The Strength to Love II farm, Nature Sacred’s fourth site partnership with Intersection of Change, is an active farm in Baltimore’s Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood. The 1.5 acre site hosts several hoophouses, and to further amplify the farm’s capacity, a multitude of new plantings were designed in the remainder of the space.
As a program of Intersection of Change (IOC), the farm’s mission is to enrich the economic, social and spiritual lives of those dealing with poverty related issues in their community. The Sacred Place at the Strength to Love II farm increases the farm’s ability to offer hands-on agricultural training and job opportunities for IOC’s workforce development participants and citizens returning from incarceration. The farm also helps to address the food apartheid issue in and surrounding this neighborhood. The farm is a visible symbol of transformation in the community, a successful conversion of vacant land into an operational farm by growing organic produce for local consumption.
Designed as a series of 6 connected outdoor rooms, the perimeter plantings are ornamental flowers, intended to catch the eye of passersby on the street. Crape myrtles subtly frame each entrance to the site, welcoming visitors. The interior rooms are comprised of a grove of fruit trees, blueberry shrubs, and perennials. All the plants have a dual purpose: they can be harvested and used at the farm stand — also built as part of this process — even if just for color, allowing it to be operational for 9-10 months of the year. All portions of the design, from the plantings to the gravel pathways, were designed to decrease maintenance needs as much as possible. The produce, grown with environmentally sustainable methods, is fresh, nutritious, and great tasting — and sold at competitive prices to diverse retail, restaurant, institutional, and individual customers. The farm stand faces the street and is a visible area not just to sell produce but also to hold classes to educate people on the farming practice at the site. Layered on top of this is a meditation garden, illuminated with soft lighting, surrounded with perennials to create a soft niche within the garden, and facing the outdoor plantings. One of the meditation garden’s main priorities was to enhance the experience of volunteers and employees at the farm, who can take refuge on the Nature Sacred bench that occupies this niche.
In addition to harvesting and distributing produce, Strength to Love II hosts farmers’ markets, concerts, and volunteer days.
Jeff Sachs, Krohs Nursery