The Oliver Community Farm & Pavilion is a 40,000 square foot community farm and gathering space on a lot that was previously a vacant trash dump and unmanaged lot in East Baltimore's Oliver neighborhood. It took several years to clear the lot of trash, debris, and hazardous materials and initiate the lot's transformation into a community asset in one of Maryland's most impoverished and underserved neighborhoods. In 2014, the Oliver Community Farm distributed close to 600 gallon bags of fresh produce to Oliver residents who experience food insecurity and lack access to healthy foods and we expect to more than double that in 2015. Also in 2014, the farm employed Oliver residents as seasonal or part-time employees and provided agricultural training. Five-hundred and eighty-eight volunteers worked 2,313 hours in 2014 and we are on pace to surpass those numbers significantly in 2015. In addition to food distribution, we also engage the community in nutritional education and healthy cooking classes.
In addition to the nutritional benefit and that of employment and training, the farm is transforming into a vibrant community gathering space where children and families can recreate and learn. We plan to install benches, a covered pavilion, and a small play area. These recreational and community components that will augment the urban farm are the subject of this grant proposal.
Funded by Baltimore, MD (June 2015)