The Cherry Hill Urban Community Garden, as a condition of being able to finish the growing season in its current location, “must donate excess produce” and offer volunteer and other opportunities to the community’s public housing residents.
That’s according to a news release today from the Housing Authority of Baltimore City – offering some additional details after last week’s announcement that the garden’s steward, the Black Yield Institute (BYI), will not have to leave its half-acre plot on HABC land until the end of the year.
The farm “is open to the group’s operations seven days a week” and BYI “is being allowed to sell its produce at the site and off-site,” but it must also offer services to the residents of Cherry Hill Homes, HABC’s federally subsidized housing units in this far South Baltimore community.
“BYI will establish times and days for volunteers to assist the work and for Cherry Hill residents and other members of the community to tend plots in the garden,” says the release, sent to the media on HABC’s behalf by Kirk Dorn, senior vice president of Philadelphia-based Ceisler Media.
Dorn’s release continues: “BYI has also agreed to provide residents certain educational activities, including classes about cooking the garden vegetables and workshops to train residents, volunteers and members of the Cherry Hill community in the practices and operation of gardening.”
Asked how many are living in HABC units in Cherry Hill, senior vice president of Communications Ingrid Antonio said “currently, 3,042 residents are in the Cherry Hill Homes community.”
There was no new information about HABC’s development plans that sparked the recent letters to BYI telling them that their lease to remain at 900 Cherry Hill Road had expired and they had to leave.
(Antonio confirmed today that the lease agreement, signed in 2010, expired in 2012.)
But the release includes a quote from Janet Abrahams, HABC president and CEO, applauding BYI’s mission, declaring that “using fertile land in the city to farm and grow fresh produce is a virtuous and necessary undertaking.”
Abrahams noted that the administration of Mayor Brandon Scott is working on a solution for a new location for BYI to operate the farm. The group’s founder and servant-director, Eric Jackson, says, “We’re grateful for the opportunity.”
Jackson is further quoted as saying, “We’re clear and committed to a long-term solution, so to have HABC and the mayor commit to that publicly gives me reason to believe that will happen.”