The Baltimore City Department of Planning and the Department of Housing and Community Development issued a Request for Qualifications to farm city-owned vacant land. Those applicants deemed qualified will be able to lease city property for up to five years with an option to renew. Baltimore expects to lease 35 acres of land in parcels one acre and larger.
The City’s goals include: (1) establishing urban farms that use sustainable practices; (2) increasing access to healthy, affordable food; (3) improving environmental conditions on or around vacant land; (4) improving the aesthetics and property values surrounding the farms, and providing job training and employment opportunities; (5) to provide incremental tax revenues and other financial benefits to the city; and (6) to create opportunities for Minority and Women-owned businesses.
Baltimore’s proactive approach differs from the actions of Detroit officials, who are moving more tentatively in response to proposals for large-scale agriculture by private entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations.