University of Maryland Extension

Speaker Series

Speaker Series - Continuing Education for BCMGs and the Public

Join on select Tuesday evenings to hear from very talented UME Specialists, Professors and Professionals as well as UME Baltimore City Master Gardeners.  This Baltimore City Master Gardener (BCMG) Speaker Series is always following the BCMG general meeting (open to all BCMGs).

Cylburn Arboretum Greenhouse Classroom

Refreshments at 6:15pm; BCMG meeting at 6:30 pm; Speaker starts at 7:00pm

Fall 2019 UME BCMG Speaker Series


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Findings from the Safe Urban Harvests Study: A survey of soil, water, and produce from Baltimore farms and gardens

 We frequently hear questions about the safety of Baltimore’s soils and urban-grown produce. To answer questions raised by Baltimore’s urban agriculture community, the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future conducted the Safe Urban Harvests (SUH) study to investigate potential contamination risks associated with urban agriculture in Baltimore City. The SUH study team surveyed Baltimore's farm managers and community garden leaders and collected soil, water, and produce samples and analyzed them for the presence of heavy metals. By investigating these potential risks, the hope is to address these concerns and promote safer growing practices.

Representatives from the Safe Urban Harvests Study team will give a report of their findings at the September BCMG Speaker Series. Plan to join us for this important report!

Reflection by Master Gardener

Robert Cook, a Baltimore City Master Gardener since 2014, coordinated the outreach to community gardens in Baltimore City. Working with community garden leaders is an important part of the work of the UMD Extension Baltimore City Master Gardeners. It requires not only support but also education and guidance with community garden leaders on how to keep their soil and gardens clean, advising them on soil tests, and more. Robert will share his experience in working with community garden leaders. Robert is now coordinating the demonstration garden at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. (10 minutes)

Speakers from Johns Hopkins

Sara Lupolt, MPH, is a fourth-year PhD student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and CLF- Lerner Fellow at the Center for a Livable Future. Her dissertation research focuses on the public health impacts of growing food in cities, and she is active in the Center for a Livable Future’s ongoing Safe Urban Harvests Study, which seeks to characterize the risks of exposure to metal contaminants among urban agriculture participants in Baltimore City. Sara’s adviser is Keeve Nachman, PhD.

Keeve Nachman, PhD, MHS, is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Health & Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the director of the Food Production and Public Health Program at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. His research is focused on food production systems and their impacts on human health and the environment.

Raychel Santo is a Senior Research Program Coordinator at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, where she works on a variety of research projects including the Safe Urban Harvests Study. She is also an active Baltimore City Master Gardener.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Berries for Birds with Audubon

 Patterson Park Audubon Center is growing Baltimore for birds and communities! Explore why Maryland native shrubs are best for migratory birds and great examples that you can recommend in your role as Master Gardeners. The presentation includes an overview of gardening for birds with highlights on fruiting shrubs. Together, we can improve the landscape for our avian friends!

Reflection by Master Gardener

Erin Reed earned her Bachelors in Wildlife Conservation and Masters in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Delaware researching the connection between native plants and insects with Dr. Doug Tallamy. She has since served as an interpretive naturalist and environmental educator in Delaware, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. As the Education Manager at Patterson Park Audubon Center in Baltimore, Erin is working to make Baltimore better for birds and people, starting with her own garden.

Content: “I’m of the strict mindset that if my garden isn’t feeding someone or something, then it’s not doing enough. I like to think of my yard as an ecosystem that takes care of itself – I’ve planted host plants, flowers to attract both pollinators and natural enemies, and seed-producing groundcovers to support birds and thwart weeds. My garden is small but powerful, when combined with the larger landscape of Baltimore and beyond.”


Suzie Creamer, Auduban Society at Paterson Park. Susie Creamer is center director of Patterson Park Audubon Center in Baltimore City, where she and her staff create bird habitat in the urban context and instruct nature-based education programs for all ages in a multicultural community. Programs and projects of the Center take place in English and in Spanish. Before Audubon, Susie managed education programs at Irvine Nature Center, taught science at St. Paul’s, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay. Susie has a BS in biology from Washington and Lee University and an MS in environmental science from Johns Hopkins University. She speaks regularly to garden clubs, civic groups, and at conferences, including the keynote presentation at teachers’ conference held by the Ministry of Education in Panama City, Panama! In 2018, Susie was named by Baltimore magazine as one of 30 Visionaries of Baltimore, change-makers shaping the future of our city.


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

History of African American Agriculture in Baltimore and Black Church Food Security Network

  The Black Church has no rival when it comes to institutions with a track record of sustainability in Black America. Since as far back as 1794, with the founding of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and the "hush harbors" which preceded it where enslaved Africans would gather in secret to worship, Black congregations have endured and survived under the most harsh circumstances.

In Baltimore the African American community is disproportionately hampered by lack of access to healthy food. The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health reported in 2015 that 34% of African Americans in Baltimore live in food priority areas. Similar statistics can be found in other majority-Black cities across the country. In communities that have been crippled by poor public policy, economic inequities, struggling schools, and corporate divestment, not having access to quality food only compounds already strained environments. Within many of these neighborhoods, the last meaningful institution standing is the Black Church.

The Black Church Food Security Network partners Black farmers and urban growers with historically African American congregations to create pipelines for fresh produce from "soil to sanctuary." Pastor Brown has led this effort to organize congregations to establish or expand gardens on church-owned land. In an effort to promote food equity, Dr. Brown helps Black Churches grow food on their land and host mini-farmers markets inside their buildings. During this presentation Pastor Brown will share with the group the history of agriculture among black farmers in Baltimore.


Rev. Dr. Heber M. Brown, III is a community organizer, social entrepreneur and Senior Pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. in 2015 he launched the Black Church Food Security Network which combats food insecurity by helping historic African American congregations establish or expand gardens on church-owned land. The Network also links Black Churches and Black Farmers in the Mid-Atlantic region to create a communitycontrolled, alternative food system based on self-sufficiency and Black food and land sovereignty.

Dr. Brown's dedication to service has been widely recognized. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Ella Baker Freedom Fighter Award and The Afro American Newspaper’s “25 Under 40 Emerging Black History Leaders” award. In 2011, Urbanite Magazine identified him as one of the “Change Makers of Baltimore City." In 2013; he received a $10,000 Fellowship Award from The Beatitudes Society who identified him as one of eight leading young progressive Faith leaders in the country. In 2016, Grist.Org named him among innovators, organizers, and visionaries as one of "The 50 People You'll Be Talking About This Year." In 2018, Baltimore Magazine named him a Visionary of the City and the Baltimore City Office of Civil Rights presented him with the Food Justice Award during its annual recognition of inspiring leaders.

He has presented, lectured or served as an Adjunct Professor at Wake Forest University, Methodist Theological School of Ohio, Virginia Union University, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, St. Mary's Seminary and University, Memphis Theological Seminary and many other institutions of higher learning.

He earned his B.S. degree in Psychology from Morgan State University, a Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Union University and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary. (Washington, D.C.)

BCMGs receive education hours by attending the speaker series.

For information contact Kathy Brown, Vice President, Baltimore City Master Gardeners


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