Photo: A Windy City Harvest incubator farm on the former site of the Robert Taylor Homes, Bronzeville, Chicago, IL. September 2018.
The power of roots.
It's been two months since we had a newsletter. So there is much to report: Several of your Baltimore farmers went to Chicago to learn how the Chicago Botanic Garden has built Windy City Harvest, a 13-farm, citywide farmer training program that ends with giving apprentices two years to build their farm business on land that used to hold some of the most high-poverty federal housing projects in America. Other farms in Windy City Harvest's network include a rooftop farm on top of the McCormick Place center, two aquaponics facilities, and several sun-and-soil vegetable farms on former vacant or industrial sites. And this week we learned that the Farm Alliance has been awarded a planning grant for an urban farmer training program that will focus on getting residents from Baltimore neighborhoods into urban farming. That's how amazing your farmers are--they are nurturing a vision for the future of farming in the city, even while they are toiling in the height (and heat!) of the growing season.
We'd love to have you join us at two upcoming events: An October 1oth workshop on marketing your farm, will be held at 5:30pm at the Clifton Mansion. The workshop is part of Cultivate Baltimore, a training series for those who would like to learn to farm in the city. Then, on October 16th, we are proudly co-hosting a free dinner and discussion event on food sovereignty, called End-Dependence Day, co-hosted by Black Yield Institute and Farm Alliance of Baltimore. Event starts promptly at 6pm at 2640 St. Paul Street.
What crops are our farms growing?
Foods you are likely to find at our farms and at the Farm Alliance Waverly Market stand in early fall include: hot and sweet peppers, a few late figs, eggplant, mustard greens, carrots, squash, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, herbs, scallions, okra, bitter melons, mushrooms.
The Farm Alliance in the news
Food stamps, or SNAP benefits, mean a lot to us: They're at the core of our Double Dollars program, supported by a generous grant from the Abell Foundation, which lets SNAP recipients buy-one-get-one free at our farm stands and lets us provide cooking and nutrition demonstrations through our community partner, Holistic Wellness and Health. But now we as a nation are on Day Three of living without a Farm Bill. That means no SNAP benefits. It means real farmers will go without help, and real people will go hungry. This situation cannot stand; Congress must pass an extension or pass the Senate version of the Farm Bill. Read more about this potentially dire situation at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
Farm Alliance Executive Director Mariya Strauss was quoted in this article on University of Maryland Extension Service's Urban Farmer Field School, a training series that's happening now in Baltimore and around the state. It's the first field school of its kind in MD; watch this space for more collaborations coming up between Farm Alliance and Extension!
Farm Alliance member Filbert Street Garden was featured on WYPR this past month for its important work in building the Baltimore Compost Collective, which employs neighborhood youth from Brooklyn and Curtis Bay to collect food scraps from households and make them into that black gold we know as compost. The model is so promising that the city's Office of Sustainability is looking into ways to bring it to scale. (Some of the city's most flavorful honey also comes from Filbert Street Garden's beekeepers, and we've been selling it at Waverly Market!)
Where to Find Us- and Our Farms
It's conference season! Here are some of the regional and local conferences where Farm Alliance staff and farmers will be presenting and/or in attendance:
Maryland Food Access Network (MFANN): Meals Matter Conference, Tues. Oct.9th, Annapolis, MD.
Black Urban Growers Conference (BUGS), Oct. 19-21, Durham, NC.
Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG), Oct. 25-27, Philadelphia.
University of MD-Eastern Shore Small Farms Conference and Soil Summit, Nov. 1-3, Princess Anne, MD.
Urban Farmer Winter Meeting, Date TBD, Baltimore.
Future Harvest-CASA, January 17-19, 2019, College Park, MD.
PASA, Feb. 6-9, 2019, Lancaster PA.
As we head into the fall harvest, you can find your neighborhood farmer and say hello. Here is where you will find Farm Alliance member farms:
32nd Street Waverly Farmers’ Market, Saturdays 7am-noon – Farm Alliance stand!
Real Food Farm Mobile Market: Here's the schedule for Real Food Farm's mobile market truck!
Farm Stands on location at the farm:
Whitelock Community Farm, Saturdays 10am-1pm through November 17th
Oliver Community Farm/Meraki Community Uplift: Fridays, 4pm-7pm
Other Farmers’ Markets Where Our Farms Sell: Druid Hill Farmers’ Market, Pigtown Farmers’ Market, Lauraville Farmers’ Market, Overlea Farmers’ Market.
Urban agriculture needs you!
We invite you to get your hands dirty with us and involve yourself in urban farming in Baltimore. Attend a nutrition and cooking demo, volunteer at one of our farms, attend a Cultivate Baltimore session, come out to a community event, or volunteer to help at the Farm Alliance!
Many of our farms need volunteers to complete the harvest and ready the farms for winter. To volunteer on a Farm Alliance farm, please contact Executive Director Mariya Strauss at email@example.com. See our Facebook page for up-to-date information on all of these and more events. See you on the farms!
Consider a donation to the Farm Alliance! Even just a few dollars will go directly to the programs that support the farms, as well as training new urban farmers, maintaining our cooperative greenhouse, and advocating for common-sense policies that support urban agriculture.