Tag: urban farming

An arts-focused urban farm initiative is coming to Baltimore

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The lot at 731 Ashburton St. Image via Google Maps.

A new state initiative will bring an urban farm to a vacant lot in West Baltimore, but instead of growing fruits and vegetables to eat, the focus will be on plants that can be turned into natural dyes for artists, Gov. Larry Hogan’s office announced Wednesday.

Greenlaurel: Moveable Orchards, a brilliant solution to help Baltimore’s food deserts

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Photo by Bengt Nyman, via Wikimedia Commons

While many of Baltimore’s urban spaces don’t have the proper soil conditions to support a newly planted orchard, the folks at the nonprofit Civic Works have come up with a solution: Make the orchards portable, and bring them to the communities that need them.

Summer School Can Be Cool: Yoga, Gardening, and Learning with Baltimore’s Mission Thrive

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Thrive participants learning the parts of a flower. Photo courtesy Summer of Real Food.
Thrive participants learning the parts of a flower. Photo courtesy Summer of Real Food.

Summer school is important — it keeps kids out of trouble, improves grades, and has generally proven to help struggling students do better in school. But it’s also really boring and kind of feels like a punishment. Which is why a new pilot program for ninth and tenth graders, in which students learn gardening, practice yoga, and develop communication skills, sounds so exciting.

Now There’s No Excuse, Baltimore: Composting Made Easy

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According to Compost Cab, the average American family produces about 500 pounds of leftover organic material each year. “The vast majority of these organics takes a long, fossil fuel-powered trip to the landfill. Methane from these landfills is equal to around 20 percent of the pollution output of coal-fired power plants in the United States,” CC notes. One solution to reducing this waste is seemingly simple — composting! — but proves to be difficult in practice.

Baltimore’s Newest Sustainable Venture: Growing Vegetables with Fish

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Johns Hopkins-Cylburn Aquaponics Farm Baltimore

Baltimore farmers interested in sustainability have been growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs for a while. Maryland’s even got green-minded grain farms, and organic wines. But Johns Hopkins’ new aquaponics project, which features 400 tilapia in 210-gallon tanks at Cylburn Arboretum, is the first we’ve heard of a sustainable fish-farming effort.

Charm City Cook: A Faux Farmer When it Comes to Losing Chickens

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Amy with chickens Dottie and Millie
Loss is a part of having pets. If you’ve ever lost a pet, you know. It’s brutal. Even with chickens. Over the course of about a week, a predator killed all three of my new backyard chickens. They were two months old and had personalities, names and favorite snacks. As I found each one dead over the course of week or so, I became more and more discouraged. I kept thinking, this is nature. Farmers deal with this stuff all the time. Still, I stood over that little coop and cried.

Charm City Cook: Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

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Last summer, I became an urban farmer. Okay, not really. I just started keeping chickens in my Baltimore City backyard when I got four baby chicks from my friend Joan at One Straw Farm. Over the last year, I have learned so much: figured out what to do with hens that turned out to be roosters (oh my, the drama), introduced new (hopefully) hens to the flock, got creative in food choices for them (they eat so well) and all the while marveled at this relaxing, yet productive venture. After a stressful day, sitting in my backyard listening to the girls free ranging, I just feel at ease. And…the eggs. Ah, the eggs. Nothing like going out to grab an egg from the nesting box, still warm. Eggs have never tasted better. No going back now…

Old Tyme Fun at Homewood House (Featuring Chickens, Bees)

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If you’re a fan of the archaic, the quaint, the old-tymey; if you’re the type who likes making her own beeswax candles; if you’ve often dreamed of living in a big pretty farm house with a goat inside the Baltimore City line, well then Historic Farm Day is for you.

The Historic Farm in question is now the Homewood House Museum, a classy-looking building on top of a grassy knoll on Johns Hopkins’s campus, right next to the library. And sure, these days it’s right in the middle of the Charles Village bustle. But 111 years ago, it was a working farm and summer estate for Charles Carroll Jr., complete with fruit orchards, a dairy, a smoke house, an ice house, and a cattle barn. (Incidentally, the cattle barn is still standing, and serves as the home for Hopkins’s undergraduate theater program.)

Usually, the old house serves as a museum of its own period furnishings and architecture. But now that homesteading nostalgia is trendy once again, Homewood is celebrating its other history — its past as a working farm. This Sunday, April 1, Homewood House will host wool-spinning demos, pony rides, chicken-raising show ‘n’ tell, and a program on starting heirloom seeds. There will even be a real-live petting farm.

Urban Farmers Can’t Get a Break

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They are small-scale agricultural visionaries. They are concerned Baltimoreans who adopt vacant lots in the city and transform them into functional, welcoming green spaces. But they’re not getting any tax breaks after a bill to provide 100 percent property tax credits to land banks that promote agriculture or preservation failed to pass in the City Council on Tuesday.

The bill met opposition from the Mayor’s office, with the city’s director of revenue and tax analysis voicing his concern about the “precedent” that would be set by the bill.

A sponsor of the bill, Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke did not mince words in her outrage at the opposition to the bill. “I know we give tax breaks to well-to-do developers,” she said. Speaking of urban farmers, she said, “They don’t hang out and sit with their suits at tables and talk about how they’ll help the city. They just do it.”

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