Urban farming a growing trend in Baltimore

Cultivating positive communities
Posted at 11:42 AM, Aug 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-25 06:32:52-04

When you think of a farm, your mind may wander to a wide open countryside with rolling hills and tall rows of corn. In Baltimore a different kind of farming is happening.

In between two busy streets, with boarded up doors and windows, sits Tha Flower Garden. A creation by urban farmer Walker Marsh.

"I feel like it's giving them a lot of hope, you know a lot of people just walk by they just see it and they just love it because it's some beautiful place. It was nothing before, it was just grass," Marsh grew up going to church down the road and knows there's crime and violence in the area.

Now the neighborhood is filled with the new sounds of farming, like the whir of a weed whacker.

"This is a city that has to constantly battle with this hopelessness, these negative ideas coming out and coming into the city. We just need to put more positivity in it and make it our own thing," Marsh said.

This isn't the only urban farm cropping up in Baltimore. Less than a mile away, there's a community farm at Clifton Park and Whitelock Community Farm in West Baltimore, to name a couple.
"There's a lot right there and a lot right there, it's nothing but empty lots," Marsh says there's huge potential for urban farming.
City officials appear to agree.
Last year the mayor and city council passed a tax cut for urban farmers who grow and sell $5,000 worth of fruit and vegetables each year.
Farmers would get a 90% tax break and officials say this will cut down on the price of produce.
Urban farms also provide jobs for kids in the neighborhood. "Teaching these guys how to drive a tractor, they don't even know how to drive a car yet," Marsh said.
Mentoring local youths, Marsh teaches them about his inspiration, Muhammad Ali. "Just personally Muhammad Ali was just a huge inspiration , constantly you know stating you know I'm beautiful, I'm the baddest thing out here, can't no body stop me," Marsh said.
Marsh named the large crop of sunflowers in the middle of the garden, The Field of Ali. But only people he tells know this, he is fundraising for a sign.
So he can share his hope, hard work and lessons learned with the next generation.