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.
Other urban farming/gardening resources:
Fresh Start Farm
"VoiCeS , which began in 2004, creates a deeper understanding of the Bay and the efforts to restore it. This professionally-taught, two-part program, meets each week (for eight weeks) and includes field trips and participant-led community projects. You’ll learn about the Bay’s biology, the issues we face, and how you and your community can help its restoration."
Connect to the GOforChange CollectiveX calender to search dates and locations.
Collective Cry is an online community of artists, activists and allies of social justice. They are dedicated to uplifting and providing healing to systemically oppressed communities through education, community development, economic development and the distribution of media content. "Collective Cry envisions a social environment in which all have access to the means to reach their potential for self-actualization through self-determination." Some of their justice initiatives and other developing economic and awareness initiatives include "Prison Mentorship Project", "My Quest Home" and "The Center for Prosperity".
Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity is a “non-profit housing organization that works in partnership with families in need of housing to build simple, decent and affordable homes. Houses are sold to qualified homebuyers at no profit through no-interest mortgage loans.” CHHumanity has completed more than 120 homes and has housed more than 300 families. There are job opportunities, internships and school programs to help any person at any age get involved and be a part of strengthening all Baltimore communities. You can also help by donating recycled building supplies or buying goods for your own home improvement project from the ReStore . 100% of purchases go toward the next Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity project.
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….
Green Seal is a 501 (c ) (3) non-profit that provides science-based environmental certification standards which help manufacturers, purchasers and consumers make responsible choices that positively impact business behavior and improve quality of life. There is a life-cycle approach to Green Seal standards which means evaluating a product or service beginning with material extraction continuing with manufacturing and use and finally with recycling and disposal. Get a list of recommendations case histories and general information through their product listing.