A Vacant Lot. A Simple Vision.
Exeter Gardens lies at the heart of what was once the notorious Flaghouse Courts housing projects. Long a symbol of crime and decay, the projects were finally torn down in 2001. In their place came Albemarle Square — a mixed-income development meant to ensure that low-income residents were not swept away into another isolated pocket of poverty.
But bulldozers and best-laid plans can only go so far. As high-end restaurants and grocery stores sprung up around them, many were left trapped in a food desert – a community with little or no access to affordable, healthy food. And though the blight of project towers is gone, dozens of vacant lots were left fallow.
Among them was an abandoned, ramshackle patch of concrete on South Exeter Street. Baltimore has over 14,000 vacant lots and buildings. We decided that this wouldn’t be one of them.
Planting the Seeds of Change…
Together, a committed group of community activists and greening advocates took the lead in creating Exeter Gardens — a beautiful urban farm in our own backyard where families and friends can come together to grow their own healthy food.
We worked with the city to adopt the lot, cleared the site of trash and debris, and partnered with award-winning landscape architects Mahan Rykiel and leading property management firm, WPM Real Estate Group to transform our vision into a reality.
Where some saw a vacant lot, we saw an opportunity … a chance to turn a scrap of barren concrete into an oasis. We believe this one small lot can become a force for change that will inspire the community for generations to come, a place where all our neighbors can learn, grow, and thrive.