What: Teresa Stephens and Gardens of Hope
Where: West Baltimore
Earth Philosophy: A vacant land mass can become a food source
When Teresa Stephens left her West Baltimore neighborhood to attend college, she knew she'd return to this sometimes-tough yet proud African-American community. Hence her volunteer work managing "Gardens of Hope," situated on a once-vacant lot in Upton.
"We've grown collards, spinach, tomatoes, okra, string beans, peas, corn, and I just planted Yukon gold potatoes," says Stephens, a master gardener. The garden has 10 gardeners now and is open to anyone. Gardeners are encouraged to grow organically, participate in "Plant a Row for the Hungry" and help keep nearby sidewalks and alleys free of debris — not always an easy task because of items dumped by contractors and stripped from vacant homes. But illegal dumping has slowed, she adds, leaving more time for gardening and a bit of promotion.
"It's fun, it's spiritual and eventually it's going to become a showcase and green-space oasis," she says.
For information on adopting a lot for a garden, contact email@example.com.