Better Waverly resident Miriam Avins is an expert at using green for good. In 2004, she and several neighbors built the Homestead Harvest Community Garden on a vacant lot that was attracting drug use. When the land went up for sale two years later, Miriam co-founded Baltimore Green Space in an effort to preserve the space. Soon after, she was awarded an Open Society Institute Community Fellowship. Today, both the Homestead Harvest Community Garden and Baltimore Green Space are still in full bloom.
Tell us about your background in greening.
I’ve been a community gardener since 2004, when my neighbors and I started Homestead Harvest Community Garden, in Better Waverly. I’ve really enjoyed working with lots of different people to create a welcoming garden, and I’ve learned a lot!
I became concerned about land security for community open spaces after we had a scare at Homestead Harvest — and that led to Baltimore Green Space, which is a land trust for community gardens and other open spaces managed by neighborhoods.
Why did you choose to participate as a workshop leader in this year’s Neighborhood Institute?
I was delighted to be asked! I’ve come before, and the audience is very engaged and wants to learn how to do good work in their neighborhoods.
What are you hoping that your workshop participants will take away with them?
A few things: First, I want people to understand that while it is a lot of work to start a green space, it doesn’t actually have to be all that complicated. Second, I want people to learn about how Baltimore Green Space can help neighborhoods preserve their urban oases.