Farmers Market Season Starts with BUGS

 

With the opening of the Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar two weeks ago, you can safely say that the city’s farmers market season has officially started. While I love the tried and true markets, I wanted to give a shout out to a smaller, less-known one that’s big on heart, as well as food.

This Saturday, May 6, 2017, be sure to check out the  BUGS Farmers’ Market on Living Classrooms’ campus. This one day market is run by the BUGS students who worked all school year to grow the food, make the crafts and wares, and plan the entertainment. It’s kid planned, kid grown, and kid powered! Not only can you fill your bags with delicious locally grown produce, but you can feel great knowing that all the proceeds go right back into the BUGS program. Trust me, this is one program you want to support.

Finishing up its 22nd year, the BUGS program is one of Living Classrooms Foundation’s outreach programs that works to give under-served Baltimore City elementary students academic, social and dietary help. Currently, the program works with 60 students from Commodore John Rodgers Elementary School and offers a unique support system that includes help with homework, a healthy dinner, and the opportunity to learn skills not often found in the traditional education setting. With five areas of study: gardening, cooking, art, dance and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), students in grades 2 through 5 are able to learn a variety of things, like healthy eating, chicken raising, dance routine creation and ice cream making. Working after school all year, students create or grow the wares and food that will be on sale at this year’s market.

BUGS Farmers Artists 2016

The BUGS Farmers’ Market itself is in its 21st year and is a staple of the community that surrounds Living Classrooms’ campus. It’s the must-attend event of the spring with seasoned patrons arriving early to snag a sought after tomato plant, bowl of freshly made ice cream or, the crowd favorite, money soap. (Seriously, this soap has $1, $5 or $10 hidden inside!) Along with other traditional favorites like scented soaps, herbs, and perennial flowers, this year’s market will also sell kid-made pillows, recycled handbags, slime and the very on-trend succulents.

Want to get a little more hands on? BUGS wouldn’t say no to some adult volunteers —  simply contact Erin Myers at emyers@livingclassroomfoundation.org.

After you peruse the stands, fill your bags (and empty your wallets) swing by the face painting, say hello to the chickens and watch the dance performance. It’s a morning at the market like no other.

The BUGS market is open on May 6, 2017, from 10 am until 2 pm at 802 S. Caroline Street and will be well worth the visit. Then, put it on your calendar for next year. Program Director, Algernon Campbell, gave me the scoop about 2018:

“Next year: Ponies.”

What could ‘B’ more fantastic?

BUGS Farmers Table

 

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Non-Profits to Love this February

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It started almost before the New Year, the hearts and cupids came out to remind us that the month of love is right around the corner. This, of course, means different things to different people – there’s family love, friend love, significants and spouses. You have epic date nights being planned, baby-sitters are being booked and Galentine’s Days and Bromances are being celebrated in full force. We’re very good at making sure that everyone gets a little love this time of year.

Or so I thought.

But then I realized that there is another group that could possibly use a little bit of time and affection right now. So this Valentine’s Day season (which I’ve decided is the entire month of February), I challenge you to show some love to your favorite local non-profit or charity.

This is the best time to remember them. Why? The holidays are over and maybe you didn’t get to send that check to your favorite charity because you just didn’t have the extra cash or it got lost in the long list of to-dos and to-attends. The season of giving may be over, but the season of love just started! Now’s the time to send that donation.

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to volunteer more and it hasn’t quite made the top of your priority list? Many organizations are starting to feel the New Year’s rush drop off, so now is your chance to swoop in and lend that much-needed hand.

The point is, now is the time to remember the others that don’t always get remembered past Thanksgiving and the typical charity holiday season. So this season of love, let’s look to those that might be overlooked this time of year. I’ve included some of my personal favorite non-profits. Share your faves in the comments section to spread the Valentine’s Day vibes!

What could ‘B’ more loving?

Bea Gaddy Family Centers

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Picture: Bea Gaddy Family Centers

Let’s face it, we all love food – but sadly, not everyone has enough. Luckily, there’s Bea Gaddy Family Centers to continue on the great work of their namesake. Hunger never takes a holiday and what you may not realize is that donations of food often slow down after Thanksgiving. Give extra chocolate kisses and non-perishable food items to those who go without.

Contact: 410-563-2749 or beagaddy@bea-gaddy.org

House of Ruth

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The non-profit, House of Ruth, helps women of intimate partner violence and their children with counseling, intervention and shelter, as well as working for legislation to strengthen laws and more. With all that House of Ruth does for the women and children of Maryland, there are just as many ways for you to give. Do you love to shop? Spend an afternoon at Ruth’s Closet in Owings Mills and shop with a purpose. The upscale boutique has new and gently used clothes for you to try on and take home – profits help fund programming and services. Do you love to sew? Then help create B-More Bags, which have raised more than $60,000 since 2005. Of course, you can give a little love the old fashioned way with time and monentary donations, or attend their Spring Luncheon on April 27, 2017.

Contact: 410- 554-8449 or info@hruthmd.org

Pet Rescue of Maryland

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Picture Pet Rescue of Maryland

For those of you that have a soft spot for love of the four-legged kind, Pet Rescue of Maryland is chock full of sloppy kisses. Even if you aren’t able to give a forever home to one of the adoptable dogs or cats, there are numerous other ways to show a little love. The non-profit is completely volunteer based, so helping hands in the form of dog handlers, puppy wranglers and cat cuddlers are always welcome. If time is not something you can give right now, donations of paper towels, trash bags and canned cat food are always in need, while those of you who would like to put some money in their paws will feel great knowing all of your donation will go directly to the pets. The current goal of Pet Rescue of Maryland? To raise money to build a Sanctuary for their adoptees in waiting. Think you have the space in your heart and home for a pet like our featured friend Simon? Their next Adoption Event is on February 11, from 2:30 – 4:30 at the Petco in Owings Mills.

Contact: 410-472-1172 or info@petrescueofmd.org

 

The Book Thing

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Is your true love more of the between-the-covers kind? The Book Thing is in the process of rebuilding after a fire forced it to shut its doors last year. Progress is being made and it promises to be bigger and better. Donations of books to fill the shelves are welcome, as are CDs, DVDs and vinyl – check the website or Facebook page for updated drop-off times and places. Those who don’t mind getting a paper cut or two can help stock, sort and stamp the incoming books. And as always, monetary donations are appreciated, but better to donate on the website than to slip your bills in between the pages.

Contact: 410.662.5631 or russell892@cs.com

Lab Rescue LRCP

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Finally, no list of non-profits would be complete without Lab Rescue LRCP because that’s where I met my life long love, Wyatt. Specializing in labs and lab-mixes, Lab Rescue helps these energenic and friendly balls of love find their forever homes. You can help these wonderful dogs get placed by fostering or offering to be doggie transport for foster families that can’t always make it to adoption events. If you want to attend events but are worried you’ll forget the date, purchase a 2017 Rescued Lab Calendar and never miss an event. Donations of food and supplies are always welcome, and monanetary donations will help surrendered dogs with special needs, like Helen whose sight was restored thanks to the generosity of people like you! Keep up to date with available adoptees by following them on Instagram @labrescuelrcp for their Foster Fridays.

Contact: Lab Line: (301) 299-6756 or info@lab-rescue.org