ABOVE: BLISS Meadows, farmed by Atiya Wells
Farm Profile: BLISS Meadows
by Nora Abdiruhman
Bliss Meadows began with its founder and executive director Atiya Wells' initial organization called Backyard Base Camp. Backyard Base Camp was started shortly after Atiya began her journey towards becoming an urban naturalist. She noticed that in many classes and workshops she attended there was an absence of Black faces. This prompted her to look into the history of being Black outdoors, and researching her own ancestral trauma. She felt the dire need for Black people to have a space to process that trauma and exchange their stories as well as have moments together.
“The entire project was started to have community green space so I just would like people to leave feeling at home with nature. The whole project is 10 acres of land. This site, referring to the property to the left of a recently tilled field, is 2 acres. We purchased this house last year [it] will be slowly turning into a hub of operations…as well as holding some workshops and classes indoors on gardening, cooking, processing goods, making jams and jellies, we’ll also be doing some wilderness skills workshops and herbalism classes. We are more than just a farm. The farm is just one aspect of our entire organizational programming.”
How do you help people from urban areas connect with sustainable foods and produce despite their comfort and conditioning to consume primarily processed goods?
“It’s a very slow process. Some people think once you commit to it, it will happen--but it's not like people think. Originally Backyard Base Camp was created to reconnect Black people back to nature and I realized that not everybody is ready to jump into a day hike in the woods. And really meeting people where they are and showing people in small steps you can do this thing. Ive had some experiences myself where ill go into an urban farm and they’ll just hand you some produce and I’m like what the hell is that?....So really starting from ground zero from planting a seed, to watching it grow, to harvest and cooking we aim to provide a lot of baseline education to really help people take that next step so that they can say “You know, I can do this!”
What motivates you to continue your day to day work at Bliss meadows despite the stress and anxiety of working through a pandemic?
“Most of it is motivated by the community around us. Although we cant be in groups, they are still our neighbors…”
The real mission of BLISS meadows is to reconnect Black, indigenous and people of color back to nature and to keep them self reliant as well as sustainable. Atiya and her team work every day to accomplish these goals. creating relationships and harmony with nature, learning empathy through caring for animals, and gaining perspective on our place in this world.
JULY MATCHING DONATION for the FAB COVID Resilience Fund for Black-Led Farms!
Great news! A generous anonymous donor has announced that for the rest of July, all contributions to our new fund (LINK HERE) for Black-led farms that is part of our Urban Agriculture COVID Resilience Fund will be matched! Our first round of direct assistance checks went out to these farms in June. Your support will allow us to write a second round of checks to these farms as the harvest season gets under way this fall. You can also support these farms directly with your dollars using the links in the flyer below. Or volunteer your time!
Community Cooking Demonstrations are Happening--on farms!
Our wonderful community partner, Chef Crystal Forman of Holistic Wellness and Health, is back in the community with her mobile kitchen, delivering awesome cooking demonstrations with in-season produce from our member farms! Look for her at the following locations for the rest of July and early August:
Saturday, July 25, noon at Whitelock Community Farm
Monday, July 27, 3pm at Restoration Gardens
Monday, July 27, 5pm at Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm (repeats every Monday in August)
Tuesday, July 28, 3pm at Bon Secours
You can also tune in to see her previously recorded demonstrations!
Please check our Farm Alliance of Baltimore Facebook page for additional dates and details about community cooking demonstrations and other events. Addresses of all our member farms can be found on our website.
Thank you to all of our volunteers, donors, and supporters who feed us, compost with us, garden with us, donate books and artwork, and give generously of their energy and money to support our work. We are grateful and excited to be growing in our ninth year with you!
Support Our Work
If you would like to make a one time or monthly recurring donation to the Farm Alliance of Baltimore, please use this link.
If you shop at Amazon and would like to make sure a little money comes to the Farm Alliance from every purchase you make, click here.
We've moved! The Farm Alliance's new home is Function Coworking Community, 4709 Harford Road, Baltimore MD 21214. Make an appointment to come and see us!