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Grow Annapolis started when an eclectic group of individuals – all of whom shared a belief that there was something inherently good about accessibility to healthy food and connecting with neighbors – came together to act on their beliefs.
In March 2010, we started meeting weekly down near the City Dock and agreed that Annapolis would be a better place if it offered its residents community gardens. In June, we became incorporated, and by July we broke ground on our first project, the City Dock Gardens, located on the site of the former Recreation and Parks Building in downtown Annapolis. For five years, this small garden gave people from right down the street to as far away as Davidsonville, the opportunity to rent one of twenty-one 3’ x 12’ plots. Made possible by many generous in-kind donations, volunteer work parties, support from city officials and other community organizations, this garden provided a model of what is possible when people come together to improve and enhance a community.
In 2012, after several failed attempts to find other locations for community gardens in Annapolis, we started exploring ways to develop a second garden with a family farm in the St. Margaret’s area. In April 2014, a lease was signed, and in May we started work on the Hollywood Farm Gardens, opening officially on June 14th. An amazing Farm to Table Fundraiser was held that fall to cover our substantial startup costs. This community garden space now offers local residents access to 35 rental plots, ranging in size from 10’ x 20’ to 20’ x 30’. It has previously dedicated plots as “giving gardens,” that is, gardens where produce is raised for donation to local food pantries and shelters. Currently we are asking gardeners to donate excess produce for the pantries and shelters. Once again, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to several individuals and local companies for donating time, materials, and hard work, and to the Seznec family for persevering with us to hammer out a long-term agreement.
Most recently, after the sale of the old Recreation and Parks property, Grow Annapolis has been busy creating its third community garden to replace what was lost at City Dock. With the help of City Manager, Thomas Andrews, we located a promising site by the Eastport Firehouse, and in the spring of 2016 built twenty-two 4x 10’ beds, installed a fence and erected a shed. Four family sized plots (6 x 12’) were added in spring 2017 and the new Eastport Firehouse Garden is now an established part of the vibrant Eastport neighborhood.
From the start, Grow Annapolis has also worked with local parents, teachers and principals, to help create school gardens that children can work in and learn from. We believe that by educating children in the value of healthy food and respecting the earth from which it comes, we are taking a step to provide for the well-being of the future.
In the fall of 2017, we created a cookbook to help gardeners eat what they grow. Our ‘Grow Annapolis Cookbook’ is a collection of trusted recipes from the Grow Annapolis community, people from many different backgrounds and traditions. It is our hope that we might offer something unique and useful to fellow gardeners and supporters of our mission.
We are excited by what we have accomplished so far and look forward to continued success as we work to grow Annapolis together.
Yours in healthy living,
The Grow Annapolis Team