The Bon Secours Urban Farm Initiative has been actively growing fresh fruits and vegetables on a ¼ acre site across from Bon Secours Community Works since late 2016. Over ten years ago, BSCW’s Clean & Green workforce development training team adopted the vacant lots, where fourteen row homes once stood. They converted the land into green space with tree plantings, a community garden, and now an urban farm. The farm and its offerings are now a vital asset for community residents and BSCW.
Since the Urban Farm’s project inception in 2016, 1,629 pounds of food has been harvested and several community events have been hosted. Beginning in Spring 2019, the farm and its programming team will begin to provide weekly fresh food deliveries to 75 families in the 21223 ZIP Code.
Through the fight for food justice, the community has identified that the presence of the farm will address another important need – green, pleasant space for residents to relax and achieve distance from the sometimes-harsh community environment.
The Urban Farm was built for growing and distributing food to the neighborhood, but they would like to create an area that is specifically aimed towards providing a place for our community to come enjoy. We envision a space where perennial herbs are growing thick enough that you can smell it, where there are bright flowers growing all season long, and where our neighbors can sit and relax.
Their vision is to create a place of respite and conversation. The space will be ideal for BSCW’s program participants to take a break and enjoy some peaceful nature.
Yvonne Butler serves as the fire soul on this project. Ms. Butler is a senior citizen of who runs a halfway house around the corner from the farm and is a working artist. The halfway house is a part of the Urban Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and has received consistent produce throughout the life of the farm. Ms. Butler is excited to create a sculpture for the community gathering space using reclaimed materials from the neighborhood. It is community investment and ownership like this that will allow the Farm to be sustainable and beneficial to the neighborhood for years to come.