A beloved community garden in Locust Point is giving away its bulbs and bushes this week after volunteers say the plot’s owner, Under Amour, gave them a deadline to move out.
Under Armour representatives informed community members earlier this month that the gardening program would need to vacate the plot of land tucked between Haubert and Hull streets by Dec. 15, said garden manager Dave Arndt. The company announced earlier in the spring that it intends to put the land up for sale.
“Losing that [green space] is tough,” Arndt said.
Although the garden originally took root thanks to an Under Armour employee, it opened to Locust Point residents in 2018 and currently counts more than 100 volunteers. Advocates for the space rallied to save the garden earlier this year and organized an online petition drive in March that garnered about 1,300 signatures.
Arndt said the garden’s leadership asked the company repeatedly for an asking price but never received one. Property market research suggested the cost would likely have been out of reach for the community-run program anyway, he said.
“For a small piece of land, you get frustrated seeing a gigantic corporation say they can’t spend a little to donate this piece of property,” Arndt said. “We all want to see Under Armour thrive in Baltimore. It’s a big employer. But I also want them to not greenwash their messaging.”
The city’s Recreation and Parks Department under the direction of Director Reginald Moore cleared a section of Latrobe Park to become a new home for the community gardening program.
Under Armour representatives said in a statement Wednesday that the relocation date was set once a new garden location had been identified.
“Under Armour has been proud to host the community garden for the last several years and looks forward to assisting the community as it transitions to its new community garden location,” the company said.
With about a month’s notice to clear the lot, volunteers are attempting to salvage the plants that once thrived in the tidy rows of raised garden beds. Under Armour officials have agreed to help move the raised garden beds, though the soil, gravel and pavers will need to be left behind, Arndt said. Other tools like hoses and shovels will temporarily go into storage.
The new garden plot in Latrobe Park is not yet ready for planting, but volunteers are hoping to move swiftly so the soil can be seeded this coming spring, he said. The program leadership still needs to sign an agreement with the city to establish boundaries within Latrobe Park before it can install the water source, fencing and raised beds.
In the meantime, volunteers are distributing the remaining flora to other community gardening programs around town. Some trees, rosemary and strawberries have been sent to a West Baltimore plot. Perennials are being planted at Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School. And the rose bushes and purple coneflowers are headed to other sections of Latrobe Park before the ground freezes for the winter.
“I’m on an emotional rollercoaster,” Arndt said. “It’s going to be a lot of work, but hopefully we can retain the community stuff around it [the garden]. It’s all about having neighbors know each other — and the more we know each other, the better we get along.”
Correction: This story has been updated to clarify that Baltimore’s Parks and Recreation Department cleared a section of Latrobe Park for the community garden.