Meeting Notes, May 3

Meeting: May 3, 5pm, at the garden
Present: Jamie, Eric, Homer, Ed, Gail (community member)

  • Water bill is still in process–the city now requires a cashier’s check for payment.
  • Most ongoing questions are still on standby, without answers.
    • There is no update yet from NDC on the forthcoming garden design.
    • Possible work projects based on modifications of NDC ideas were discussed, as well as how much support, if any, is needed from P&P. The rain garden project on S. Carey Street was examined as a comparison.
    • BGS is also waiting for information from the garden regarding volunteers and plans.
  • A simple, reusable poster design to put up around the community to invite visits and community ownership was discussed.
  • Open hours have not been well-attended so far.
  • An open community social event, ideally within the next month, was discussed.
  • The pond needs to be cleaned soon.

The next monthly meeting will be Sunday, June 7, 5pm, at the garden, weather permitting! All gardeners are welcome & encouraged to come by during open hours (Wednesdays at 7pm, Sundays at 5pm) as they are able!

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Meeting Notes, April 12

Meeting: April 12, 5pm, at the garden
Present: Jamie, Eric, Homer, Jackie, Ed, Roshelle, Kristin, Tanvi, Steve, Buffy, Khandra, Diana, Katherine

  • On April 15 the garden officially joins the Baltimore Green Space land trust. With that, the garden will have certain expectations regarding site upkeep from BGS.
    • Common areas and possible shared responsibilities were discussed.
    • Possible consequences for not keeping up individual plots (such as, after attempted contact, turnover of the plot to another gardener) were discussed.
    • Occasional workdays have been okay up till present, but won’t be sufficient going forward.
  • Numbered garden plot signs as a means for easier identification/ownership were discussed. Both paint and suitable wood are available for use. A sign painting day was proposed but not set.
  • The city water hookup was recently turned off. Jamie has been submitting the forms involved in re-instating it.
  • Turnout at the meeting was good, but still less than half of garden membership. Methods to communicate & coordinate among gardeners were discussed.
    • There’s currently no way to tell who’s getting the email updates.
    • Keeping information (list of regular “common” tasks, a numbered map, and/or a whiteboard) posted inside the pagoda was discussed.
  • Jamie and Ed led attendees around the garden to go over what were “common areas” & to discuss shared tasks, as well as go over what plots were taken & to assign any remaining vacant plots. Other subjects discussed during the walkaround:
    • The material in the northeast corner (tomato cages, wood, wire) is commonly held and freely available for use in the garden. Gardeners should also feel comfortable tidying or throwing things out if too much accumulates.
    • The status of the vacant building east of the garden is uncertain. Jackie volunteered to research.
    • New gardeners, please submit dues to Eric Scouten, treasurer, if you haven’t already.
  • A weekly schedule for garden open hours was discussed and established. The garden will now have open hours every Wednesday at 7pm and every Sunday at 5pm.

The next monthly meeting will be Sunday, May 3, 5pm, at the garden, weather permitting! All gardeners are welcome & encouraged to come by during open hours (beginning next Sunday, April 19) as they are able!

Meeting Notes, March 1

Meeting: March 1, 5pm, at Eric & Cassandra’s house
Present: Jamie, Roshelle, Cassandra, Eric, Jackie, Homer

Membership renewal was low for 2015. As of the meeting, 15 members had enrolled (including for beds at 1017 Lombard) and in total paid $93 in dues.
– The garden’s account balance is now $293.
– The space on Boyd street as well as Cassandra’s space on 1017 Lombard are now open for enrollment of new gardeners. Anyone interested may now register for a plot. Dues are on a sliding scale (as you are able) from $0.01 to $20. Returning gardeners are also welcome to register for additional plots, or potentially move to a different plot if desired.
– Setting up a shared garden space this season, using vacant plots, was discussed, involving shared planning, maintenance, and harvesting. The possibility of a farmstand was also discussed.
– An unused hoop house on Fayette has been identified as a possible space for cultivation, although a coalition with other area gardens would need to be involved.
– Chickens will be cooped back up in the spring.
– Meeting with Neighborhood Design Center is scheduled for March 26, 6:30pm, at 1401 Hollins.
Workday for spring cleanup scheduled for Saturday, March 28 / rain date Saturday, April 4. Please attend!

And our next garden meeting will be Sunday, April 12, 5pm–weather permitting, hopefully in the garden! Thanks everyone! See you at the garden soon!

Meeting Notes, February 1

Hi everyone! There wasn’t a big turnout for the February meeting. Everyone, if you are available, please try to make the March meeting–as discussed below, we have a few important decisions to make. We’ll be sure to send out a couple reminders this month!

Also a reminder that dues (between $0.01 and $20.00, as you are able) are due by the end of the month if you want to keep your current bed(s). You may pay them at the March meeting or prior to that–please give cash or check to Eric, Jamie, or Ed! After March 1 the garden enters open enrollment. Thanks!

Here are notes from the meeting!

Meeting: February 1, 5pm, at Mi Ranchito
Present: Jamie (president), Roshelle, Ed, Jackie (project manager), Homer (secretary)

We went over events & meetings coming up in February:

– Feb 3, 6-7pm, at The Windup Space – D-Center talk about Baltimore’s open space, with several speakers including Miriam Avins, Founder and Director of Baltimore Green Space
– Feb 4, 7pm at Gallery 788, 3602 Hickory Avenue, Hampden – Art opening reception for Sowebo/Soweto
– Feb 7, 9am-1pm, at Baltimore Free Farm – Seed Swap and talk about Seed Saving and Seed Politics
– Feb 9, 7pm, at Black Cherry Puppet Theater – Hollins-Roundhouse general meeting
– Feb 10, 6:30pm, at Neighborhood Design Center – Garden meeting with Neighborhood Design Center to discuss garden redesign
– Feb 11, 6pm, at Mi Ranchito – meeting with Baltimore Green Space to discuss best practices
– Feb 15, 5pm, at Homer & Jackie (and other)’s house – open potluck / creativity sharing circle
– Feb 17, 6pm, location TBD – Pigtown Food For Thought monthly meeting
– Feb 22, 6-9pm, at 2640 Space – Baltimore Green Space annual potluck

Our garden may very well be part of Baltimore Green Space by the time the date of the potluck–please consider attending to help celebrate!

Old business:

Cat update: we are probably feeding 4-6 street cats at this point. Jamie has picked up some information to review. We are awaiting an update on trap-neuter-release options. On the other hand, no rats have been sighted recently.
– We went over some clarifications on what “giving up your plot” for rezoning means: essentially, even after NDC’s volunteers provide us with design options, everyone will still have the opportunity to opt out. Ideally, everyone will be able to participate in the design process–just so we can see & consider some new options–but again, in the end, no one will be obligated to give up their plot even after the design process is over.
Whether and how to move forward on various projects independently of funding timelines was discussed. Some projects (such as asphalt removal under the sweet gum) could conceivably happen right away as low-cost volunteer work days. Further discussion was tabled for next meeting.
– Gardeners frequently report seeing interesting wildlife and birds. It may be worth becoming a wildlife habitat or bird sanctuary through the Dept. of Natural Resources. Adding another plaque beside the Baywise Certification would improve the garden’s credibility even further.
Future expansion of the chicken run (in terms of space and flock size) was revisited, as well as options for revamping the chicken run with viewing windows or see-through nesting boxes for education, and the possibility of refencing the garden area to allow chickens to roam without damaging crops. Also discussed: some hens will soon age out of laying and other hens may be introduced in their place.

New business:

Incorporating was discussed as an option to sustainably expand the garden beyond its existing space while staying connected. Merely adopting a vacant lot risks a developer purchasing the lot from the city with a thirty-day notice—a legal entity could purchase land. A legal entity (both non-profits and holding companies were discussed) and help ensure continuity and control for the garden when it joins the land trust. Further discussion was tabled for next meeting.
– Jamie has connected with the Fremont stable for horse manure to add to the community compost in lieu of manure from the stable near the garden, which has been raided since the last garden meeting.
– The recent CGRN Summit was attended by Jamie and Ed, who reported that compost is in demand. We discussed the future possibility of selling local compost as a revenue stream, and the need to have a legal entity in order to do so.

The meeting was adjourned due to the Super Bowl.

Again, all garden members are encouraged to attend the next meeting: March 1, 5pm, location TBD, as there are several important decisions to make, and your input matters: whether and how to incorporate separately from Baltimore Green space, what projects if any to move forward on immediately, dues and garden beds, and garden redesign (and we may have some initial plans or analysis from NDC by that date).

Meeting Notes, January 11

Hi everyone! Here are notes from the January meeting, held at Zella’s at 5pm on Sunday the 11th.

Present: Ed, Jamie, Roshelle, Bill, Eric, Adam, Homer

We briefly went over current projects & partnerships:

  • Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) has recruited design volunteers, and can move forward
  • Parks & People has about $3500 for us to spend on stormwater management, which we need to show results on by summer
  • Parks & People also wants to see what we have going on with NDC and Baltimore Green Space (BGS), so we will wait before meeting with them again.
  • BGS had some good news: no liens found on the property deed, so the transfer may be faster than anticipated.
  • BGS would like to have an in-depth discussion soon (about best practices, space management, chickens, maintenance expectations, contents of pagoda, etc.).
  • Efforts have been made to get a crosswalk painted, and add a handicap ramp.

There is broad interest in more community building, inter-organizational collaboration, and social events. Some possibilities discussed:

  • An outdoor oven. Adam is making a trip to learn more about bread-baking festivals
  • Visiting other gardens for learning and volunteer exchange
  • Joining Hungry Harvest’s food share program & paying it forward to neighbors
  • Working with PFFT for a shared greenhouse
  • Working with James McHenry Elementary School on a greenhouse and/or other projects

We discussed garden business:

  • Anyone interested in volunteering to take on shifts feeding chickens, please contact Jamie.
  • A cat management plan is needed, due to increasing cat presence and the potential for kittens. Dan will be contacting Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter about grant-funded TNR.
  • We elected officers:
    • President: Jamie
    • Treasurer: Eric
    • Secretary: Homer
    • Project Manager: Jackie (pending acceptance, which was confirmed)
  • Garden dues and re-enrollment are coming up in March. Homer will follow up with more information by email; if you are not on the list, please contact him.
  • We also briefly discussed updating the garden map and how to use & develop new lots available to the garden.

Finally, we discussed setting meeting dates with NDC and BGS, which have been confirmed since the meeting. If you are available or interested, please attend our meetings with:

Neighborhood Design Center, Thu Jan 15, 6:30pm, at NDC’s office (1401 Hollins)
Baltimore Green Space, Wed Feb 11, 6pm, at Mi Ranchito (1116 Hollins)

Our next general meeting will be Sun Feb 1, at 5pm, location TBD.

Meeting notes, November 2

November’s meeting was held at the garden!

  • The garden was recently visited by a PhD candidate from France, who liked our garden best of the four she visited.
  • A fall workday for cleanup and projects was discussed, and potential projects explored. Scheduling a date was tabled until a future meeting.
  • The potential Parks & People funding discussed in October’s meeting was investigated. During October two gardeners met with Parks & People to learn more, and invited a representative to this meeting.
  • The details of grant funding for rain garden projects were discussed with the visiting representative, including next steps, deadlines, and limitations. With specific scopes and deliverables, the garden would be able to receive grant funding for rain garden projects.
  • There was a pre-existing rain garden design plan developed by Neighborhood Design Center in a previous growing season but unfunded (not to be confused with the potential overall plan discussed in September and October).
    • When located, that plan would be appropriate for the purpose of grant funding.
    • A separate meeting was planned for an upcoming weekend to look over the plans and discuss next steps.
  • Other, more specific stormwater management ideas were discussed, including:
    • curb cuts;
    • a trench drain and/or berms to redirect water as it exits the garden;
    • a rain garden next to the fig tree; and
    • a concrete or ferrocement platform for rain barrels connected to a neighboring house.

The committee meeting concerning rain garden plans and grant funding is still to be held, but updated information about next steps will be posted when it’s available. The next monthly meeting will be held Sunday, December 7, 5pm, at a TBA indoor location.

Meeting notes, October 5

October’s meeting was held at the garden and partially involved a site visit to a vacant lot.

  • Finances were discussed: The garden currently has just over $200.
  • New grant opportunities were discussed and tabled until further information could be gathered.
  • The recent bay-wise evaluation gave the garden an exceptionally high score, but had one suggestion: direct runoff water to a rain garden. Short term and long term stormwater management strategies were discussed, and tabled until after elections.
  • Garden board elections were discussed.
  • Upcoming Hollins Market Community Association board elections were discussed. Elections will be held at the community association meeting on Monday, October 13 at 7pm. All gardeners are encouraged to attend.
  • The cats who live in & around the garden were discussed, specifically as relates to communicating with their owners and possibly purchasing anti-flea medication.
  • The vacant lot up for cultivation per the owner, which was discussed at the September meeting, was visited and evaluated.

The next meeting will be held Sunday, November 2, 5pm, at the garden! Meetings are held the first Sunday of every month.

Baywise Evaluation

On Saturday October 4, three master gardeners stopped by for a site visit, and gave the garden a bay-wise evaluation. The garden scored 67—and the bar is set at 36. They said this was one of the highest scores they’d seen! You can read more online about the evaluation itself. Thanks to everyone who came out in the morning for the workday, and thanks to everyone who gardens and contributes. Great job, everyone!

baywise 1

baywise 2

baywise 3

baywise 4

If you haven’t yet, be sure to stop by soon to see the sign:

baywise zoom

Meeting notes, September 7

Hello all! A lot of gardeners made it to the September 7 meeting at the garden. Here’s what we talked about:

  • There’s a lot on the 1300 block of Baltimore. The owner is willing to let MCCG cultivate the plot, and it won’t be developed for a long time. A site visit was proposed, to be set at a future meeting.
  • Letting chickens out to eat bugs was discussed. Chickens will not be let out until later in the season. Also, the chicken run & flock size will tentatively be expanding soon.
  • When the garden comes under the land trust, it will no longer be eligible for the city’s water. Alternatives to the existing water supply were discussed, including getting a larger tank and connecting to a neighbor’s roof; or connecting a hose to a neighbor’s house, and paying them for the additional cost of water usage. The discussion was tabled until next season.
  • Improving the garden layout was discussed:
    • Neighborhood Design Center has offered free design services, which will be a long-term process.
    • On October 4, 10am, master gardeners will visit the garden for a Bay-Wise Evaluation.
  • Organizing committees & a reporting process to handle ongoing projects was discussed.
  • Incorporating the garden was discussed—the discussion was tabled for the season.
  • The composter in the fenced portion of the garden is irreparably broken. Until it is replaced, gardeners should bury their compost directly in the pile, 2-3 feet below the surface.
  • Complaints about neglectful/absentee gardeners was discussed. A system for public accountability, such as a map of plots indicating neglected plots
  • A workday was set for three weeks in the future, or Sunday, September 28.
  • Updating the website with content & functionality was discussed, including post-event reports, the budget, meeting minutes, links to the community, a sign-up form, and photos to humanize the garden.

Meetings are on the first Sunday of every month at 5pm in the garden. Come to the next one on October 5!

Baltimore Free Farm dispute in Hampden – Baltimore Sun

A community greening organization using the same Adopt-A-Lot program as the Mt. Clare Street Community Garden has seen some of its non-adopted space threatened by residential development.

Baltimore Free Farm dispute in Hampden – Baltimore Sun.

Baltimore Free Farm dispute in Hampden - Baltimore Sun