Hello! My name is Vanessa Lubiner (on the left in the photo above) and I am the new Program Coordinator at the Baltimore Orchard Project. After getting a lay of the land and familiar with its characteristics, I am starting to feel at home. In my first few hours at BOP, Eric Sargent (our Program Manager and long time BOPper) and I sat down to imagine what BOP could look like in 25 years. From school orchards, to backyard trees, to neighborhood commons–we envisioned a stewarded urban landscape that both receives and gives back to neighbors. Our brainstorm also conjured images of harvest festivals, food preservation traditions, and enough for everyone. Though we cannot predict the future, we can do our best to shape it. We can give this future shape by planting trees for ourselves, our neighbors, and the generations after us. We can give this future shape through education, shared resources, and empowerment. We can give this future shape by nurturing a culture of accountability and sustainability.
In the struggle for food justice, environmental justice, and social equity in all of its facets, BOP intends to be a resource to Baltimore City communities. I believe that these issues are key entry points for community empowerment. I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to help facilitate this. Through my experiences working in art museums, farms, community organizations, and youth education, I am excited to put what I have learned into practice at BOP. I recently joined most of the BOP team in a visit to Creative City Public Charter School, where our AmeriCorps members host after school environmental arts programming. We mulched around their fruit trees and introduced students to each fruit tree. As we raked the mulch into a donut shape around the trees, my mind wandered to the thought of apple cider donuts in the fall. Mmmmm. The energy we created together was like the buds of the peach tree about to burst open. This experience has me looking forward to future youth education programming.
Here at BOP, it is only natural to use trees as a metaphor for our own programming, growth, and relationships. This speaks to me as I feel the spring upon us, as I get to know our dedicated and talented AmeriCorps team, and as BOP launches into the busy season. I look forward to working and sharing and growing with you!