Mayor candidate Calvin Young on putting the charm back in Charm City

This year is a big year of voting and elections. Not only do we have the presidential election, soon it will be time make decisions on a more local level here in Baltimore. If you have taken a walk around the city, you might have seen various advertisements and endorsements for candidates running for mayor. Take a look around and you might see a not so familiar face, the up and coming, new to politics, Calvin Young has decided to run for mayor. Mayoral Candidate, Calvin Young, talks about truly making Baltimore charm city and revitalizing the city.

The Post had the chance talk to the 28 year old candidate who relates to the “Baltimore” struggle. He knows the city because he grew up here. He had stern, yet humble, beginnings in Northeast Baltimore in a single-parent home. His mother worked for the city jail for 23 years as a correctional officer, telling him, “I work in the jail so you don’t go to jail.” As a child, Young’s mother was often approached by peo- ple whom she saw in jail. She would tell him why they went to jail and encourage him not to end up that way. Young’s family, like some Baltimoreans, include those who have struggled with various addictions. He describes his family as, “regular as they come! My grandfather worked at Bethlehem steel. My brother goes to law school here. My sister is the volleyball coach at Mervo. My uncle was a pastor – store front pastor. We’re as regular as it comes. Growing up for me was a typical Baltimore life. We stayed over east and my father lived on the west side. We would visit Park Heights. The height of the summer time, Park Heights is what I used to experience. I lived in Northeast where it wasn’t as tough and that had to do with my mother’s decision. She worked a lot of overtime. She worked a lot of doubles. There were many times where she was working a double and we didn’t have no lights because paying the mortgage or the rent was so high but she did it. She didn’t want us to grow up in Cherry Hill, where she grew up. She felt like she could give us a better life that way. The reality is where you grow up dictates how successful you will be. I didn’t have friends that had guns. I didn’t have friends who were drug dealers. Knowing and understanding what everyone faces here but at the same time having a mother that made certain decisions, personally I was effected to make those decisions myself. That’s what life was like.”

He attended Baltimore Polytechnic institute, later going to New York University, then Harvard University. From being an engineer to Harvard business school, Young feels ready to tackle being the mayor of what some might call a broken city. The conversation ranged from his favorite film to the modern civil rights movement and most importantly, his vision for the future of Baltimore. Young is an approachable guy who loves his city. He carries a traditional Baltimore accent and often accompanies his brother at University of Baltimore’s law school. Young is trying to offer

a new perspective to a different and more traditional set of voters. Young didn’t exactly have interest in politics, however the Baltimore uprising in April of last year gave him an epiphany:

“I was never really interested in politics. For me, I’m an engineer— aerospace, things that fly. I’m a nerd. Studying engineering is what I enjoy. I had to go to business school for a lot of reasons, one was to define my purpose in life. But also to give myself a broader skillset to do some pretty amazing things, but stay in corporate

America and make a lot of money. I graduated from Harvard; I had a number of job offers that I turned down. But what happened in April really hit me.

“I didn’t expect to do it immediately…after business school, but April showed me the time is now, no time to wait. The right moment to do something is now, but it wasn’t for me to come home and run for mayor but for me to do something.

“Coming home and reconnecting with the community, I noticed everybody is at the table everybody wants to see the city become a better place. But the problem that we have is that we lack leadership and we lack a unified leader that we can all believe in. I see myself as somebody that can do that. For the African-American women and men who hate to see our children on the streets dying every day, someone they can look at and say this is who I want my son to be like. This is the example I want them to follow, so I’m willing to support this person. For the white family who wants to see Black Baltimore have a champion.

“That’s what I noticed, everybody agreed these can work, it just takes that one person. I can see myself being the person that can unify it in a nutshell and being a young enough person. People who are dying on the streets are 15, 20, 24, not fifty. I’m 28! They’ll listen to me. They’ll do that because I’ve walked their path. I’ve grown up with them in the same way that a lot of people would say those traditional politicians have been around for a long time, they have their base with the older voters because they grew up with them.”

Young sees his opportunity as mayor as a way to make Baltimore the place he feels it should be. He describes it as a place where everyone knows someone, and a big city with a small town feel. However, the city cannot be that without solving social and economic issue and without unity. Some of his goals include: unifying the city, proper education, and local economics through supporting small businesses. He would like to eliminate the “20th century problems”, such as crime, heroin addiction and the illegal drug trade. First, we asked what is meant by unifying the city:

“I’ll set the scene for you. First let me say, March 27, 2015 was the day Freddie Gray was laid to rest. A year later is April 2016. April 2016 is the election. The primary. National news is going to be back for the one year anniversary and what will they talk about when they talk about Baltimore?

“Are they talking about rehiring a mayor who betrayed our trust? Hiring others who have been in politics for a long time and have lied to us in different ways? One candidate previously ran and lied about his education, another one is apparently in corporate developer’s pockets, and other things. Another person who is riding name recognition from the very unrest that we feel so bad about we have all these people with all these unfavorable.

“Are we talking about them or about Baltimore just turned a page on the past and hired its next mayor- a young energetic, smart guy who can get the job done. That can be the future of the city and lead to 21st century Baltimore. A 21st century Baltimore needs a 21st century mayor and that’s what I see myself being able to be for our city when elected. It’s not about me. It’s about changing the paradigm, changing the conversation and taking command of the conversation.

Continuing the discussion of diversity with President Kurt Schmoke

Before the end of the last semester a petition was sent to the President of University of Baltimore challenging aspects of diversity on the UB campus. The petition focused heavily on racial diversity, encouraging opportunity for students and faculty of color.

With the start a new semester the issue of diversity continues to be on the forefront, and it seems the petition and ideas are still in the air. The UB Post was able to speak with President Kurt Schmoke about his perspective on diversity and the petition. President Schmoke wants the campus to be aware the diversity is a broad spectrum. “Diversity means more than black and white,” said Schmoke. “If we can all agree to that then we can have a better conversation about diversity. There are a lot of groups underrepresented in the academy, and we should be sensitive to that.” Below are the questions provided by the UB Post and the answers from President Schmoke.

How do you feel about conversations surrounding diversity before the PoC coalition’s petition?

KS: There were many conversations about diversity. From students, faculty, staff and alumni prior to the drafting of the petition.

Do you think this petition grew from the conversations already happening, or more so grew from the events happening in Baltimore and Mizzou?

KS: You’d have to ask the people that drafted the petition. But I think people who have been around a while recognize there was a Culture and Diversity Committee created at UB four years ago because the UB community recognized the need to focus in more clearly on the issue of diversity.

What does diversity mean to you or University of Baltimore?

KS: For me, diversity is broader than just the concept of race. It involves creating a welcoming environment on campus for people of different backgrounds, different gender orientation, different races, and ethnicities and points of view. So diversity is a broad concept but primarily the goal is to make this a welcoming environment for people who have differences—whatever those differences may be.

Do you feel the conversation in regards to diversity have differed since the petition has come from the students, or is it about the same?

KS: There has been some in- creased focus on issues, not only because of the petition, but what happened in Baltimore last April.

And then following other issues at other universities, like Missouri. But I thought the petition raised some important issues that needed further investigation, that’s why I responded to it the way that I did, in writing, saying that I thought points that they raised needed further investigation. I promised that I would take an initial step in meeting with the cultural and diversity committee, and I did that last Monday morning.

When you say further investigation, you mean points in the petition need further investigation?

KS: Yes. For example, one of the points they raised in the petition was that there was a disproportionate discipline of African-American students rather than white students for similar offenses. They didn’t provide details. They made the allegations but they didn’t provide any evidence to support it. I didn’t dismiss the allegation, but I said we need to find out whether it’s true or not and the only way to do that is through further investigation. That’s just an example, but there were some others that were in the petition. As I said it raised questions but there was a need for further work to determine the answer to those questions.

So should students put more work into investigating?

KS: No. I thought the best way of doing it [was] for the community together. That’s why I wanted to meet with the Culture and Diversity Committee because it has as its members: students, faculty, and staff. I thought that would be the appropriate group to begin this process of investigation. I’ve asked them to have more regular meetings and to raise their profile a bit so people who were interested in diversity issues at UB would know of them, and know about their work, and would find an easy way to raise their concerns.

I know the Culture and Diversity Committee’s goal is to increase diversity and make known diversity issues on campus. That is their mission right?

KS: It’s to make sure the issue of diversity is viewed as an important priority.

 

How did you feel when you received the petition from the student? Would it have been different coming from faculty?

KS: No, as I said I think the petition raised important questions. Had it come from faculty, I would have reacted the same way. I didn’t dismiss the petition. I just, in my response, said “you raised some important issues.” We need to do further work.

Did you feel the need to meet with the people of color coalition?

KS: I didn’t feel compelled. What I felt was compelled to respond to the petition. And I also wanted the petition to be public, so that I could get input from all aspects of the community because initially it just came to me and nobody heard about it, except a few other students. I wanted the petition to be public so that I could get input from those with knowledge about the issues that are raised. I want to hear from faculty members about their response. I wanted to hear from other students, and I must say the responses that I got from other students vary widely. They were not all supportive of the petition. So it was important for me to get input from those who might be affected by what the petition said.

When you made it public, and you were hearing responses from faculty and students, how did you respond to that?

KS: It confirmed my view that there needed to be more investigation

of what was alleged in the petition.

I have sat in on an SGA meeting in which the PoC Coalition mentioned racial diversity in faculty and staff. Many people on campus, pose the question, “what if there aren’t any qualified candidates?” “What if we can’t find people of color who qualify?” How do you feel about people raising the question, “What if there are not enough qualified candidates of color?” More so, your response to that statement.

KS: Well… first of all, I have to look, in the sense I have only been here a year and a couple of months, I have to find out whether in fact what they said was correct. I know, for example, in our Dean’s search for College of Public Affairs there were people of color in that pool of candidates. And that in the search for the provost there was not a person but there was gender diversity, so I had to go back and find out whether we had a history recently of no persons of color being in the pools of candidates.

So that requires further inquiry. I’ve encouraged the consultants that we use in the search committees to make sure they search broadly for qualified people. To the best of my knowledge nobody has been discouraged from pulling in people of color in the pool. So the bottom line is you can’t disagree with what they are suggesting. It’s just that, they may not have known that indeed there were people of color in some of these searches. They may not have been selected but they were in some of the searches. Again, it’s the type of general statement that needs further inquiry.

Do you think statements as mentioned previously are in the back of people’s minds and effect the hiring process? Not specifically at UB but in academia in general, that the pre-conceived notion that there may not be enough qualified people of color, do you think that effect the hiring process in academia?

KS: Some places yes and some places no. I mean I think academia knows that we need more PhDs of color in the academy generally. The numbers are pretty low. I’ll just give you a point- the president of University of Maryland, Eastern Shore which is a historically black college, [at our] last president’s meeting noted even at her school, the majority of her faculty are not African-American. They are white and people of color from overseas. So even at an HBCU (Historically Black College/University) there is a concern about getting African-American PhDs on campus.

So just to your point, I think there is a need to encourage more people of color to get PhDs and to pursue careers in the academy. I don’t think that it [has] been the mindset at UB that we can’t find any qualified people of color. In my review of things, I haven’t seen any evidence of that. So that is all I can say. The person who is occupying the College of Arts and Sciences, our interim Dean is a woman. In the academy in terms of higher education leadership women are still underrepresented. So, I feel proud of the fact that we have as our interim Dean a female PhD. No, the petition may not say that is diversity, but in my view, in the academy at least, that is diversity.

In the petition and your response, you mention cultural competency training. Is this recent?

KS: It’s interesting you should mention that because the folks in each of our departments said there is already a certain amount of cultural competency that goes on, but there has not been a single plan, like in our Title IX. There are individual issues going on, on cultural competency, but what the Culture and Diversity Committee committed to do is to review hiring procedures of our human resources department and various hiring procedures in our individual colleges and schools. They want to do a campus climate survey to get a sense from students, faculty, and staff of their concerns about diversity, and then following that develop a more…a broader cultural competency training program. They didn’t want to start doing that before they did the campus climate survey. The review of the hiring procedure is going to start, then the campus climate survey, then upgrade our cultural competency training.

One thing that I have heard from students is that they feel that they encountered microagressions in their classes and they don’t exactly know who they should talk to about that.

Do you know who they should talk to?

KS: They should go to the deans first. I would go to the teacher themselves. *Brian, for example gave us an interesting example where he felt that he was a victim of insensitivity by a professor and he actually went to that professor and said ‘Do you

realize what you are doing? How you are impacting me?’ The professor apologized, said he didn’t realize that and made a change that lead to an improvement in the class. That was one student that went directly to the professor. My view is that, the students, if they don’t feel comfortable, that they should go to the dean. If it is something that is so egregious—multiple students are having the same problem—then it’s through the Title IX coordinator, the provost, or they could email me and say ‘we got a serious problem here.’ But it [should] be at the individual school level first. I believe that is one of the things the Dean is prepared to do, is to be responsive when students feel they are being victimized.

The PoC Coalition sent another response in response to your response. Are you going to respond to that one? Have you received it yet?

KS: I am not sure if I received it yet. Was it after their town hall meeting they had? Oh! After upgrading the cultural competency training, I did commit to having a town hall meeting on diversity in the spring semester. That was the other thing… (after being provided a copy of the response mentioned) I did see [the response] and I just encouraged our Vice President of Student Affairs to continue to work with the drafters. I asked her to respond to this. I did, I remember seeing this. And she did respond. She met with them. I remember this issue of tenure/non-tenure, which lead me to meet with some faculty to members without disclosing confidential information that the issue about African-American faculty members being tenured is more complicated then set forth here.

African-American faculty being tenured is much more complicated? How so?

KS: Well that’s why I am telling you, it would involve me getting into the private business of individual faculty members and I can’t do that.

Do you think tenure effects diversity in academia?

KS: Some places yes. Some places no.

Do you think there are certain disparities that discourage people of color from certain opportunities when comes to working in academia?

KS: Again I won’t generalize but it depends. [Henry Louis ‘Skip’ Gates] was a class behind me, we were in college together. He didn’t get tenure at Yale. But he got tenured at Harvard. So what was the issue there? Well the Yale faculty viewed him as being involved more in popular culture than serious academic enterprise. Harvard on the other hand says of course this guy, he’s published some great stuff, so it’s hard to generalize about things like that. What I do know is that the decision on tenure is generally left to faculty committees. They make the primary recommendation. If there is bias on a faculty committee, yes, a person of color is likely to feel the brunt of that discrimination. If the committee is fair minded and opened to good scholarship then a person of color is not going to be discriminated against. There was a professor of classics at Yale, named Eric Segal, who wrote a book called “Love Story.” It became a movie. “Love Story,” because a great book, a popular selling book and then a movie about these two who fall in love and one of them dies, like Romeo and Juliet. This is one of the most popular books around. Yale denies him tenure because he didn’t pursue classical studies. Getting tenure is a unique process and it is not something the president does by him/herself. It has to come from recommendation from faculty. If you have bias at the faculty level you’re going to have problems.

Would the same answer you gave for the process of tenure be able to answer the question of including selected cultural studies programs (African-American studies, Asian studies, etc…) here at UB?

KS: If you don’t have the persons to teach it. Well the one thing about UB is that it doesn’t offer as broad a mix of programs as some other universities. At this point if we were to offer new programs, one we would have to have the money to fund it. Second, we would have to make sure we had enough students in it year after year to justify it as opposed to having a lecturer come in and do it one time. The third thing is we’d have to figure out whether there is a way of offering that course electronically with other schools in the system. For example: if Coppin or UMES offered that program could we use the computers, could [we] have synchronous teaching of that and have a professor at UMES give the course. I am willing to explore those courses if I see there is really a demonstrated interest sustained over time. I don’t want to go out and hire a person and find out that ten people are going to take the course. I am open to looking at that along with faculty. Because of the concept of shared governance, if we are going to create new courses, that has got to come out of discussion at the faculty of each school level. I can’t just impose a new course on them. Again, hopefully the petitioners understand they raised some important issues that need further discussion in the whole community and that’s what I’ve been trying to encourage rather than me giving some definitive answer when I know that I’d have to go back to the faculty anyway.

What is UB’s hope for the future when it comes to diversity?

KS: Right now we are viewed as the most diverse, in terms of our student population, we’re the most diverse university in the state university system. I’d like to see us produce from our student body more students who are going to pursue more careers in academia. And maybe come back here and teach.

 

University of Baltimore is making strides to provide a welcoming for various groups of people. Both students and faculty are making effort to increase diversity to avoid students feeling there is a lack of diversity, opportunity, and sensitivity in the future.

*indicates name change

The City Speaks Through D. Watkins

Students and faculty flooded to the dimly lit Wright Theater on the fifth floor of the student center for another MFA reading. This series has given promising authors who can relate to students of color and students who have experienced hardship. The room crowded with eager participants, awaiting the arrival of a University of Baltimore graduate. The graduate also known as poet and writer but better known as D. Watkins.

D. Watkins had honest beginnings in East Baltimore where he witnessed many tragedies and was shaped by the injustices of life. Aside from University of Baltimore, Watkins received a master’s degree in education from Johns Hopkins University. Currently he is a professor at Goucher University. Those who crowded into the Wright Theater were waiting to hear from about his book, The Beast Side, and listen as he lamented on life in the concrete jungle known as East Baltimore.

His presence emerged. He is charming young man who still holds his recognizable Baltimore accent. Watkins begins the evening with background about himself. One of his opening statements was, “I’ve been shot, I’ve been stabbed, I’ve been beaten down. I’ve beat people down. Statistically, I’m not supposed to be here. I’m blessed.” He followed up with an anecdote on his time at UB in Kendra Kopelke’s graduate course. “She had two rules,” he said, “no centering poems and no rhyming.” Watkins remembers this was the first time he had ever been laughed at by a group of his peers because of a love poem he had written.

Moving along with the evening, he begins to read from his book. The Beast Side: Living and Dying while Black in America is a collection of essays and stories from Watkins’ real life. The topics range from Food, “Black on Black crime,” police brutality to street harassment. The books, he said, “things I wanted to learn from [ages] 5-25 that no one ever told me. Watkins creates stories that are bigger than himself, traveling throughout the nation, creating a voice for African-Americans in Baltimore and in America. This book, as he describes, is not only for people from “rough” neighborhoods who are misrepresented or underrepresented but also for a person from a rich suburb with health food markets around the corner who doesn’t understand life in East or West Baltimore.

This book represents the people who live in urban communities who often misjudged and ignored by media until something involving “Black on Black” crime or robbery happens. Watkins read through the introduction of his book, giving the audience this to think about, “African-Americans are about as safe as a chunk of steak in a den full of starving lions.” Furthermore, Watkins encouraged the audience to do more than protest, although he is certainly not against protesting. He put things into perspective by telling a story of a phone call he received. A friend called him, telling him to wear all black. They would meet on North Avenue to lay down in traffic. Watkins said no, telling his friend to imagine the person who works at Walmart who tells their boss, “I can’t make it to work because of a traffic jam or the street is blocked off.” Watkins delivered one line: Dan- generic manager name- just cancelled their Christmas. Furthermore, he added that any person who didn’t care for the cause could easily run their car over one of the protestors in the street and get away with it. He decided against it.

Watkins presence is what college campuses need at this time because his work is raw and gritty. He is not afraid to be real and say what needs to be said about race relations in America. Aside from telling the stories of the ignored, he wrote this book because as a teacher, his goal is to promote literacy and make a big difference in the lives of children. Children from East Baltimore just like him. Often he asks his students what they are currently reading, outside of school and they say nothing. He wants to change this. Watkins wants people to ask themselves, “what can we do to make a difference?” “How help the community?” After he read passages from his book, there were questions from the audience members. He was asked about the debate between black lives matter and all lives matter to which he responded: “Black lives matter is a key movement in the modern civil rights movement. All lives matter people wanted attention and to be seen. Black lives matter is pushing the Black experience forward in American. I honor and support them. When the police killed a white kid the all live matter people didn’t show up.” The evening was filled with enlightenment and words of wisdom. Although Watkins said the America he wants to see won’t exist in his life time, he will continue to push for a better future.

 

 

 

Diversity, culture, and standing with Mizzou

The year 2015 and many before have demonstrated the rising racial tensions in America. Recently, African American students at Mizzou University expressed their concerns and demands regarding racial discrimination. The students decided enough was enough, causing an abrupt and violently negative reaction from some non African-Americans around them. The terrorist group known as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) has plagued the students. Students have taken steps of activism to voice their opinions and tell the world about the racial injustices happening on their campus. Because of this other colleges have been responding to Mizzou University and standing in solidarity.

On Thursday, November 12, students at UB decided to wear all black in support of the Mizzou students. Various students and student organizations (WoCsa, BSU, BLSA, ISA, SEB, SGA, ASU) also decided to come together in solidarity to discuss Mizzou University and to discuss emotions, reactionary plans, and the environment here at University of Baltimore.  The meeting took place on the first floor of the business center with an assortment of comments and attitudes. David Reynard, Ashley Whidby, Eunice Onwuchekwa, and Duane Bond mediated while intently listening to what attendees had to say.

Photo Credit: Nicholas Jones
                                          Photo Credit: Nicholas Jones

All were welcome to attend because these are important issues that affect all students in some regard. These organizations felt it necessary for people of color and other minority groups to be able to discuss and identify micro aggressions and acts of discrimination. It is also important for students to know they are not alone and have other people that can talk to them and help them.

Many students on UB’S campus have faced micro aggressions and feel something must be said or done about the small acts of injustice. Students have also noticed the lack of diversity in faculty and would like to see changes implemented around campus. The minority groups on campus would like to see more diversity in student media and faculty because the student body has become extraordinarily diverse.

The events at Mizzou University added to the collection of racially charged incidents plaguing the nation and the globe today. These events happened on a college campus which lets students know, they are not alone but they have power to speak up and let what is happening be known. Situations like these teach lessons of diversity and culture that need to be addressed in academia and other environments throughout the world.

Celebrating your greens and preserving community health: 2015 Brassica Fest

Many people believe “going green” and providing fresh “organic” produce is a trend that has been sweeping the nation, but providing adequate produce and sustainability for many people is not a trend. The way many Americans currently live is endangering their livelihoods. Many popular foods are filled with artificial flavorings, coloring, and unhealthy ingredients. There is an organization working to change the way people eat and live right here in Baltimore. The Park Heights Community Health Alliance (PHCHA) has developed a plan to promote urban agriculture. Two methods of their plan are the: third annual Brassica Fest and the Park Heights farmers market. The health initiative addresses the major causes of death within the park heights community: bad health. Saché Jones, Brassica Fest coordinator and Food Justice Consultant/Producer, has had a great interest in urban agriculture.

When asked what is urban agriculture, Jones said, “Growing food in urban centers. It’s not only food, I don’t know if I can really say that. I always associate ‘ag’ with food. But then there are also horticulturalists that are growing flowers in a large scale way, this is not your backyard garden. So are they considered agriculturalist too? That’s a question we all kind of debate with, but for me it’s creating a space with the intention of feeding people. So whatever that is — whether that be fruits and vegetables, animals, bees, chickens, or goats — all that can be considered urban as long as its within city limits.” Saché has been working with the organization for two years, after majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies. She began working with the organization after her mother and the owner were in a master gardener’s class together. She was in her senior year of college and had an interest in urban agriculture, but she wondered where the jobs and the interest in urban agriculture were. Things all seemed to fall into place, when she met with the PHCHA owner.

For Jones, urban agriculture is important because it promotes self-sufficiency and also relates to economic power. “To have access to where their food comes from, to see it, to feel it, to breathe it. And now that I have been working in this field for a couple years, I feel that it is important because it helps with behavioral changes that we are really going to need to some transformative change on the large ‘ag’ scale. A lot of folks debate on can urban ‘ag’ feed people. Can it feed cities? Will it ever be strong enough to produce enough for the people that live in that area?”

It may be hard to find an answer to that question at the present moment, but urban agriculture can get people to rethink their lifestyles and rethink what they buy. Citizens may have to get used to paying more for quality food that will help them later in life. Urban agriculture encourages the community to work hard to create a farm which can be pesticide free and “grown with love,” as Jones says. The more time that is put into urban agriculture, the more beneficial it will be to those in the community, and urban agriculture encourages those in the community to ask questions about where their food comes from and what has been done to it. The PHCHA wants to increase community engagement and to preserve the people and livelihoods of citizens by creating this center and creating local urban farms. Jones herself is a farmer and helps in producing crops for the community.

To promote health and community engagement, the PHCHA created the Brassica Fest. Brassica is a plant family that houses greens: collards, kales, turnips, broccoli and Brussel sprouts. “It’s all the foods you grew up eating and you love them already,” Jones says, “We use something that is familiar in a slightly unfamiliar way to transition people’s thinking that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You just have to slightly alter a few [things] that you are doing here and there and you can enhance your quality of life as well as the sustainability of the community and the environment at large — depending on what pulls at your heartstrings.” Jones wants citizens and the environment to thrive because we each play a role somehow.

The Brassica Fest is an educational event that highlights the purposes of the PHCHA and demonstrates what they do. Vendors will be selling handmade goods at the event, including candles handmade by a UB student. This year the fest will be broken into three segments: a community organizing segment, eat to live, and happy home setting (which describes how to bring a farm to your house and how to start the process). “We structure conference style but we call it a festival because it is fun,” Jones says. The fest even includes a youth segment that will teach children about farming, this includes activities such as seeding and planting. The idea is to teach urban citizens where we fit in, and how to transform, the food system.

The Brassica Fest promotes the idea of urban agriculture by starting at a very basic level by encouraging people to question where they fit into the system while letting the community know about their farmers market (June- November) and community supported agriculture (CSA). The fest also educates those within the community on various agricultural programs the PHCHA offers and how the community can get involved. Although we may not be part of the Park Heights community, we can still be involved in the Fest and the CSA. The Brassica Fest will happen on November 21, 2015 at 2810 Shirley Ave, Baltimore MD from 9a.m-5p.m. Visit the Brassica Fest Website for more information.