Urban Farming in Baltimore

What’s the difference between an urban farm and a community garden?
Definitions for both can vary, and many projects fall somewhere in between. In general, a community garden is run by a core group of community members with the goals of growing food for themselves and their families – this can take many forms including individual plots or communal rows. We tend to define an urban farm as an entity that is production-oriented and growing food for others – whether for sale or for donation.

Why do we want farms in a city?
We have outlined many of the benefits of urban farming for the economy, the community, and the environment at the bottom of our About Us page. We believe that urban farming’s value isn’t measured only in the pounds of vegetables harvested or dollars made at market, but in the relationships it builds, the communities it grows, and the sustainable ideals it represents.

What kinds of farms exist in Baltimore City?
To date, Baltimore has around 20 urban farms, depending on your definition, many of which are Alliance members. Baltimore has commercial ventures, farm collectives, a ministry-run farm, a service-corps model farm, community farms, family farms, experimental farms, and more. One thing we love about urban farming is how each farm has developed its own personality, which makes knowing about each and every one of them a pleasure.

The Alliance

How did the Farm Alliance come to be?
The idea for a network of Baltimore’s urban farms grew out of informal farmer gatherings and existing collaborations. With help from an Open Society Institute Community Fellowship and a USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant, the group began to take shape in fall 2011 with Maya Kosok coordinating the effort.

What are the benefits of being in the Alliance?
We are a group trying to make urban farming more viable and increase food access in Baltimore.  In order to do this, we use the collective power of Baltimore’s urban farms to gain more resources for each farm and influence in policy decisions than we could alone.  We provide a shared EBT machine for our member farms to use at their local farm stands. Additionally, we share a farm stand at the Saturday Waverly Market to maximize profits for each of our farms. We have some shared equipment, which all our member farms may access.  As a group, we can collectively market and publicize our many projects throughout the City.

Can I join the Alliance?
We are always open to gaining new members and would be happy to have any Baltimore-based production-scale urban farm be a part of the Alliance.  That being said, we do have some simple criteria for new members that can be found on our Membership page.

Where does all the food go?
Into the mouths of hungry Baltimoreans, of course.  Baltimore’s urban farms sell food through neighborhood farm stands, Community Supported Agriculture, mobile markets, local restaurants, and more. Excess produce from our farms is donated to local food pantries and charitable organizations. Learn more on the “Food” section of our website.