The Mayor’s Office of Housing in Boston has recently made a substantial investment of over $300,000 in funding to support community-led agriculture projects. The fund is dedicated to bolstering urban agriculture and open space initiatives through the GrowBoston: Office of Urban Agriculture’s Grassroots Program.
The Grassroots Program, an integral part of GrowBoston, aims to actively engage community groups, promote sustainable agriculture practices, and enhance food security throughout the city. By providing financial support and access to City-owned land, the program empowers local initiatives and strengthens Boston’s commitment to fostering a resilient and healthy community.
The funding announcement targets the development of urban farms, community gardens, and other open spaces in the Roxbury, Dorchester, and East Boston neighborhoods. Four deserving sites have been awarded the latest round of Grassroots funding, with the non-profit organizations Mass Liberation, The Guild, Eastie Farm, and Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation receiving grants.
Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation has been awarded $100,000 to support capital improvements at the Oasis on Ballou community farm in Dorchester. This investment will facilitate the growth of healthy produce for the community and enhance gardening access and engagement for residents, student groups, and community stakeholders.
Mass Liberation will utilize $100,000 to establish the Harriet Tubman Freedom Park on Blue Hill Avenue in Roxbury. The park will feature a vibrant garden and an accessible community space, providing a valuable gathering place for the community. The Guild will also receive $100,000 for the redevelopment of the Washington Street Urban Forest, a community park and urban forest in Dorchester. The project aims to stabilize and reforest the oak tree hillside, create new pathways, plazas, and a four-season pavilion for educational activities and art exhibits. Eastie Farm will utilize over $33,000 to install a living green fence at their farm located in East Boston. This installation will enhance food productivity, safety, and food access.
These projects not only promote sustainable agriculture and food production but also contribute to community engagement, education, and neighborhood pride. By transforming vacant lots into flourishing gardens and open spaces, the City of Boston demonstrates its commitment to equitable access to healthy food and vibrant neighborhoods.
The funding allocation was carried out through a competitive grant application process to ensure fairness and transparency. Non-profit organizations with a vested interest in developing and maintaining gardens in Boston were invited to apply. The selection of the Grassroots Awardees reflects Boston’s vision for a resilient, healthy, and connected city, striving for an equitable distribution of food resources across all neighborhoods.
The establishment of the GrowBoston: Office of Urban Agriculture in February 2022 by Mayor Michelle Wu underscores the city’s dedication to increasing food production, implementing innovative strategies, providing technical assistance, and developing resources for gardeners, farmers, and residents. It also aligns with Boston’s broader goals of addressing climate change and addressing the inequalities present in the current food system.
By investing in community-led agriculture projects, Boston is not only creating opportunities for sustainable food production but also fostering a sense of community empowerment, environmental stewardship, and healthy living. The funding announced by the Mayor’s Office of Housing will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the communities involved, promoting social, economic, and environmental well-being for all Boston residents.