As I walk into the Baltimore City Detention Center for my weekly garden class, a guard remarks on how big the plants are getting. I place my belongings into a bin and get patted down, and another employee tells me about her own garden. I tell her about the direction of the program, and for better serving the juveniles locked up there, facing adult charges. When they get out, I hope to be able to provide them with community service options or assist them in getting jobs in the field of horticulture. My hope for the city is that we can use gardening in schools, churches, and transition environments to heal and build stronger and healthier communities.
We live in a time when the social contract between individual and society has become implicit. We forget that as individuals we engage in our community, our government, and with our neighbors because they are there for our benefit as we are for theirs—to make our lives better than if we went on alone. For the members of low-income, underserved communities such as Brooklyn/Curtis Bay however, this contract has failed.
One Friday afternoon at Whitelock Community Farm I found myself confronted by an 8-year-old who was pushing the carrots on anybody who would listen. Every few minutes, when somebody new walked up to the weekly farm stand, he exclaimed how sweet and delicious the carrots were and proceeded to enthusiastically chomp on a long, slender carrot with the greens still attached.
Green can be a polarizing term. Especially when it brings about images of swimming polar bears, talk of carbon and climate change, or messaging to turn the thermostat down and put on your jumper, like ol’ Jimmy Carter. Environmentalism has typically cast a message about scarcity that only appeals to a relatively small number of […]
Look out any window more than a few stories high in Baltimore. Can you spot a vast untapped energy supply? Those stretches of mostly flat rooftops rolling out before your eyes are fallow ground for wind and solar farms! Recently we started to bring farming back to the city through programs like School Farm and […]
We all know that getting around without a car in Baltimore can be a frustrating experience. It’s especially difficult for many students, who rely on an often-late bus system to get to school. This problem is exacerbated by the occasional actions of a few students, who have tainted the image of students riding public transit, […]
Everyone has an opinion about school food. That’s because everyone who has attended school is a subject matter expert—those who finished high school have been exposed to approximately 2,400 lunches that were either eaten, ignored, or trashed. Our consciousness of the nutritional value and quality of ingredients of these meals heightens when we send our […]
We’re all familiar with the litany of problems associated with our current electricity system. Households struggle to meet higher bills; the State faces the prospect of brownouts by 2011; and Maryland’s heavy reliance on coal-based power contributes to global warming. On top of that, the State may face a shortage of water in the future. […]
Everyone knows that Baltimore has a plague of vacant lots that attract nuisances such as dumping, drug use, and crime. Some folks even do something about it, turning a vacant lot in their neighborhood into a community vegetable garden, pocket park, or even horseshoe pit. If you are troubled by a vacant lot near your […]
With spring here, my audacious idea is to ride your bike to work. I know this sounds crazy when you think of the narrow streets of Baltimore but, this city has the potential to become a great bike city. For its size, 630,000 residents, it is very compact, making many of its neighborhoods easy to […]