ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) -- A little farm in Ellicott City has an ambitious goal: to grow fresh, organic fruits and vegetables for the people of west Baltimore and do it in a way that will restore tired farmland.
It's run by the Franciscan Friars, who call it the "Little Portion Farm."
For years, only corn grew on the three-acre site, a single-plant crop that depleted the soil.
"I came out and scratched into the dirt, and when I did that, it was actually like concrete," Friar Mike said.
Now, Friar Mike and farmer Matt Jones are celebrating their first summer harvest.
It's taken three years of organic farming, relying on nature's balance instead of pesticides to keep the crops growing.
While there are green caterpillars, a major pest for tomatoes, there are also white eggs laid by a parasitic wasp that will kill the caterpillars.
"We're planting things that specifically attract these beneficial insects," Jones said.
One of the missions of Little Portion Farm is land restoration. The small plot is located on the Franciscan Friars' large Howard County enclave.
Another mission is providing farm-fresh food for those in need. Everything grown in the garden comes to their Franciscan Center in downtown Baltimore where they provided more than 115,000 free meals last year.
While what the farm is producing is a small dent in what the center has to have to feed people every day, it does provide a steady source of fruits and vegetables.
The best way to summarize the effort is the farm's motto.
"Those who lovingly work their small expanse fields reap enough not only for ourselves but for others," Friar Mike said.
To learn more or volunteer, visit the farm's website.
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