By Katie Kilby

Two years ago we began the process of mapping assets and opportunities in Baltimore. We want to expand our work to a new part of the city and stand up for our second operation outside of Harlem Park West.

After cups of coffee and conversations all over Baltimore, we see that we can make the greatest impact in South Baltimore where there are both opportunities and a budding network with community champions.

The Filbert Street Garden was one of our first solid connections that happened in the summer of 2017. Their work touches almost all of our operational partners in one way or another.

The Filbert Street Garden provides youth employment opportunities to students at Ben Franklin High School, urban agriculture and wildlife education for local school children, honey that The Well uses in their social enterprise products, shade and greenery for families living in a concrete jungle, best practices to their sister garden at City of Refuge (built-in collaboration with TMC between Summer Service Slam 2018 and Operation Charm City Charge) and fresh fruits and vegetables for residents of Curtis Bay – a food desert.

Although the road to this particular project was a long one with our own foundation building and for a period of time, believing that the city would be closing Filbert Street Garden to expand an existing water pump on a neighboring property, we were finally able to complete projects on Saturday that we had been preparing for almost 2 years!

We #unitedinservice with local veterans, active-duty military, and neighbors (including Delegate Brooke Lierman) from throughout Curtis Bay and Brooklyn to deliver on a promise that was made 2 years ago to help Filbert Street Garden build capacity and serve even more families.

Impact

  • Built 1 barn foundation
  • Built 1 Goat Barn/Storage Shed
  • Built 1 shade sail pergola over the composting center
  • Installed netting over the chicken enclosure
  • Refurbished/painted 6 picnic tables and 5 garden signs
  • Relocated 1 Little Library (and lowered to children’s height)
  • Dug 20 post holes for new goat enclosure fence (to be built later this month)
  • Weeded/prepped greenhouse and inner garden/community plots for fall planting
  • Created stone pathway to an inner garden
  • Filled one 30 yards roll-off dumpster of weeds, overgrowth, and trash from the garden exterior, greenhouse, and Farring-Baybrook Park (OC3 project site across the street)

Volunteer Reflections

“At the end of our 9/11 Project, our partners at the Filbert Street Garden couldn’t believe what we had achieved together in just a few hours. This was a very important event to me and a personal accomplishment – we had been talking about these projects since my first day as a Platoon Leader. It took us over a year to bring our vision to reality, but I am so glad we were able to make good on our promise to our partner. Most importantly, though, many first-timer volunteers were impressed by TMC and told us that they were looking forward to volunteer with us again! We kept our promise to our community and grew our ranks – it was a successful day!”Christophe Paul, Active Duty Army and Current Baltimore 2nd Platoon Leader


“Loving your country means investing in it. I invested a decade in uniform and now invest my time and energy into my community at the Filbert Street Garden as a volunteer to promote education, building a friendly communal space, and caring for local wildlife. Don’t let being a veteran define you, but work to define what it means to be a veteran.”Charles DeBarber
Filbert Street Garden Animal Caretaker, Army Veteran, and Baltimore 2nd Platoon Member

“This event was very important to the community because it promotes community involvement while allowing local residents to grow fresh food that is otherwise unavailable or outside their reach. There’s an opportunity to learn new skills, teach others, and be a positive part of a community. Plus, who doesn’t like goats, ducks, geese and even bees?”Makinzee C.
High School Student & Daughter of Army Veteran/Platoon Member Emily Jones

“Seeing this many veterans coming together to support the community is a testament to the core values of serving our nation. Putting our skills to use again in the community gives us the chance to have a real impact that can change lives. When you get a group of veterans together they’ll move mountains to get the job done!”Javier Cruz
Active Duty Army & Platoon Member

Photos from the day