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'Great Kids Farm' Educates City Youth

Great Kids Farm is in its third year operating at the George Bragg Nature Center.

Tucked away on 33 acres off of Route 40, at the border of Howard and Baltimore Cunty, there is a farm at the intersection of the past and present, with a lot to teach about the future.

The land, which was purchased by Baltimore Public Schools in the 1950s, has been a special education school and a nature center, among other things over the years. Before it was owned by Baltimore city it was the Maryland Home for Friendless Colored Children, which was founded in 1899 in the city. It moved to Catonsville in 1912.

Three years ago, then city food service director Tonry Geraci decided to start farming on the land again, according to the farm's website

Today, a little more than two acres of the land are used to grow produce ranging from herbs and garlic to raspberries, cucumbers and peppers. In the winter months, carrots and micro greens are grown in a high tunnel, an enclosed insulated building.

During the school year, as many as 3,000 students come to the farm to volunteer on the land or take tours. On Thursday, a group of JROTC students mulched and weeded for student service learning hours and a pre-school group took a tour.

Beth Mathie, farm educator, said the farm also offers more individualized internship programs.

The produce from the farm is sold at the Wavery Farmers Market in Baltimore and to area restaurants, including in Catonsville.

"This is all for education," Mathie said. "It's great to watch them make connections about what they are learning outside of the classroom."

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