Originally Published: January 2021

For this month’s S.W.A.G. spotlight we want to shed light on the work of Atiya Wells and Jordan Bethea of BLISS Meadows. Wells the Founder and Bethea the Farm Manager were kind enough sit down with us to speak on what’s going on over at BLISS.

BLISS Meadows is an initiative of Baltimore non-profit Backyard Basecamp, a 10 acre land reformation project in Northeast Baltimore. BLISS seeks to connect Black, Indigenous, and people of color to nature through culturally relevant programming and community green space. Bethea sees BLISS as a “way to have children divest from the city and really reconnect with land stewardship, land management, and land access”.  He hopes to do this specifically through Animal Husbandry and Grow Project initiatives.

While COVID could have severely derailed their efforts, the team at BLISS was able to use the time to their advantage by fine tuning their strategy. Bethea said that the shutdown gave them time to think about their program and organization as a whole and how they can benefit their community.

Going forward, Wells and Bethea expressed excitement to have a park and campground that are fully accessible to the community that they serve. Additionally, once renovation of their base of operations is complete they will host a teaching kitchen for community members to learn more about nutrition and prepare culturally relevant foods.

Be sure to keep up with the work that Atiya, Jordan, and the rest of the team at Backyard Basecamp by following them on socials at @Backyard_Basecamp.