Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Freefall Baltimore for Young Children

I am excited that Freefall Baltimore is coming up. It is a chance to try out a variety of cultural events in the Baltimore community in October, all for free.


Although they use an icon to identify Kid-Friendly events on their website, not all of those looked interesting for young children. So, after sorting through them, here are the events I thought looked interesting for kids under 5. (Sadly, no dance performances.) This is just my summary of it; go to Freefall Baltimore for all of the details on the events, the locations, and how to obtain free passes when necessary, in addition to all of the other events.

I added most of these into the Event Calendar above, so check back here when October rolls around to see if any fit into your schedule.



MARYLAND ZOO IN BALTIMORE - Day of Free Admission
Wed Oct 1 10am – 4:30pm


MARYLAND SCIENCE CENTER - Friday After Five For Free
Fri Oct 3 & 31 5 – 8pm


THE LYRIC OPERA HOUSE - Meet the Beat in Your Feet
Sat Oct 4 10am


BALTIMORE PUBLIC WORKS MUSEUM - Heavy Metal: Big Truck Day
Sat Oct 4 10am – 2pm rain or shine


BALTIMORE STREETCAR MUSEUM - C'mon and Take a Free Ride
All Sat & Sun in Oct Noon – 5pm


NATIONAL MUSEUM OF DENTISTRY - MouthPower Family Day
Sun Oct 5 1 – 4pm


PRESTON MITCHUM, JR. FOUNDATION - Story Book Reading for Children
Sun Oct 12 3 – 5pm


BLACK CHERRY PUPPET THEATER - Puppets in the Garden
Sun Oct 12, 19 & 26 1pm & 3pm


CREATIVE ALLIANCE - Great Halloween Lantern Parade and Workshops
Sun Oct 12 & 19 10am, 12:30pm & 3pm
Sat Oct 25 7:30pm The Great Halloween Lantern Parade


NATIONAL AQUARIUM IN BALTIMORE/THE ENOCH PRATT LIBRARY - Free Admission Evening
Wed Oct 22 6pm – 9pm (entry from 6pm – 8pm)


BALTIMORE CHAMBER ORCHESTRA - Marvelous Music with a Science Slant
Fri Oct 24 6:30pm

Monday, August 11, 2008

Urban Farms Bike Tour

On Saturday morning we rode on a bike tour led by Roy Skeen and Gregory Strella of five different community gardens and urban farms in Baltimore City. It started at the Rawlings Conservatory in Druid Hill Park. Unfortunately, between Adam and the kids' trailer, we got two very flat tires within a mile, about a quarter of the way into the ride, so we packed up and drove the rest of the route in the car. It was definitely worth the effort.

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The gardens were amazing. Huge plots in the alleys of these neighborhoods, places where any green was in stunning contrast to the continuous gray of concrete. One of the gardens we visited was one of the "city farms" where people have the 10' x 15' leased plots. The rest were just huge hidden gardens where neighborhood volunteers coaxed the earth to produce tons of food.

One of them extended more than a whole city block in length, back in an alley where garages had been torn down. In the middle of boarded up houses, old men playing cards in the alleys, trash everywhere, there was this enormous growing sanctuary. It had huge fruit trees, huge berry bushes, vegetables, herbs, corn, with a shady path up the middle with picnic benches and tables. Harvested vegetables were laying in big piles to be eaten by anyone. Here was life.

Very inspiring. Also inspiring were the people we met: the people on the ride and the gardeners we met at each spot.

Doug Retzler of GreenCityBaltimore rode along recording the gardens in photos.

I found this website about community gardens through one of the folks we met. He recently started a half-acre organic farm somewhere in the county, while still living in the city.

Several of the folks we rode with had completed the Master Gardener program through the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension. From listening to them talk about it, it seems as though it is a fast overview of a wide variety of gardening topics, not particularly addressing any in depth, but it provides a fantastic opportunity to connect with other gardeners in the area and learn about what is happening in Baltimore's gardening community. That is just what I would like to do.

As a bonus, at each site we visited, we got to eat something that grew there. In several cases it was a edible native perennial weed. We tried sorrel, lambsquarter, tiger lily, and purslane. I would like to learn more about edible weeds. Sounds like a good topic for a guerrilla gardening night.