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Visting the Great Kids Farm in Baltimore

In an effort to reduce the distance between in the DC / Prince George’s County area and our urban farming colleagues in Baltimore, we packed into the pickup again and headed north on 95.  This time, our destination was the Great Kids Farm, run by the Baltimore City Public School System.

After getting off the highway, we were thrown head first into some of the ugliest sprawl: big box stores mixed with used car dealers, vacant buildings, and empty parking lots.  But, after making that turn into the Bragg Nature Center, where the Great Kids Farm is, its a completely different world.  You drive up past the goats, dodging the teams of volunteers while parking at buildings that was once a boarding school turned into a farm and food educational center.  I immediately found Greg Strella, the farm manager, and he showed me around.

They’ve got chickens and composting worms, tight fields filled with cover crop, old-school A-frame greenhouses and new hoop houses.  Everywhere Greg took me, he stressed at what a mess this place was a few years ago, talking of dumpsters of debris that filled this now beautiful urban farm.

And they’re doing a little bit of everything.  They’ve got trays of tomatoes waiting to be planted, rows of kales and collards that made it through the winter, free range chickens, and trays upon trays of sprouts, ready for harvesting and selling to local restaurants.  Like most farms, it seemed like organized chaos, Greg holding the reins of this place and going along for the ride.  He’s got the great support from his co-workers and teams of volunteers.  They’ve got an amazing rhythm that results in an exceptional educational facility, a very productive and profitable farm, and a sanctuary of saneness within miles of urban sprawl.

Its a great opportunity to visit another urban farm, to teach them something that they might have not known and to leave with specific changes in how you’ll approach your farm back home.  Many thanks to the staff of the Great Kids Farm for taking the time out so that we can learn from each other.

Of course my camera battery was dead that day, so I don’t have any good pictures of my own.  For pictures of the Great Kids Farm, check this out.

photo from Baltimore Community Foundation via Flickr

One Response

  1. […] with chickens, goats, and bees or garden the  small fruit, vegetables, and mushrooms. read a recent article on a visit to the farm and view the […]

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