the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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md is the first state to ban bee killing pesticides for consumer use


Neonicotinoids are a newer class of insecticides that are chemically related to nicotine. Like nicotine, they act on certain receptors in the central nervous system. In insects, they cause paralysis and death. After becoming concerned about the use of neonicotinoids and the health risks they pose to bees, as well as local waterways and other wildlife, the state of Maryland recently decided they’ve had enough.

Research shows that toxic neonictinoid pesticides not only kill and harm bees, butterflies and birds, they also pose a serious threat to food, public health and other wildlife, and they are playing a significant role in bees dying at alarming rates around the world. According to the Maryland Pesticide Network, beekeepers in Maryland lost 61% of their bees last year, which is about twice the national average.

n an effort to save the honeybee population, the Pollinator Protection Act was created. The act aims to curb consumer purchases of products that contain neonicotinoids, and ensure that consumers are informed when plants have been grown or treated with them.

Maryland lawmakers recently passed bills that would ban stores from selling products laced with neonicotinoids to homeowners. The two bills, SB 198 and HB 211, are expected to be combined into a single piece of legislation for Governor Larry Hogan to sign within the next two weeks. Hogan’s signature would turn Maryland into the first state to ban the harmful pesticides from people who aren’t using them properly. When the law takes effect in 2018, farmers and professionals who have a better understanding of the pesticides and how to apply them in a way that poses a lesser threat to bees would be exempted.


To read more, click HERE

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pesticides show up in rainwater in four agricultural watersheds


Image from Wikipedia.

Read this 2008 study on the University of Nebraska’s Digital Commons. The study publishes research supported by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program done in 2003 and 2004, which found statistically significant levels of herbicides and insecticides in rainwater in Maryland, Indiana, Nebraska, and California. We’d like to know how these levels are changing over time as high pesticides continue to be sprayed around the country.

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JOB POSTING: civic works food and farm director in baltimore, MD



Civic Works, Inc. seeks a creative, independent individual who has leadership experience and a shown passion for Food Access, Urban Greening or Farm initiatives.  This new position will work to maintain and expand programs that are working to promote urban agriculture, provide higher access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and train individuals for jobs in the community Food and Farm sectors.  The selected candidate will work 40 hours per week and receive salary plus benefits including life insurance, short and long-term disability, supported health care, vision and dental plus a 401k with a company match.  While based out of Clifton Park, the selected candidate will be required to travel to the programs often and is expected to have his/her own vehicle for which mileage will be reimbursed.


  • Coordinate and direct the Food and Farm related initiatives at Civic Works which currently include Real Food Farm, Little Gunpowder Farm, Farm Alliance, Baltimore Orchard Project, Food Forest and related activities.
  • Work with the Fund Development Director to acquire the necessary funding for Food and Farm initiatives.
  • Work with the Fund Development Director to provide timely reporting for grants, especially the AmeriCorps grants.
  • Insure that data is being properly tracked, reported and analyzed for internal planning and grant matrix.
  • Manage and track budgeting for all related programs.
  • Assist with CW wide events and integrating programs not directly related to Food and Farm.

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black farmers to buy from



The protests taking place in Baltimore are a part of an uprising for the Black Lives Matter Movement. Through protests, civil disobedience, and media, black people and allies are demanding we acknowledge and discuss the systematic racism in America that is portrayed specifically though police brutality based on race.

The actions taking place in Baltimore have proven to be extremely controversial.  Some, including large media, speak of the events though a lense of violence and fear-mongering, and dismiss the black experience. Others see the actions as a result of righteous rage and compare the protests to historically prominent moments in American history that have shaped civil rights as we know them today.

Everyone has their side. Whole Foods Market in East Baltimore publicly declared to support the National Guard during this time with sandwich donations.  Make a choice to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement through supporting black farmers.

(Post adopted from The Root Of It All Blog)


  1. Five Seeds Farms
  2. The Flower Factory
  3. The Greener Garden

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soul foods, not whole foods (staying abreast of the riots in Baltimore)


Just because Spring is the busiest time of year for farmers doesn’t mean that we’re not taking the time to keep a close eye on the riots in Baltimore. We know that the entrenched system of labor exploitation and land abuse that makes it to be a small farmer in this country is exactly the same system of greed, racism, and oppression that devalues black bodies and black life.  We understand that the success of our (and, in fact, all progressive) movements are not separate but intrinsically linked.

Whole Foods came out last week in support of The National Guard Last week. No surprise here, but we’d like to suggest that, in response, you choose not to support them. Check out this handy (though not complete) list Black Farmers to Buy from Instead of Whole Foods.

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real food farm hiring new production assistant!

Real Food Farm in Baltimore is hiring a new Production Assistant.

Under supervision of the Farm Manager, the Production Assistant assists with all daily work and food production activities at the Clifton, Perlman Place Farm or Aisquith Street site. Production Assistants are asked to devote one Saturday per month to assist with volunteer day projects or community events. Production Assistants will be engaged in all aspects of vegetable production and fieldwork, interact with volunteers and market customers, as well as provide support for Real Food Farm’s community garden project at Perlman Place.

These positions require 30-35 hours per week on average from March 2015 – September 2015. Positions available include three 900-hour and one 675-hour Civic Works AmeriCorps terms, which consist of a modest biweekly stipend, skills training, and education award upon completion of service.

You can read the full description of the position and learn how to apply HERE.

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urban ag in baltimore

by Alia Malek


BALTIMORE, Md. — In Sandtown, Douglas Wheeler looks out with satisfaction over the abandoned city-block-turned-farm where he works growing all sorts of greens and lettuce — “but never iceberg” — and remembers how it used to be.

“This lot was a garden of trash,” he says. “With rats all over the place.”

Before they were demolished in 2005, the block had 27 row houses, most of them long boarded up and abandoned, transformed from icons of Baltimore pride to casualties of the blight brought on the city by deindustrialization, unemployment, addiction and the war on drugs.

Until the 1960s, Sandtown was part of the vibrant 72 square blocks that made up a family-based, African-American community where laborers, professionals and artists all lived together across socioeconomic lines. The quarter took its name from the horse-drawn wagons that would trail sand through its streets after filling up at the local sand and gravel quarry. Thurgood Marshall graduated from Sandtown’s Frederick Douglass High School, locals Cab Calloway and Billie Holiday sang in the legendary jazz clubs on Pennsylvania Avenue, and any kid could get some wood, build a box and make a few bucks on that main drag shining shoes.

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baltimore non-profit seeks intern

TALMAR Gardens and Horticultural Therapy Center is a non-profit farm established to provide a therapeutic and recreational environment offering horticultural therapy and vocational skills training opportunities for people with special needs. With frequent help from our program participants, we grow flowers, vegetables and herbs using sustainable and organic methods.


Interns will participate in a range of on-farm activities including growing produce and flowers, pest management, soil development, and harvest. In addition to hands-on training, interns will also receive readings and resources for further knowledge development. Activities include:
Field work – seeding, transplanting, weeding, thinning, trellising, bed preparation, and mowing Continue reading

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intern at side by side farm

SBS logo

Side by Side Farm is accepting applications for 2 part-time interns for the 2013 season. Our farm is located in an idyllic setting, less than an hour’s drive north of Baltimore. This position would be perfect for persons looking to gain solid farming experience who are not yet able to commit to a full-time position. We farm on 3 acres for our vegetable CSA, using organic growing methods, and the balance of the land (woodlots and pasture) is managed according to permaculture principles. We also grow a handful of specialty crops, including baby ginger, shiitake mushrooms and lemongrass. To read more about our farm, visit our website at:

Internships run from mid-March to the end of October. We prefer that interns commit to the full season, but we have some flexibility with start and end dates. We are looking for hard working, open-minded, energetic people to join our team. Prior farming experience is a plus, but is not necessary. Continue reading

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community outreach coordinator at real food farm

Real Food Farm is pleased to announce the opening of the Community Outreach Coordinator position. This is a 1-year VISTA position starting November 2012. Real Food Farm is Civic Works’innovative urban agricultural enterprise engaged in growing fresh produce on six acres of land in Clifton Park in northeast Baltimore. We broke ground in October 2009 and since then we have been busy growing food, educating youth, partnering with community organizations, and bringing more real food to Northeast Baltimore.

Community Outreach Coordinator
Real Food Farm is currently seeking a full-time Americorps VISTA Community Outreach Coordinator to begin November 2012. This is an opportunity for an individual interested in directly engaging communities with low-access to fresh food. The goal of the position is to develop Real Food Farm’s capacity to increase food access and food security in the Clifton Park neighborhoods. Responsibilities include utilizing existing partnerships and programming while reaching out to new partners. The Coordinator will continue to develop the Mobile Market program while assisting in its daily operations; increase accessibility of other RFF programs including on-farm volunteering, education programming, and the CSA; and work with city agencies, universities, and community health partners for the betterment of the food system in the Clifton Park neighborhoods. Continue reading

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baltimore county young farmers

on the radio!  Thanks for Charlotte Heyrman for sending us the link. Listen HERE to the segment on the Marc Steiner show.

This week on the show, we’ll speak with three farmers who work small parcels of land in Baltimore County. Becky and Jack Gurly operate Calvert’s Gift Farm in Sparks, MD, where they grow organic vegetables on 5 acres. They also help run a training program for new farmers. They joined us along with Denzel Mitchell, one of their trainees, to discuss the importance of increasing the number of small farmers, to share what it’s like to run a small farm today, and to discuss how they came to the approach to farming that they’ve chosen. Then, join us for a tour of a new shrimp farm that’s being built in an old warehouse in the heart of Baltimore. We’re joined by Peter May, an estuarine ecologist, and Bryon Salladin, an arborist.

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maryland tractor workshop

Tractor Operation and Maintenance Workshop at the Accokeek Foundation

Saturday, April 14 – Sunday, April 15, 2012– 8:30am to 5:00 pm

This two-day, hands-on workshop demystifies tractors and empowers their users to operate and maintain their machines more safely, and with greater skill and confidence. Day one focuses on the fundamentals of tractor operation; reviewing everything from the historical purpose and use of tractors to the functions and safe use of all of the pedals and levers, the drawbar, power take-off (PTO), and the front-end loader.  We will end the first day with tractor driving practice for the novices in the class. Continue reading

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mobilizing & organizing conference

Mobilizing and Organizing From Below
June 1st – 3rd, 2012
Baltimore, Maryland * 2640

Mobilizing and Organizing from Below will be a gathering of activists and organizers, workers and parents, revolutionaries and militants and radicals and dissenters, dedicated to increasing our ability to come together and challenge the systems of exploitation and oppression that have taken hold of the world. The conference will be a weekend of intensive, horizontally-organized political education, in which we can share skills, analyze the problems we face, and pose difficult questions. It will also provide a space for people from different traditions to come together and recognize the depth of our similarities and the richness of our differences; a space for reflection and discussion, distinct from both the chaotic excitement of spontaneous mass actions and the intense demands of long-term organizing work. Continue reading

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assistant farm manager – oakland, MD

Backbone Food Farm is hiring an Assistant Farm Manager to work with us for the 2012 growing season and subsequent years to come.  We are looking for a person to join our crew to supervise, in conjunction with the two head farmers, our 12 acre produce operation.  Our season runs March 15- October 30.

About Backbone
BBFF is a 530 acre farm located in the rich farmlands and rolling mountains of western Maryland. About 100 acres of the farm are fields, which we use for produce, hay and pasture.  The remainder is wooded.  We are entering our thirteenth year here, and have been growing produce since the day we moved in.  Continue reading