The latest episode of Roughly Speaking comes with a video. (I think this is a first for the podcast.) Sun videographer Kevin Richardson and I recently visited City Seeds, the first tenant in the East Baltimore food hub. I spoke with chef Aharon Denrich and some of his staff — James St. John, the cookie man; Lovetie Gbalazeh, and Kingsley Aubmere — as they prepared a catered meal for one of City Seeds’ customers.
City Seeds is a commercial kitchen that provides catering and grab-and-go meals for some major institutions and businesses in Baltimore. The idea is to conduct a business — it did about $1.5 million in sales last year — while employing people who’ve faced challenges in their lives and train them for careers in kitchens. It’s a social enterprise of the Humanin non-profit.
City Seeds is located in a shiny new building off North Wolfe Street in Broadway East, a few blocks north of Johns Hopkins Hospital and the sprawling EBDI redevelopment project. The area, with some decrepit buildings that were once part of the city’s water system, has been slated to become a food hub. So far, City Seeds and another Humanim project, School of Food, are the only operations there. The American Communities Trust bought the old buildings in 2014 and that organization is still looking for tenants.