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

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



An Afternoon in Space?


Photo by Melinda Campbell

Before this spring I had not been in the H.P. Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens. Like many things in this area, I had driven by the interesting shaped building, wondered about its contents and promptly forgot about it as it became a speck in my rearview mirror.

This time, however, was different; this time I was going into the Conservatory to stop and smell the roses. Or the hyacinths, in this case.

If you haven’t been to the Rawlings Conservatory, you should take the time to stop on by. The entire building could be looked at in a mad 20-minute dash, or absorbed through hours of observation and reflection. The choice is yours (as is the donation upon entry).

The Conservatory building itself is grand in a toy-like sort of way – you get the impression that it would look splendid miniaturized in a child’s playroom, all dainty and full of secrets. The architecture is simple but stunning, and can conjure up images of carousels, tea parties and secret gardens. And of course, it is the latter that proves to be correct.

An immersion of the senses is the best way to describe a trip through the rooms of concrete and glass, made living by the greenery. And it’s hard to determine which makes the grandest first impression – the surround-sound fragrance or the tactile coloring – as both jockey for your undivided attention when you enter. The chorus of perfume and the sensation of color clash in a war where the winner gets top bidding in your mind and memory. In the end they join forces, enticing you to get to know them better through consideration and time.

Bottlebrush plant

Bottlebrush plant (Callisternon citrinus)

Now, I know you’re probably not supposed to touch the vegetation that grows from floor to ceiling and cascades down windows in a still-life waterfall of leaves, petals and vines. But the soft pillowy flowers of the bottlebrush plant (or Callistemon citrinus, for the science-minded out there) beg for you to stroke it as if it were a kitten, and the prickly cactus challenges you to prove your bravery. Sometimes you just can’t help yourself and you fall victim to the cajoling and taunts. Ah, those tricky flowers!

When I went on my journey through the Conservatory, there were works of art and photos taken from space along the walls. I would learn I had stumbled into a display titled The Garden Galaxy. The final room was designed in a meteoric arch of color and commotion and flowers shot across the sky, in something more pageant than Star Trek. Peeking out from among the blossoms were mosaics of layered glass, created by Yulia Hanansen. Here, among the seemingly fragile petals, the glass art lent an air of delicate strength, reminding the viewer that both glass and flowers are beautiful and strong, but also can be broken. Depicted in these works were stars and galaxies, swirling in frozen movement; a moment set in glass. In another room it was difficult to tell where art and nature diverged, as plants were spray painted and arranged in a way that made a careful observer do a double take: Is that natural? Is that art? Can I cross the boundary to find out?

Mosaic by Yulia Hanansen

Mosaic by Yulia Hanansen

With the benches and the quiet stillness, I could easily have sat there for hours, but life does not stand still, even if some of our fellow inhabitants do. However, it’s nice to have a place where you can step into space and stop to smell the hyacinths, if only for an afternoon. What could ‘B’ more beautiful?