Tag: urban agriculture

Greenlaurel: Teach For America Alums Sprout a Garden at Fredrick Douglass High

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Tij-anique Williams (left) said teacher Chris Jennings “is a great teacher. He looks out for us. When we’re stressed out, he has stepped in and cared.”

At Frederick Douglass High School in West Baltimore sits a tidy outdoor garden that offers a prime example of what Baltimore students can do with the right tools to harness the power of urban agriculture. Were it not for three dedicated Teach for America alums, it might be just another patch of asphalt.

Obama Administration Wraps Up 18 Months of Helping Out Baltimore

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President Obama at the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque and Al-Rahmah School in February, Courtesy White House, photo by Pete Souza

After unrest spread across Baltimore in the form of riots, protests and eventually general brooding after the death of Freddie Gray, President Obama’s administration took a special interest in the city. Eighteen months later, the outgoing president’s administration has published a report summarizing its work here and recommending ways for ways for the next wave of federal elected officials and bureaucrats to keep their eye on helping the city move forward.

Is Baltimore Ready for Urban Sheep?

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While we may clearly have the superior football team, there are a few other ways in which Baltimore resembles Cleveland:  vacant land, population loss, and a growing urban agriculture movement. So maybe it’s time for us to sit up and start paying attention to Cleveland’s newest trend:  urban livestock grazing.

The Urban Shepherds program came about when folks at the St. Clair Superior Development Corporation remarked that Cleveland’s overgrown vacant lots were both unsightly and dangerous. But in a city that’s already struggling financially, money for lawnmowers is in short supply. Which is where the flock of sheep and their companion llama come in. The plan is for the animals to hang out on a large vacant lot in the city, chomping on grass and keeping things looking tidy through the end of grass-growing season, while also teaching volunteers and local school children about animal husbandry. Take Linell Brookins:  “[My wife] wasn’t even surprised,” he said. “I’m also one of those people who is going to have chickens in his back yard before long. I remember the sheep lady out in Willoughby. She had a flock of sheep off 91 and Route 20. We used to ride out there all the time and just watch the sheep. So this will be a joy.”

Baltimore already has urban chickens; some intrepid DIYers in the city are raising rabbits for food and entertainment. Sheep and llamas are the clear next step, right Baltimore?

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