Pop! Farm is a community garden in Southwest Baltimore led by James McHenry Elementary School, Hollins Roundhouse, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
A community garden was originally founded on the vacant lots by Delegate Ruth Kirk, of the Maryland General Assembly. Community members living in a food desert could grow their own fresh produce together. ???? That was cool. After her death in 2011, the property became overgrown and attracted significant dumping and litter ???? , which was not so cool.
In 2012, affiliates of Johns Hopkins University adopted the lot and established the Poppleton Children’s and Community Garden. At this point, the garden provided weekend programming for children, and supported seniors who’d gardened with Delegate Kirk in maintaining their plots. Without access to fresh water, leaders literally brought buckets of water from Mt. Vernon to the site. ????
The new leadership team introduced a water hook-up ????, fruit trees ????, chickens ????, an apiary ????, and a new name: POP Farm.
By early 2015, POP Farm’s stewards were no longer able to care for the site, and it returned to a state of overgrowth and neglect. The leadership team worked with the Hollins Roundhouse neighborhood association and the University of Maryland to identify new partners to steward the garden.
In fall 2015, James McHenry Elementary Middle School adopted the site to provide a space for their garden club to enjoy outdoor education and opportunities for recreation. The Education Committee of the Southwest Partnership is the fiscal sponsor of the project. The Hollins Roundhouse neighborhood association and students at the University of Maryland School of Social Work raise money to ensure that participation in Pop! Farm is free of charge for all members of the school community. The University of Maryland’s Office of Community Engagement provides volunteers, project coordination, and resources to enhance health and educational programming on site.