Real Food Farm is Civic Works’ innovative urban agricultural enterprise engaged in growing fresh produce on eight acres in and around Clifton Park in northeast Baltimore.
Real Food Farm works toward a just and sustainable food system by improving neighborhood access to healthy food, providing experience-based education, and developing an economically viable, environmentally responsible local agriculture sector. We aim to fulfill four interconnected goals:
1. Improve neighborhood access to healthy food
Real Food Farm brings fresh, pesticide-free produce to our neighbors who have limited access to healthy, fresh produce by hosting convenient markets and making home deliveries. Our prices reflect the right for everyone to have access to healthy food while still showing the value of local, sustainable produce. Our prices consider farmers markets and grocery stores, with discounts for Clifton Park community residents, folks on government food assistance, and participants in the various nutrition programs we host in partnership with local organizations.
2. Develop Baltimore’s vibrant agriculture sector
Building off Baltimore’s growing local food movement, Real Food Farm promotes urban agriculture as an economic engine in Baltimore. We train and employ youth and adults in agricultural and horticultural jobs while also demonstrating a replicable and sustainable model that shows the potential for urban agriculture to boost Baltimore’s local economy.
3. Provide hands-on education opportunities for Baltimore’s youth
Real Food Farm offers Baltimore area teachers and students lots of ways to interact with the farm. We host field trips and service learning groups, run two after-school farm clubs for elementary and middle-school students, co-host a summer youth employment program called Mission Thrive in partnership with The Institute for Integrative Health, collaborate with individual teachers around an extended environmental education experience called Farm Lab, and run a high school youth crew for high school students.
4. Protect the environment and improve the watershed
Real Food Farm demonstrates innovative alternatives to conventional farming. Unlike most produce sold in America’s grocery stores which travels 1500 miles on average from farm to consumer, we sell our produce at markets right down the road from where it is grown. We also utilize environmentally-friendly production methods such as composting, crop rotation, non-chemical pesticides/herbicides, and we incorporate stormwater management features throughout our farm to minimize our run-off into the Chesapeake Bay.
Civic Works’ Real Food Farm seeks to provide a transparent and responsible soil management plan, to ensure high quality produce, safe working conditions and experiences for students and visitors, and a model for urban food production. We seek to have all staff and corpsmembers, volunteers, visitors and consumers aware or any risks associated with working or consuming urban-grown food, and specifically food grown on Real Food Farm. Urban soils contain a high level of potential contamination, including but not limited to: glass, drug paraphernalia, and toxins such as arsenic, lead and cadmium. In conjunction with our Nutrient Management and Food Safety Plan, we carefully monitor lead and other contaminants in the soil and plant tissue. We select appropriate best management practices that are appropriate for different areas of the farm. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.