Community Artist in Residence: Baltimore Orchard Project // 2015 - 2016
The Baltimore Orchard Project strengthens communities through planting and cultivating orchards, teaching citizens to be long-term stewards, and sharing the harvest among neighbors. BOP works with schools, congregations, neighborhoods, and individuals on their land to create sources of food, neighborhood gathering places, and lively ecosystems that keep Baltimore's communities healthy.
Fruit trees create enchanted groves where neighbors can meet, rest, and seek refuge from he rush of the day. Not only do they provide the benefits of regular trees (such as the ability to clean soil, water, and air from pollutants and create habitats for wildlife), but they also feed us! With over 120,000 people hungry in Baltimore City and 110,000 in Baltimore County, local orchards and food forests can provide healthy, free food for all.
My role as BOP's Community Artist in Residence was initially created to teach art after school programs for K-12. This developed into Orchard Club (8th grade) and Garden Art (ages 6-11) curriculums for BOP's youth education. Students learned about stormwater, edible rain gardens, "Funky Fruit", and the impact of an orchard ecosystem (including the importance of pollinators)!
Pompoming Baltimore's Trees!
A pompom is made up of hundreds of yarns held together by a single thread. As part of BOP's mission of connecting people to food, land, and each other; community members create pompoms as part of their community strengthening and bringing awareness of fruit and nut trees that are grown throughout the city (places shown include: Windsor Hills, Jubilee Arts, Coldstream Park, Freedom Temple AME Zion Church, Pop! Farm, Amazing Grace Lutheran Church, Govans Presbyterian Church, and Real Food Farm).
The Buzz: A Guide to Pollinator-Friendly Plants
In collaboration with Ben Howard and Bee Friendly Apiary
Did you know that pollinator populations are crashing across the United States, with 61% honeybee hive losses in Maryland this year alone? So much of our fruit is grown with the help of pollinators. One way we can help reverse this is by planting pollinator-friendly plants for bees to feed on!
Thanks to Bill Castro of Bee Friendly Apiary who visited BOP to bring the severity to our attention, Ben and I came up with The Buzz. Inside, you will find an 8 month guide of yummy plants that will feed pollinators and fun facts to learn more about about these helpful creatures!