Opening Day Festivities and Fervor

Hello all,

If you happened to drive by this small triangular plot of land at the beginning of October 2011, this is what you would have seen…

It’s hard to believe that a mere 7 months later, this piece of unused space could become the hopping place it was this morning, complete with awesome banjo background tunes, a mini vegetable and seedling market, determined birdhouse-decorating artists, talented tie-dyers, friendly conversation, scrumptious food, and much more!

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Despite being one of those cold (lower 50’s), cloudy/dreary Saturday mornings when all anyone wants to do is sleep in under their nice warm covers, we had over 85 people come out and enjoy the family-fun, community-building garden party!

The creation of this garden could not have come so far without the tireless dedication of our garden committee members (Wei-ting Chen, Audrey Swanenberg, Steve Hulbert, Joseph McSharry, Andrew Stiller, and myself), the many offices that have supported our venture (the Center for Social Concern- especially Lena Denis, current Sustainable Food & Nutrition VISTA, Anna Belous, 2011-2012 student garden manager, and Gia Grier; the Office of Facilities Management; the Office of Sustainability; Eastern Security); our enthusiastic new staff and faculty gardeners (especially Ann Beckemeyer and Adam Sheingate), and the countless other general volunteers (stemming from Real Food Hopkins, Black Student Union, Hopkins Farmhands, Campus Kitchens, Mentoring Assistance Peer Program, Whiting School of Engineering, Space Telescope Science Institute, the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, and many more groups!) who helped bring this garden to life! Thank you to Baltimore City Master Gardeners, CGRN, Tree Baltimore, and Baltimore City Recreation & Parks-Horticultural Division for your various donations to our efforts, as well as the anonymous donors on our behalf.

We would like to send a special thanks to Ms. Charlene Moore Hayes, VP of Human Resources, for her nice remarks and assistance in marking today’s historical Grand Opening with the planting of two new fruit trees (and special thanks to the volunteers who braved the hard clay and put the manpower into digging the holes for these trees!). The Johns Hopkins Federal Credit Union deserves recognition for helping us acquire the BJP t-shirts that will help spread the word about the garden far and wide! And thanks to Jason Reed of “Her Fantastic Cats” for providing the great musical entertainment. Not only does he have great banjo-playing skills, but he is also an OSI Baltimore Community Fellow who started a community garden down in Curtis Bay!

We invited farmers from Whitelock Community Farm of Reservoir Hill to join us on opening day for two reasons: 1) They have some beautiful seedlings for sale for our gardeners; 2) their presence reminded everyone that this little community garden tucked in one corner of Johns Hopkins University is part of a much larger movement of greening, urban farming, and a more sustainable future.

Moreover, today’s event would not have been complete without the delicious food donations from Niman Ranch (all-natural, sustainably raised hot dogs and sausages), Rudi’s Organic Bakery (whole wheat hot dog buns and 100% WW sandwich bread), Crofter’s Organic (many varieties of “Just fruit” spread); and to Whole Foods-Harbor East for condiment donations. The delicious kale salad was created by Wei-ting Chen, and since many of you have asked, here’s her recipe:

Maple Marinated Kale Salad: Serves 2-4

  • 1 bunch of kale (a little over a pound), washed, dried, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • 1-1.5 TB Olive oil
  • 1 TB Maple syrup
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • salt 1/2+ tsp
  • black pepper – to taste


  1. Clean, dry and cut kale into bite-sized pieces
  2. Slice onions very thinly and thinly slice or crush garlic
  3. Sprinkle salt over kale, shake/ toss evenly (massaging with hands); a little water should seep out after mixing with salt. Let rest for a few minutes. Mix kale with garlic and onion.
  4. Add oil to vegetable mixture, shake again.
  5. Pour maple syrup over the vegetables, mix well.
  6. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  7. Then, toss the salad with lemon juice, add pepper and salt (if needed). Let sit in fridge for at least 10 minutes longer.

We hope today’s event will serve as just a glimpse of our garden’s full potential, and that this will be the first of many garden parties to come!

Thanks again to all and hope to see you in the garden soon,

Raychel  and the rest of the BJP Committee!


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