is a worker-run organic farm cooperative located in downtown Baltimore City. Formed in the winter of 2007 as a community garden, we have converted an under-utilized vacant lot into an urban farm. We are working against the increasing enclosure and privatization of public land, water and other common resources essential to life. Huerta del Centro operates according to principles of workers' self-management, participatory planning and democratic decision-making; we value the principles of equality, diversity and solidarity. Huerta del Centro cooperative is an alternative way of organizing and doing business that is based on non-exploitative and non-alienated labor conditions and is dedicated to building a more economically, socially and ecologically sustainable society.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) creates a direct partnership between local farmers and consumers, eliminating supermarket middlemen and restoring the connection between a community and the source of its food. To sum it up, people buy "shares" of Huerta del Centro's (Downtown Farm Coop) harvest ahead of time and pick up the produce once a week throughout the growing season. Advance payment helps sustainable agriculture survive in Maryland by defraying spring startup costs and guaranteeing an income for the farmers. Investing up front with farmer saves about 25% over the cost of the same produce bought at a farmer's market, and even more when compared to supermarket prices. Direct delivery to a CSA pickup site also saves on gas and transportation costs, and your vegetables are handled less.
What is Participation Park ?
Participation Park is an ongoing public art project and activist initiative based on converting a vacant lot in east Baltimore into an urban farm, social space, community kitchen, free store, radical planning studio and adventure playground. Against the increasing privatization of public spaces in the city and the top-down forms of urban planning that design them, we are squatting the land and collaborating with neighborhood residents to produce a space that responds to our collective needs and desires. Inspired by movements to ‘reclaim the commons’ and demand a ‘right to the city,’ the park is an experiment in democratic spatial practice, inviting everyone who participates in the use of the space to engage in the political process of shaping it.
The Communal Vegetable Garden is collectively maintained by everyone who works at the park. There is no fence and all of the vegetables are distributed for free within the neighborhood. Individual Plots are maintained by an individual or family for personal consumption. The Adventure Playground is an open space for young people to be creative and build their own structures for play away from adult supervision. The Community Kitchen serves as a hub for social activity in the park and provides a station for cleaning and preparing vegetables from the garden for large free meals. The Radical Planning Studio provides tools for users to make their own designs for the park. The Free Store operates as a gift economy by collecting donations of used cloths and goods and redistributing them for free.