Growing opportunities for West Baltimore youth at the Charm City Community Garden

Working with the Metrokidz program at Charm City Church, Michael Dorsey has led an effort to transform a vacant lot at South Payson & Lemmon Streets into a community garden offering access to safe natural green space to young people in West Baltimore. Enjoy Michael’s story of the new Charm City Community Garden–

Members of the Payson and Lemmon Community in Restivo Square have endured the presence of a vacant lot filled with garbage and unkempt chest high grasses and weeds for the last 10 years. Supporters including the neighboring Charm City Church, the Metrokidz youth outreach program, the Bon Secours Foundation, and the Parks & People Foundation, the residents and youth of the area have started to transform the park, with tree plantings, shrubs plantings, fresh flowers, trash cleanings, lawn trimmings, and in the next two weeks, placing above ground vegetable beds and a flower garden.

It is important for all people to understand the value of maintaining green and open spaces, to afford opportunities to the youth through nature that normally are not there. Metrokidz and the members of the Payson and Lemmon Community are working to develop a greater sense of community, togetherness, and ownership through this project. Real success is pronounced by the level of activity the community is contributing. Increased participation for the park will soon be greater enhanced by crafts projects committed by youth members of Metrokidz (e.g. fairy houses, fake big mushrooms) and recreation activities by the middle school and high school youth involved in Metrokidz and on the surrounding blocks (e.g. wall ball, flag football , and dodge ball with youth mentor monitoring). When the community initially cares about one space together, then that trust can be expanded to the whole neighborhood. This park is the first step in many for a community to realize and take control of its potential.

Send us your community garden story!

Are you working on a community garden, small park or vacant lot in a West Baltimore neighborhood? Share your story and we’ll highlight it here on our blog. Check out our stories from the Harlem Park School Community Garden and the Blank Lot Project in Franklin Square for more on West Baltimore gardens and greening.

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