AmericanFarm.com

MNLA helps Habitat in Baltimore’s Brooklyn area

By CAROL KINSLEY

(October 2014) On Sept. 17 and 18, volunteers from the Maryland Nursery and Landscape Association and Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake came together to begin landscaping more than 25 homes in the neighborhood of Brooklyn in South Baltimore.
Putting faith into action, Habitat Chesapeake brings people together to build decent, affordable homes that change lives, empower families and strengthen communities. In 2003 Habitat Chesapeake started to acquire and rehab homes in Brooklyn and, for the past decade, has worked with more than 30 homeowners to achieve safe, decent and affordable housing.
As a re-investment in this neighborhood, various beautification projects have begun that include exterior painting and litter control. Now the MNLA has provided various donations from some of its 300 member companies to beautify the neighborhood.
Companies donating material included Patuxent Nursery and Valley View Farms, who provided 100-foot hoses; The Perennial Farm, which sent 360 liriope plants; Shemin Nursery, 21 crape myrtles; Grant County Mulch, bagged mulch; and Capitol LLC/Just This Side of Paradise Farm, 23 Kwansan cherry trees.
Companies that sent volunteers or donated time included: Clear Ridge Nursery, Mullan Nursery Company, Classic Lawn and Landscape, Akehurst Landscape Service, Kingsdene Nurseries, Capitol LLC and MNLA.
“Robust community appearance adds value to homes, helps attract business investment, and simply improves the neighborhood reputation,” stated Mike Posko, CEO for Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake.  “Research shows that beauty is one of the top three factors in creating community attachment as well as civic loyalty.
“When we go into neighborhoods, we don’t just build one house, we build a community. Without partners like MNLA members, who bring such great resources like skilled landscape labor as well as donated trees and shrubs, it would slow down the process. We’d have to find other resources or pay to get the work done. What we look for when doing neighborhoods are committed and dedicated partners.
“This is a three to five-year project,” Posko explained. “Some of the 40 homes had been there a number of years. Those we were dressing up to make the neighborhood more presentable. There were no fences, trees or shrubs. In order for the neighborhood be successful, we have to do more than build a house, we build gardens and play areas and plant trees to make the neighborhood more acceptable for homeowners to come into that community.”
Brent Rutley, president of the MNLA, said, “Our support for donations of plant products and services is part of our mission and we are proud to partner with Habitat Chesapeake in making a strong visual impact for their partner families in Brooklyn.
“MNLA is trying to not only help educate the public but to change public awareness of what the green industry is all about. It seems as though the industry is always painted as an ‘enemy’ of the environment because we use fertilizer and pesticides, we farm and let sediment clog the waterways.  That is so far from reality that we are reaching out to the community to show what we actually do. We’re not doing it just because it’s in our mission statement, but because it is the right thing to do.”
MNLA has a distinguished history of supporting, promoting, and providing services and assistance to member businesses since 1934.
Habitat Chesapeake serves Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County in Maryland. For more information, or to volunteer materials or labor, call (410) 366-1250 or visit www. habitatchesapeake.org.