Originally published: March 2021
For this month’s S.W.A.G. spotlight we want to highlight Rodette Jones, Farm Manager of the Filbert Street Garden in South Baltimore. It’s not often that one goes from Police Dispatcher, to running a garden in the community but that is exactly what happened. Ms. Rodette’s involvement with the garden began as a community member but evolved into a career in agriculture.
Mr. Rodette described the Filbert Street Garden as the “oasis” of South Baltimore. “It’s a great space for people to congregate and feel safe”, she said. With live animals, beehives, produce, and community members from eight to eighty running around it is easy to understand her sentiments.
The garden has taken on a role as teaching space for youth in the community, they have the ability to learn about farming and to interact with the animals on the premises for no cost. Ms. Rodette said “A lot of the kids that are here, especially in our community don’t have the money to go across town to the zoo.” She added that it’s important for kids to see things in their own community.
These days the Filbert Street Garden has a lot to celebrate. Recently they welcomed two new goats (Brie & Pepperjack) to the family and partnered with Project Waves to launch FilbertNet, a community WiFi network which will allow residents and visitors to within a quarter mile radius to connect to free internet service. This development is particularly promising because the Curtis Bay area has no public library and few opportunities for residents to connect to free WiFi.
The Filbert Street Garden is seeking additional funding to install a wash station, a restroom and make improvements to their bee area. Visit their website here and be sure to order some of their famous honey!