Boston’s Urban Farmers

The Boston Globe ran a nice feature on how Boston’s government and various food companies are promoting urban farming in Beantown—mostly in Roxbury, Mattapan, and Dorchester. That’s where the vacant lots are.

The Food Project’s Brook Avenue Farm/ Meg Muckenhoupt

Although private-sector interest has been increasing, the idea of growing food in Boston’s vacant lots isn’t new. The nonprofit The Food Project has been growing vegetables on two acres of vacant lots in the Dudley neighborhood.for years. (If you’d like to visit the Food Project’s 10,000 square foot greenhouse, check out their “Jazz Under Glass” fundraiser February 24.)

Two points that I found interesting:

—According to the Globe, estimates of just how much vacant land might be available for farming in Boston neighborhoods varies “from 600 to a few thousand acres.” Do we really not know how much city-owned vacant land there is in Roxbury? Really?

—One of the groups pushing to make more Boston land available for farming is the not-for-profit Urban Farming Institute. They’re sponsoring an Urban Agriculture Conference on Saturday, February 9 at Roxbury Community College. In January, the Institute sponsored two information sessions on their Urban Farmer Training Program. Here’s a photo of the folks who came to their January 16 session:

Urban Farming Institute

That’s not a group of white suburban college students who want to work with their hands before they apply to law school. Those future Urban Farmers probably live in the neighborhoods where they’ll be working, making vacant lots into green jobs.