School Garden Project Makes Hampden Neighbors Angry

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acce garden

At the risk of weighing in on a situation I don’t have first-hand experience with, I’m going to go ahead and say that the Hampden residents opposing the garden project behind a nearby school are in the wrong here.

The Academy for College and Career Exploration on 36th Street teamed up with local green-minded organizations, including Blue Water Baltimore and Agritopia, to tear up some of the asphalt behind the school and erect a green space and hoop house in its place. This seems exactly in keeping with what the New York Times calls the new “must-having teaching tools” — gardens and miniature farms linked to schools. Such programs give students hands-on experience with the biology of growing things, provide a way to educate about the U.S. food system, and provide healthy food to school cafeterias. According to the Agritopia website, the ACCE project is intended to “be a resource for education as well as the creation of green jobs for talented individuals and internships for students within the community.”

The naysayers see it differently, according to North Baltimore Patch. The ACCE hoop house/green space is a breeding ground for mosquitos, they argued at a recent, contentious Hampden Community Council meeting. And it took the place of 16 perfectly good parking places! Other residents are concerned about fire truck access to the school, an objection that the school is planning to have reviewed this week. Some are attributing the conflict to tensions between “old Hampden” and “new Hampden” residents — but can’t we all agree that school gardens are a good thing?

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