Large urban farm planned for Sandtown-Winchester

Baltimore's spending panel on Wednesday approved a deal to turn 75 vacant lots in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood into a large urban farm.

In a five-year deal, the Board of Estimates approved a $100 yearly lease to a partnership of two organizations — Strength to Love II and Big City Farms — for use of 75 properties in the 1800 blocks of Lorman and Kavanaugh streets for a 1.5-acre farm.

"They're setting out to find farmers who are willing to work on city-owned vacant land," Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. The company will bring fresh produce to the community for the next five years and help reduce food deserts, the mayor said.

Strength to Love II, which was founded in 1993, is a faith-based organization whose stated goal is to reduce high recidivism rates in Sandtown by providing jobs and training for ex-offenders. Big City Farms is an urban farming company that delivers its produce locally to grocery stores and restaurants.

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