In Baltimore City, 1 out of every 4 people lives in a food desert, an urban area where it is difficult to buy affordable or fresh food. When Caroline Kleis, 2020 began designing her Capstone Fellowship program – one of the first of its kind at RPCS – she decided to combine her interests in gardening/farming and the inequalities surrounding access to nutritious food, while interacting more with the Baltimore community and giving back to the city she calls home. Over the summer, she volunteered for 80+ hours at Whitelock Community Farm, an urban farm in Baltimore City that is committed to ending food deserts. Whitelock Community Farm is part of the Farm Alliance of Baltimore, a membership organization of urban farms, neighborhood growers and friends that strives to empower communities and improve access to urban grown foods. Throughout the summer, Caroline kept busy with harvesting vegetables, planting seeds, watering, weeding, preparing compost bins and produce for mobile markets, staffing farmers markets and assembling CSA bins.
“While the work was physically challenging, the social interactions were inspiring and rewarding,” said Caroline. “Whitelock Community Farm is much more to their community than just a business, but rather a place where anyone can access nutritious foods, chat with their neighbors, or come enjoy one of the free classes or cookouts.” Caroline recognizes that the path is long to ending food deserts, but is encouraged by the city farms’ efforts to engage their communities and make their food accessible to everyone.