The Washington Post Magazine recently published an expansive essay by local Baltimore writer Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson on the discoveries she made while being a tourist in her own city.
Included in her tour were stops at the Baltimore Compost Collective, managed by 2019 OSI Community Fellow, Marvin Hayes and the Fells Point neighborhood, where she met up with 2008 Community Fellow, Ashely Minner.
Located in the Brooklyn-Curtis Bay area of South Baltimore, the Baltimore Compost Collective aims to serve a surrounding community, because, as Hayes says, ““the people in this area live in a food-insecure, food apartheid neighborhood.” The acre of land, which was acquired during the city’s Adopt-a-Lot Program in 2010, consists of a community garden, a farm/animal sanctuary, an apiary, even a solar powered WiFi router, and of course composting. The collective also offered, pre-pandemic—tours, yoga and movie nights. Residents also had the option of taking classes in animal husbandry, composting, gardening and beekeeping. Hayes also hires local teens to train in composting, and with them, he’s able to divert hundreds of pounds of waste weekly from the incinerator and landfill.
Ashley Minner, an enrolled member of the Lumbee tribe, is an artist and historian who has been working on creating an archive of the history of East Baltimore’s Lumbee community. On this day, Minner took the author on a tour of the neighborhood, pointing out the places, like the South Broadway Baptist Church, that were Lumbee-owned, and passing along the oral histories of the tribe.
Her fellowship, The Native America after School Program, used art to engage Native American youth in an out-of-school, community-based arts program to connect them to their culture as well as educate the broader community about the Native American community.
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