14 Sep BMoreAg Foundation Provides Hands-On Agriculture Experience for Baltimore City Youth During Chef Connie Memorial Summer Camp
BMoreAg Foundation Provides Hands-On Agriculture Experience for Baltimore City Youth During Chef Connie Memorial Summer Camp
How do you remember the legacy of someone who advocated for nutrition and physical fitness for children throughout Baltimore City? …Someone who believed there was potential and prosperity in every individual, if only given the opportunity to build upon their education and passions? …Someone who made lasting impacts on a community through her giving spirit, ability to listen, genuine concern for others, and selfless hard work?
That someone is “Chef” Connie Jeanne Hitchcock Johnson, a children’s nutrition advocate and personal chef. This summer, Liberty Village Project held the Chef Connie Memorial Summer Camp in her honor, and BMoreAg Foundation was thrilled to be part of it!
Chef Connie passed away on April 13, 2023. She was a track star, personal chef (once invited to cook at the Super Bowl), and founder of an after-school culinary program for young people.
“Chef Connie truly cared about Baltimore City’s youth. She had an amazing way of connecting with them while sharing her passion of cooking, fitness, and wellness,” said BMoreAg Director of Government and Community Relations Kerrin Massarueh. “Representing everyone at BMoreAg Foundation, I was honored to be part of this camp, enlightening students with the power of healthy eating and sustainable agriculture.”
Long-time community activist and youth advocate in Baltimore City, Ms. Kim Trueheart of Liberty Village Project directed the 5-week long camp from July 5 to August 11.
During this time, students between 5 – 14 years old were introduced to health and fitness activities – including hydroponics and 3-D design, basketball, culinary arts, gardening, math games, and horseback riding. In addition to wellness activities, the camp also provided tutoring, counseling, and other areas of support.
BMoreAg Foundation’s goal was exposing participants to where food comes from and the sustainable agriculture technologies that can address food security in our communities. The campers went on field trips to the United States Botanic Garden, Weber’s Peach and Berry Festival, and Baltimore City’s first indoor vertical farm – Alluvion Aeroponics. The students put their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Math) skills to work by fabricating hydroponic planters with 3-D design and printing. They then had the opportunity to recommend modifications to the planters.
“These kids have a thirst for life and learning. It is encouraging to hear the innovative ideas their young minds create. The energy at camp every day was just unreal, and knowing this excitement was fueled by wellness activities was inspiring,” added Kerrin. “I am truly grateful to have been partnered with Liberty Village Project not only to honor Chef Connie, but to enhance the educational experience for our city’s youth.”
In addition to BmoreAg, the camp was sponsored by Baltimore Summer Funding Collaborative, Liberty Village Project, Fund for Educational Excellence, and Simon Says Shoot Hoops Not Guns.
BMoreAg Foundation is a non-profit seeking to expand sustainable agriculture education to Baltimore’s youth through STEAM education and advocacy (or “ag-vocacy” as we like to call it) to eliminate food injustice, food apartheid, and hunger. It focuses on providing access so that Baltimore’s youth can develop healthier lifestyles. By concentrating on career readiness and business practices, BMoreAg Foundation students have access to pathways that offer career advancement, sustainable wages, and inclusivity.