Project to convert vacant buildings and dumps into gardens

BALTIMORE - You see them everywhere, no community is exempt, and it has no respect for like for beauty.

They are abandoned buildings and their close partners vacant lots.

They are eyesores that suck the life out of what were once vibrant neighborhoods.

But today Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and a team of visionaries are spearheading a plan that will convert this soil of despair into soil that  will help sustain life.

"We have vacant lots throughout the city, and we're determined to get those lots into the hands of either developers who want to build new houses for our new families that want to move to Baltimore, or to do something like this to transform this vacant lot that people are sick and tired of seeing, sick and tired of walking by and seeing trash and who knows what else that now it's a garden."

The city plans to convert 32 vacant lots to urban edible gardens and starting here in the Upton Community, children from neighborhood schools are the first Upton farmers.

With a goal of 1,000 gardens throughout the world by 2018, the sponsor, Scotts Miracle Grow, sees it as a way to give back to the communities and to teach urban farming and healthy eating.

Barry Sanders is the C.O.O. of Miracle Grow.  He says, "teaching children gardening, wellness, and then providing them the benefit back from the value of the gardening we viewed it as a good opportunity to help.  So far this is our second one.  It's going very well, we're getting a great turnout."

Jocelyn Bogen is with the U.S. Conference of Mayors.  She says, "we're seeing a real difference, I mean we were here yesterday and it was just dirt and people were kind of looking around like what's going on and you come today, and it's an area that's been transformed."

So a $25,000 grant will beautify, encourage a mindset of independence, raise property values, and bring together communities.

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