$22,000 will be used to beautify vacant lots, educate residents about urban gardens
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a $22,000 environmental justice grant to the Parks and People Foundation in Baltimore to help educate residents about safe ways to create urban gardens on vacant properties throughout the city.
The funding from EPA’s Environmental Justice Small Grants Program includes money that has already been spent to train 12 high school students how to collect soil samples from vacant lots that are designated for urban gardens for edible produce. The students will also set up workshops and conduct hands-on training to residents at various locations.
“This funding will help support ongoing efforts throughout the city of Baltimore to transform vacant properties into productive and sustainable gardens that grow fresh produce,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “EPA’s Environmental Justice Small Grants support activities that not only address community concerns, but also educate and empower our youth, the current generation of environmental stewards.”
The project initiated by Parks and People Foundation aims to educate more than 2,000 city residents about the importance of soil and the preventive and precautionary measures of dealing with soil contaminants. Funding also will be used to set up four to six vacant lot demonstration sites to conduct hands-on training in strategies for building productive soil beds.
Furthermore, the Baltimore project seeks to mitigate the impacts of climate change by increasing the area of “green” spaces that will help reduce storm water runoff.