Building Gardens, Rebuilding a City: Baltimore’s Community Greening Resource Network
AbstractVacant spaces in urban areas are agents of blight and are prevalent in impoverished neighborhoods with high incidences of food insecurity. However, residents in many cities are reclaiming such spaces and converting them into community assets by installing community gardens. This article describes a program in Baltimore, Maryland, that has enabled low-income citizens to become involved in gardening. Modeled after Detroit's Garden Resource Program Collaborative, Baltimore's Community Greening Resource Network (CGRN) provides gardening resources and materials by coordinating the efforts of multiple partner organizations. By making such resources readily available, CGRN removes barriers that otherwise discourage residents from reclaiming open spaces. In this tangible way, CGRN empowers low-income residents to actively revitalize their own communities. Since its development in 2008, CGRN has served an ever-increasing membership, delivering resources to a steadily expanding community of urban gardeners. Despite these successes, challenges remain with respect to funding and staff retention. Our experience replicating the resource network model from Detroit to Baltimore can provide guidance for other groups interested in implementing similar programs.
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