Below is a neighborhood update by Tiffany DeFoe on behalf of Tubman House, a multi-service resource in West Baltimore.
The Fannie Lou Hamer - Sundiata Acoli Farm, founded in Baltimore by the AFSC’s Friend of a Friend program and the Coalition of Friends’ Tubman House in 2016, provides fresh and healthy food, free of charge, to residents of Sandtown-Winchester. It is named for civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, who founded the Freedom Farms Cooperative in 1967; and Sundiata Acoli, former member of the Black Panther Party and current political prisoner in the Federal Correctional Institution at Cumberland, Maryland.
The Hamer-Acoli Farm is located on Presbury Street from Fulton to Mount and includes two lots of raised garden beds, an orchard, and a chicken coop. Neighbors are invited to see our new projects and pick up some fresh vegetables and herbs. We’re on-site every Sunday from noon to 2:30 PM (weather permitting). We’ll be happy to tell you more about the farm, help locals get involved, and share some of the produce we’ve harvested that day.
We had a great summer season on the farm and our summer crops like tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, and eggplants are winding down. We have a few fall crops planted now like squash, beets, and greens. This year we started selling our produce at restaurants around Baltimore like Ida B’s and at Goucher College. We’re planning to expand the farm over the winter by building more raised beds. Next season we’ll have community beds that we’ll cultivate for anyone toharvest from, beds for members of the community to cultivate and harvest on their own, and beds that we’ll cultivate and harvest to sell. Next season we’re also planning to use several lots nearby to grow and sell flowers. We’re also building a new tool shed and we are hoping to build an aerated compost system this winter.
Our orchard is growing! Last season we planted two pear trees on the lot on the corner of Presbury and Fulton. This season we really stepped it up and planted two apple, one fig, two persimmon, and two serviceberry trees and we’re planning on planting more next spring. We can’t wait for the trees to grow and provide shade and fruit for the community.
We finished building a larger chicken coop and now have 15 chickens, so we’ll have more eggs to share with the community. The coop already looks great but some Maryland Institute College of Art students are going to paint it and get it looking even better. Come by and say hi to the chickens and get some eggs!
Now that the chickens have moved into their new coop, the shed they lived in before is free to start our aquaponics system. An aquaponics system grows fish and plants together in one integrated system, using fish waste to provide nutrients for the plants instead of fertilized soil. We’ve already started planning the design, now we just need to start building! Stay tuned for updates on the system and our first fish!
- Tiffany Defoe
Friend of a Friend volunteer
Community Wealth in Freddie Gray’s Neighborhood of Sandtown: Check out a profile of the Hamer-Acoli Farm from The Laura Flanders Show.