Rhizae Renewal Collective (part of Bloom Baltimore) in collaboration with the 6th Branch (a veteran’s group) and with the support of Re-Build Johnston Square (community association) and grant funding from The Pollination Project are working to bioremediate a lead-contaminated lot which has 1200 ppm of lead in the soil. This is 4 times over the national safety standard of 400 ppm of lead. Sunflowers, however, are lead extractors and in combination with mycorrhizae (underground fungal root networks)- the plants and fungi make a powerful team! We are working to remediate this lot with sunflowers and mycorrhizae to build healthy relationships in the soil, which are the foundation for healthy community relationships above ground! Currently, we are in conversation with Re-Build Johnston Square to have a mural painted on the house next to the lot. This space holds the promise of being a yearly sunflower garden for residents! 

Robin Gunkel, Lead Organizer with Bloom Baltimore
Doctoral Candidate in Sustainability Education
Prescott College