The Curtis Bay and Brooklyn neighborhoods have been a haven for immigrants since 1900. Polish, Italians, and Irish in then and Hispanics, Russians, South Asians now. As Central Baltimore has become gentrified, residents have had to move to Curtis Bay, Brooklyn, and Cherry Hill to be able to afford to live. Their garden was established by these “refugees of gentrification,” and has become a safe place for the lost and displaced. These neighborhoods face a number of challenges, including poverty, industrial pollution, growing drug issues, and a lack of Internet, libraries, and food access. The Filbert Street Garden has been around for over a decade to mitigate the food desert, provide a greenspace for recreation, a learning space for education, a home for rescue livestock, and a green oasis for urban wildlife. With the largest community beeyard in Maryland, their honeybees pollinate a 2-mile radius around the garden. The garden offers 50 community plots, free Internet (FilbertNet), and a curbside pantry. They employ local kids during the summers and falls, as there are no other local job opportunities and only 1/3 of residents have access to a car. While the site is gated for security purposes, it has regular open hours and programming to welcome neighbors into the space.
The Sacred Place process will support broader engagement and openness within the community. The garden is a haven and spot of joy in the neighborhood landscape, not only for the human denizens but for domesticated and wild fauna as well: the garden keeps sheep, chickens, bees, rescued goats (that like to say hello to passersby on the street), and hosts native bats.