“This funding will help support ongoing efforts throughout the City of Baltimore to transform vacant properties into productive and sustainable gardens that grow fresh produce,” EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin said. “EPA’s Environmental Justice Small Grants support activities that not only address community concerns, but also educate and empower our youth, the current generation of environmental stewards.”
The Parks and People Foundation will focus on teaching Baltimore residents to create the urban gardens in a safe way, educating them on preventative and precautionary measures they can employ to address soil contaminants. For example, part of the funding has already gone toward training 12 high school students to collect soil samples from vacant lots that have been targeted for conversion into urban gardens for edible produce. Those 12 students will also help the foundation disseminate that knowledge throughout the community by setting up workshops and providing hands-on training to other residents. Ultimately, Parks and People hopes to educate more than 2,000 people.