Whitelock Community Farm was established in 2010 at the corner of Whitelock St. and Brookfield Ave. by Reservoir Hill neighbors who are committed to converting a formerly vacant lot into a working farm. The Farm is a resident-led project that not only aims to improve community access to fresh and local food, but also seeks to build community in our racially and economically diverse neighborhood through educational and social events open to all residents.
Despite its central urban location, Reservoir Hill has no supermarkets and the few community corner stores carry no fresh fruits or vegetables. The Farm attempts to increase access to healthy food by creating a neighborhood-supported-agriculture initiative in which residents work together in the growing and selling of produce to provide healthy and sustainable food for themselves and their neighbors.
Relying on a nucleus of devoted neighborhood volunteers, in just one year the Farm has already made great progress toward accomplishing many of its objectives. Check out what’s growing at the Farm by going to the Farm’s website and see below for a year in the life of a neighborhood project that started in the imagination of a few residents and has now inspired the entire community:
At a January RHIC Green Team meeting, residents form a Healthy Foods Team to expand access to healthy, affordable food in the neighborhood by drawing attention to the dearth of healthy food in the area, increasing community understanding of the importance of nutrition, and by building a broader local market for healthy food.
RHIC gathers community residents who are working on greening projects to discuss neighborhood food security, water, and energy efficiency at the Wintergreen Festival.
(Photo credit: Howard Fink)
The Healthy Foods Team commits to starting a community farm, and soon after a core group breaks ground on the Whitelock Community Farm site.
(Photo credit: Eli Lopatin)
The Farm plants a first crop of corn and melons, erects a community sign, and applies for and receives a Parks & People Foundation grant to purchase supplies for a hoop house, a temporary green house structure that allows for year-round growing.
With additional financial support from RHIC Community Development Block Grant funds, as well as thousands of volunteer hours, including dozens of volunteers from AmeriCorps, Johns Hopkins University, and Maryland Institute College of Art, the Farm installs raised planting beds and completes the hoop house.
The Farm hosts a Fall Harvest Festival for neighborhood youth, and also makes its first delivery of Fall crops to the Corpus Christi soup kitchen, located two blocks away on Whitelock St.
(Photo credit: Eli Lopatin)
The Farm works with RHIC to successfully petition Baltimore City Department of Housing & Community Development to for a 5-year right-of-entry agreement, the first time that the City has ever granted such a long-term agreement to a community-based urban greening project.
The Farm establishes a board of directors, initiates the process toward becoming a registered 501(c)3 organization, and successfully applies for grants from Parks and People Foundation to replace adjacent sidewalk with planting beds, from Baltimore Community Foundation to expand community outreach efforts, and from Constellation Energy to install a rain-water collection system for the hoop house.
The Farm converts hundreds of square feet of sidewalk into planting areas and opens its weekly Market Stand.