The Bon Secours Urban Farm Initiative sits on a ¼ acre site across from Bon Secours Community Works (BCSW), the former location of fourteen vacant lots, previously rowhomes. Bon Secours Community Works’ Clean & Green workforce development training team adopted the lots and converted the land into green space with tree plantings, a community garden, and now an urban farm. The farm has been actively growing fresh fruits and vegetables since late 2016. While the Urban Farm was built for growing and distributing food to the neighborhood, the community also wanted to create an area specifically aimed towards providing a place for their community to come enjoy. They envisioned a space where perennial herbs grew thick enough to smell, where bright flowers grew all season long, and where neighbors could sit and relax: a place of respite and conversation. Now, the farm and its offerings are a vital asset for community residents and BSCW.
The farm features aquaponics, beehives, an outdoor classroom, and a stormwater detention feature to slow down the runoff that sheets through the site from the rest of the block. The Nature Sacred bench is framed by a herb spiral and native plantings, overlooking the farm’s apple orchard. A variety of crops are grown both in the outdoor plots and in the two hoop houses, not to mention the community garden plots, and can be stored in the farm’s refrigerated space for 2-3 days before it is delivered to the community – beginning in Spring 2019, the farm and its programming team began providing weekly fresh food deliveries to 75 families in the 21223 ZIP Code. Other food distribution occurs through their Mobile Market, events where they give away produce, and their partnership with the Maryland Food Bank. Often, these are also coupled with nutrition events, where their nutritionist cooks with items grown on the farm.