People Foundation of Baltimore has created the Community Greening Resource Network (CGREN) , a membership program supporting Baltimore City community gardeners with materials like seeds, plants, tools, and educational hand-outs and downloadable PDFs. There are a list of upcoming events and workshops on their calender and ours that include information on composting, rainbarrel systems, etc. This year I’ve signed up to be a member of the Village Green Community Garden in Remington and will be making visits around to as many other community gardens as I can. Check back soon to hear more about the exciting momentum stirring around urban farming city-wide! In addition to active green spaces, the city has also set a goal of increasing its tree canopy from 20 percent to 40 percent. The Growing Home program is an innovative public-private partnership between Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Harford County, 50 local retail nurseries and garden centers, and homeowners to increase the tree canopy in the region by offering homeowners comprehensive education about planting trees and a cash incentive, the $10 Growing Home Tree Coupon redeemable toward the purchase of a qualifying tree with a retail value of at least $25.
I leave you with this quote from critic and urban activist Jane Jacobs, "No one can find what will work for our cities by looking at..suburban garden cities, manipulating scale models, or inventing dream cities. You’ve got to get out and walk." Be the green you wish to see in the world. There are hundreds of ways to get involved. Check our calender for more Green Week Events.
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. Continued
The egg has been an important part of our diet for centuries. Hens have been domesticated in Europe since 600 B.C. and were probably first brought to the New World by Columbus in 1493. Offering 13 essential nutrients, it’s no wonder the egg has remained a staple for this long. According to Mother Earth News, hens raised in a pasture and on a plant-based diet produce eggs that have:
• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene
If you’re finding that free range organic eggs from the store just aren’t the right price, consider owning a few hens. The city allows up to three, as long as they are at least 20-25ft from any one resident. That’s perfect for any row home in Baltimore. I’ll be helping a neighbor build a chicken coop come spring, next to the Remington Village Green Community Garden . Check back in the next couple weeks for more hen info, progress on the coop design and other experiments!
A short email conversation between Alyssa and Roy Skeen from the Village Green Community Garden in Remington.
A : When was the garden started? By? R : Garden was started in 2007 by Megan Beller and Barb Fischer and myself? A : How long have you lived in Remington? R : 8 months A : Was it something you were wanting to do for a long time? R : For about a year. A : Who did and who didn’t have experience in gardening or farming before the project? R : I had grown food for one season prior. A : Did you do any soil testing? R : Yes we did three soil tests. A : Where were you able to get your top soils from? Continued
Description of P Park by: Scott Berzofsky
Participation Park is an ongoing public art project and activist initiative based on converting a vacant lot in east Baltimore into an urban farm, social space, community kitchen, radical planning studio, free store and adventure playground. Against the increasing privatization of public spaces in the city and the top-down forms of urban planning that design them, we are squatting the land and collaborating with neighborhood residents to produce a space that responds to our collective needs and desires. Inspired by movements to ‘reclaim the commons’ and demand a ‘right to the city,’ the park is an experiment in democratic spatial practice, inviting everyone who participates in the use of the space to engage in the political process of shaping it.
Read a short email conversation between Alyssa and Scott….
FARM is devoted to ending the cruel confinement and mutilation of animals in factory farms. Since 1976, FARM is the leader with national grassroots campaigns like the Great American Meatout. Check out their information on animal rights conferences, equal justice alliances or hunger solutions. They even offer a free vegetarian starter kit, just in case.
Located in the historic renovation of Clipper Mill, Woodberry Kitchen offers guests the season’s best from local growers, grounded in "the traditions and ingredients of the Chesapeake Bay." Emphasizing organic meats and sustainable agriculture, they have partnered with more than a dozen local and regional farms to bring Baltimore a truly unique and worthwhile dining experience. Green principles were employed in the design of the space, including the use of salvaged wood and decorative artifacts, as well as daylighting in the kitchen work areas.