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Urban agriculture projects in Massachusetts receive funding

11 projects will share more than $330,000

By Diego Flammini, Farms.com

In an effort to increase support for urban agriculture projects in Massachusetts, the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) is awarding grants exceeding $330,000 to 11 projects throughout the state.

Urban agriculture refers to traditional growing methods and includes rooftop farms, aquaponics, greenhouses, and using vacant land to produce fresh food.

Hydroponics

“Urban farms not only improve the environment of their neighborhoods, but also provide residents access to nutritious, fresh produce,” said Governor Charlie Baker in a release. “Through these grants, this administration demonstrates its commitment to supporting the production of sustainably-grown, fresh food within our cities and increasing access to healthy food for all Massachusetts residents.”

The grants are awarded through the Department of Agricultural Resources’ Urban Agriculture Grant Program and will total $336,138.

The Urban Agriculture Grant Program debuted in 2014 and aims to support the growing urban agriculture sector. In its four years, the program has supported 31 projects and helped facilitate three state-wide conferences dedicated to urban agriculture.

“DAR’s investment into urban farming has supported the creation of entrepreneurial enterprises, impacted and strengthened local neighborhoods access to fresh food and facilitated new opportunities through the production, processing, marketing and sale of fresh food at the local level,” said DAR Commissioner John Lebeaux in a release.

Funded projects include:

  • $40,000 for Mill City Grows in Lowell. The grants will help expand its acreage from 1 1/8 acres to 2 1/8 acres, and develop organic pest and disease management strategies.
  • $39,000 for Boston College to use to help make more fresh produce available for sale in partnership with Daily Table in Codman Square.  The grant will also be used towards training 30 high school teachers to grow produce in schools using hydroponics and educating residents and youth about healthy food.

Join the discussion and comment on urban agriculture in Massachusetts receiving funding. What other urban agriculture initiatives could benefit from funding?

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