Tag: sustainability

Johns Hopkins Gets Its First Community Garden


For years, dirt- and vegetable-minded Johns Hopkins students have tried to find a spot on campus to use as a college/community garden. The problem is, land is a premium resource on college campuses, and the school confined the gardening to random corners, backyards, and other out-of-the-way spots. But no longer! The university recently agreed to let students and other like-minded folks use a sizable piece of property to practice sustainable food production. “What’s even more significant is that we can share the space with interested neighbors and other community groups in the city,” writes a Wei-ting Chen, a Hopkins grad student and a member of the Garden Steering Committee. “Now we just need the expertise, passion, energy and social support from other gardeners and food fanatics.”


According to Chen, the plan is to pair Hopkins affiliates with gardeners from community groups in the area to take responsibility for individual plots, with the hope that they will learn more about each other while learning and practicing sustainable agriculture. And things can expand from there.

The garden is located in Waverly on the Johns Hopkins campus at Eastern, along Loch Raven Boulevard, and the first meeting takes place next week, on Thursday, November 3, 6-7:30pm at Johns Hopkins University at Eastern (1101 East 33rd Street Baltimore, MD 21218), 1st floor Training and Development. If you want to get involved, stop by, and/or send an email to [email protected]

Today is a New Holiday. Here’s How/Where to Celebrate


The only thing better than a holiday is a new holiday, so let’s all take a moment and bask in the glow of Food Day. Yes, Food Day is a holiday, and it’s a holiday about food, and it’s happening today (Monday, October 24, that is). And in its honor, let’s all eat food, appreciate farmers, eat more food, and stay home from work (so we can eat more food).

Okay, so it’s not a national holiday (yet), so you probably still have to show up for work. Still, it’s a good cause, and there’s plenty of celebration going on all over Baltimore (and across the U.S.). A few ways to celebrate around town:

  • Johns Hopkins is hosting a 100-mile meal, meaning that everything you’ll be served will be seriously local. (Note that while this IS a Food Day event, it’s not actually happening on Food Day. It’s on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 5 PM — but make sure to register ASAP. More details here). Along with a $5 dinner (!), you’ll get to hear some of the most excited and engaged local minds discuss food and sustainability issues in a panel on “Real Food:  From Cafeterias to Communities.”



  • The Vegetarian Resource Group hosts a Food Day dinner at beloved local favorite Mr. Chan’s. Registration required, $20.


  • John Eager Howard’s Food Day Celebration:  “The event will include a mock farmers market to raise awareness of Maryland produce with produce sampling, a pumpkin museum/contest, face painting, harvest hat decorating, a physical activity, and gardening activities.” Intriguing.

But if you’re not up for an event, you can still celebrate. Spokesman Michael Jacobson suggests that you “celebrate Food Day with an especially healthy and delicious meal they serve at home…and have some of the conversation be about the food issues that concerns them.” Sounds like a reason to celebrate.

This Week’s Challenge: Buying Local


Better late than never, we always say – which is why we’re alerting you to this year’s Buy Local Challenge a few days late. Sorry! But whether you start on July 23 or July 26, the premise – and the principle – is still the same:  by committing to buy stuff from local farms, you help the local economy (yay, independent farmers!); the environment (yay, food that doesn’t arrive by airplane!); and your own body (yay, fresher foods with more nutrients!).

So, whether you sign the website’s pledge to eat one locally grown or harvested food each day this week, or whether you’re just on the lookout for info on local farms and helpful seasonal recipes, the Buy Local Challenge is a helpful resource. And since the BLC is set for the last full week in July each year, we can go ahead and set our calendars for next year so that we don’t miss a moment of it.


Sustainable Maryland


Sustainable Maryland Certified is the name of a new statewide community greening effort launched by the University of Maryland. It’s a voluntary program that awards points to participating municipalities as they adopt environmentally friendly practices. At 150 points a municipality is awarded certification by the program and is eligible to receive grant money. It’s based on Sustainable Jersey, a similar program that has already had success in the Garden State.

Greening actions will be tailored to each community, and in addition to certification and extra funds, the program promises participating cities and towns savings to their utility bills and stimulation to their local economy through the implementation of Sustainable Maryland’s recommended actions.

Sustainable Maryland’s website conscientiously disclaims, “Certification does not indicate that a municipality is ‘sustainable.’ Rather it indicates that the municipality has taken the first significant step on the journey toward sustainability.” Unfortunately, the website doesn’t define “sustainable.” Neither does it convey how far we are from truly responsible environmental stewardship in Maryland. 

Throughout the program’s materials “green” is equated with simply better management of assets and resources. This could be a good start, but ultimately we’ll need to do better than better. A true understanding of sustainability would be useful here, one that’s not relative to our present rate of pollution and waste of resources. We could do plenty “better” and still be on a negative trend environmentally. The fact is that achieving sustainability is a much more enormous undertaking than we typically acknowledge, requiring no less than turning the tide on at least centuries of irresponsible practices.

For more information on Sustainable Maryland Certified and to find out how your locale can participate, visit www.sustainablemaryland.com.