It is definitely not new news that community gardens are a popular trend these days. There are waitlists to reserve plots in neighborhood gardens and children’s books like Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman are being profiled on NPR. The Jewish Museum of Maryland’s newest exhibition, Chosen Food: Cuisine, Culture, and Jewish Identity, has given the education staff a wonderful impetus to explore community gardening with some of our school partnerships and through some of our partners.
Several weeks ago Elena Rosemond-Hoerr and I found out that we received a Food & Faith grant from the Center for a Livable Future at JohnHopkinsUniversity(http://www.jhsph.edu/clf/projects/BFF/get_involved/grant.html). This grant money is allowing us to build a community garden with one of our long-term school partners, Commodore John Rodgers Elementary and Middle School (CJR). This past fall Elena and I worked with the middle school students to create a recipe book based on family recipes. This spring the project is continuing and the students are learning about local plants and climate as well as how to design a garden. After the planter boxes are built it is our goal to have the students plant herbs and spices that were used in the family recipes from the cookbook. A lot of volunteer work by JMM and CJR staff is currently being done to transfer CJR’s butterfly garden into a well maintained and fruitful garden.
The JMM is also hosting several programs that promote community and urban gardens. On Saturday, June 30, 2012 the museum will host an event called Havdallah Hoedown in partnership with Sol Food, who will be urban farming in Baltimore for a week. The next day the JMM is hosting the Sol Food Community Festival, where visitors can learn about gardening, sprouting, canning and more at the JMM and the McKim Center down the street. You can learn more about both of these events by contacting Rachel Cylus at firstname.lastname@example.org or (410) 732-6400.
The JMM is incredibly excited to be participating in partnerships and hosting events that encourage local greening and urban farming. The staff is committed enough to these projects that many of them have volunteered their time to help get several community gardens in the neighborhood up and running. Just down the street from the museum on Exeter Streetis another new community garden called Exeter Gardens that is in the process of being built. We plan to partner with them to increase our efforts to teach about food culture and local foods to students and visitors to the museum.
To learn more about our garden initiatives please contact me, Rachael Binning, at email@example.com or (410) 732-6400.