The Power in Dirt initiative launched with the revitalization of three vacant lots in different parts of the city. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the Power in Dirt initiative from one of the sites amongst a group of excited volunteers. Power in Dirt was born from the realization that green spaces accomplish so much in our neighborhoods. A green space can cause "crime reduction, improved physical and mental health, improved nutrition, increased property values, and stronger ecosystems." In an effort to respond to this understanding, Baltimore City got to work on a plan that would encourage residents to create green spaces all over the city. On August 6 we launched the event, kicking off a wonderful greening movement starting in Baltimore!
The launch included lots at N Madeira, North Ave, and N Carey Street. Volunteers from the neighborhood and partner organizations came out and picked up shovels, hoes, and rakes and got working!
We got great help from our partners Civic Works and Blue Water Baltimore designing and implementing beautiful new green spaces where these vacant lots used to be. For example, at 220 N Carey street in Franklin Square, we installed a Rain Garden!
A Rain Garden is meant to capture rain water and absorb it into the soil before it runs off into storm drains and through city streets, collecting pollutants as it goes. Rain gardens help the environment by increasing the amount of water that eventually goes into our groundwater (where we get the water we drink!) and decreasing the amount of pollution in our waterways. A more healthy Baltimore!
Vacant lots are usually seen as a negative element to our neighborhoods. But, if we think of these vacant lots as places for potential green spaces, we can all make Baltimore a beautiful, green, city! I encourage you to talk with your neighbors, go to your neighborhood association meetings, talk with your church communities, and organize a dedicated group to adopt a vacant lot and turn it into something beautiful - or volunteer with someone who is! A green space is not just a beautiful thing to behold - it is a community, it is a learning experience for children, it means healthy living and healthy eating, and it makes everyone who comes in contact with it happy.
Visit the Power in Dirt website : www.baltimorehousing.org/vtov_adopt and learn how you can contribute to the greening and beautification of your neighborhoods!
If you're just hearing about it for the first time, Power in Dirt is a new Mayoral initiative empowering communities to adopt city-owned vacant lots and turn them into community organized green and open spaces! It is part of the stepUP! Baltimore Campaign making Baltimore City a recognized City of Service. We have revamped the Adopt-a-Lot process, making it easier to find and adopt a vacant lot. We are also offering water access at a reduced rate! Just think what your community can do with an adopted vacant lot!