Driven by the energetic Farmer Chippy of Plantation Park, the Druid Hill Farmer’s Market is back

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There’s good news for fans of the Druid Hill Farmers Market who feared Baltimore had lost the beloved Wednesday night tradition forever.

Yes, following a pandemic hiatus, volunteers have closed the market after 11 years of providing a fluffy mix of fresh fruits and vegetables, crafts, flowers, honey and yoga on the grass.

Fortunately, the market is back this summer under new management as “The Agrihood Baltimore Farmers Market.”

The focus is on urban farming, but it still offers the same chilled, laid-back vibe.

“It’s all local,” said Bria Morton-Lane, a young farmer at Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm. “We work hard to prepare all this food and we want to share it with our people.”

Bria Morton-Lane presents peppers from Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm. (Jennifer Bishop)

Morton-Lane was one of a dozen vendors set up at the traditional market location on Swann Drive near the Rawlings Conservatory, the green expanse of the park on one side and McCulloh Street and Druid Hill Avenue animated on the other.

In front of her was a colorful table laden with farm produce: purple eggplant, yellow squash and green onions, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers and more. A basket of brown eggs was enticing.

Other farmers came with their vegetables as well as fruits, flowers and herbs. There were cooking demonstrations. There were jewelry, art, incense and crafts for sale.

On the grass, people were lying on their mats as part of a yoga class. Others put themselves in the hands of the cheerful market masseuse and climbed onto her massage table.

Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm produce for sale.  (Jennifer Bishop)

Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm products for sale and, below, handcrafted jewelry. (Jennifer Bishop)

Jewelry for sale at the Agrihood Baltimore Farmers market in Druid Hill Park.  (Jennifer Bishop)

Food for the community

For Jamie Barton, the location of the market is important, offering fresh and healthy food to city dwellers who do not have much access to it in their neighborhood.

“We sell our produce here because it’s a good place, we can reach a lot of people in the community,” said Barton, a Caroline County farmer who helped bring the market back.

Also present was the dynamo who led the charge to revive the weekly event, Richard Francis, who goes by the name “Farmer Chippy”.

Chippy, who moved to Baltimore from his native Trinidad, has dedicated his life to teaching young people the importance of urban agriculture.

He is the founder of the Urban Farm Plantation Park Heights, so named to be intentionally provocative. “You have to remind children of the colonizers,” he likes to say.

A community-shared farm, market, and agricultural resource and training institute, Plantation Park Heights, at Springhill and Cottage Avenues, is also a gathering place for the Caribbean diaspora in Baltimore.

“I come from a community in Trinidad and Tobago where when we prepare our food – don’t cook for one or two, we cook in case someone else comes on the team,” Chippy said.

“I want my children to become self-sufficient urban farmers, but always thinking about their community,” said Chippy, whose project is supported by Park Heights Renaissance.

Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm founder Richard Francis, known to all as Farmer Chippy.  (Jennifer Bishop)

Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm founder Richard Francis, known as Chippy Farmer. BELOW: A bouquet of phlox and other farm-grown flowers. (Jennifer Bishop)

A bouquet of phlox and other farm flowers.  (Jennifer Bishop)

Urban mission

For Chippy, the farm, and by extension the farmers’ market, is a chance to not only bring healthy, local produce to city dwellers, but also nurture the community’s youth to build a self-sufficient network of urban agriculture.

Chippy sees the revamped Druid Hill event as a stage to showcase the work of his young farmers, giving them the opportunity to see the results of their hard work.

“The goal was to get them on the farm, teach them the basics, show them how food moves through the system, and then come to market and earn some income for the work they’ve done all this time,” he said. The beverage.

Tomatoes, peppers and nectarines offered.  BELOW: Fresh eggs.  (Jennifer Bishop)

Tomatoes, peppers and nectarines offered. BELOW: Fresh eggs. (Jennifer Bishop)

Druid Hill Park fresh eggs.  (Jennifer Bishop)

“The next phase would be to take it to every corner of Baltimore and then to every corner of the United States of America,” Chippy said, mentioning Detroit, Chicago and other cities.

Morton-Lane, who is the farm’s treasurer, agreed.

“We want to build and educate our community on the importance of urban agriculture and support the local economy,” she said.

“We are training all of these young farmers so that we can build together and thrive as a healthier community.”

The Agrihood Baltimore Farmer’s Market is open Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. next to the Rawlings Conservatory. Free community yoga takes place weather permitting at 5:30 p.m. To reach the market manager: [email protected]

Massage station at the Agrihood Baltimore Farmers Market in Druid Hill Park.  (Jennifer Bishop)

Massage station at Agrihood Market in Druid Hill Park. (Jennifer Bishop)

A yoga class, under the shade of a pink crape myrtle, at Druid Hill Park (Jennifer Bishop)

A yoga class in the shade of a blooming pink crape myrtle. (Jennifer Bishop)

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