Monday, November 7, 2011

C.A.R.E Foundation and Baltimore City Vacant Lot Transformation

The C.A.R.E. Community Association is a non profit located in East Baltimore. Their boundaries are from N. Washington Street to Patterson Park Ave. and Fayette Street to McElderry Street. They are a resident-led coalition to create better living conditions in and around their neighborhoods. "C.A.R.E." stands for Cleaning, Active, Restoring, Efforts.

The C.A.R.E. Community Foundation has worked on four separate gardening sites in Baltimore City - Duncan and Orleans, Orleans and Chester, Duncan block, and Medeira Block. 
Community residents dig in the dirt to fix up a vacant lot
Everyone comes out to help turn a neighborhood vacant lot into a green space
President of C.A.R.E. Drew Bennett answers a few of our questions below:
How did you get started, and why?
Our community has large open spaces that need continual maintenance.  Power in Dirt was an opportunity to restore one such place and assist with our overall objective of making the space more community friendly.

What things did you learn?
It was great to work with so many city departments to see the project executed.  I learned how to communicate and network effectively to see something impossible become possible.

What obstacles have you faced? 
The large quantity of open spaces is a burden to regularly maintain.  We are in the process of training residents in our community to have a collective priority of beautifying and up-keeping the spaces so as to prevent any possible decay.

What are the benefits you've found?
Such activity draws residents together around common objectives.  It is also an opportunity to develop deeper and more meaningful relationships with residents, which enhances the overall community.

Who is involved? 
Our neighborhood group works closely with Banner Neighborhoods, Civic Works, and The Door to execute the vacant lot projects.  We appreciate the kind funding and technical assistance provided by the Baltimore Community Foundation and Parks & People Foundation.

What is your favorite plant in your garden? 
We have a spectacular weeping redbud that peaks my aesthetic senses when in full bloom. 

Power in Dirt coordinates Baltimore City community efforts to adopt and revitalize city-owned vacant lots. Tune in to our blog to learn as we help residents transform unused space in their neighborhoods into community managed green and open spaces! Do you have a vacant lot to green space story? Please share it with us!

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