Greening the Community with LiveGreen
Last month, Habitat Chesapeake staff, volunteers, AmeriCorps and HabiCorps members came together in the Woodbourne-McCabe neighborhood to clean up a lot located next to a Habitat home. The lot also sits alongside the Glenwood Life Recovery Garden, a plot where patients from the Glenwood Life program can grow flowers and vegetables for therapeutic benefits.
Volunteers and employees from LiveGreen Landscaping, LLC worked together to clear debris, trash, and weeds from overgrown areas around the lot, prepping it to become beautiful green space in a neighborhood where Habitat Chesapeake has built 18 homes.
Urban green space is a critical component to public health efforts and quality of life. Urban green spaces provide areas for recreational and social activities, as well as exercise and stress-relief. Recent studies have linked the greening of vacant urban land to a reduction in crime and vandalism, as well as improving overall health outcomes.
Access to urban farming, like at the Glenwood Life Recovery Garden, also helps address food deserts in the Baltimore region, where families may experience food insecurity or lack access to healthier options. The Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance rated Baltimore City’s healthy food availability at only 9.4 out of 28.5.
Maintaining these green spaces is also critical to sustainability efforts and encouraging ecological responsibility in areas where homes are being built or rehabilitated. Habitat Chesapeake supports greening projects in McCabe as well as other neighborhoods like Pen Lucy.
“Overall they’re trying to steward the land,” says Leila Kohler-Frueh, Habitat Chesapeake Director of Community Engagement, of the Glenwood Life Recovery Garden program. “This is part of the solution for pollinators and maintaining the watershed. Whatever we do to eliminate the invasive species is important for the bigger ecological view.”
These greening projects would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors like LiveGreen Landscaping, LLC, which joined Habitat members on McCabe. LiveGreen has also partnered with HabiCorps, the Habitat Chesapeake workforce development program, to incorporate landscaping and property maintenance skills into the curriculum. HabiCorps trainees now learn about landscaping tools and machinery in addition to construction and trades skills during their time in the paid training program.
“There are parts that are fun, but overall it’s hard work,” says Mina, an AmeriCorps member, who worked with HabiCorps members to remove vines and tree limbs from the site. “When we were pulling down that tree, it was a lot of fun. They [HabiCorps] are getting a lot done.”
About Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake
Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake (www.habitatchesapeake.org) brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Since 1982, Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake has built more than 780 homes in 19 communities, providing a brighter future for 2,700 children and family members. Homeownership is proven to transform lives – improving health, increasing children’s chances of academic success and offering an opportunity to build wealth across generations. Likewise, homeownership enhances neighborhoods by bringing tangible investment, engaged, long-term residents, rising property values and a sense of community.
Habitat Chesapeake began work in Woodbourne-McCabe, a neighborhood off the York Road corridor, in 2012. Check out our neighborhood factsheet to learn more about this Baltimore community!