Urban agriculture projects get monetary boost from the state

Springfield's "Gardening the Community" program will receive $55,000.

Massachusetts State House Photo: Thinkstock

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A Springfield community garden is one of several urban agriculture projects to receive grant funding through the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ (MDAR) Urban Agriculture Program.

Funded by the 2014 Massachusetts Five-Year Capital Plan, the purpose of the program is to help urban entrepreneur farmers by supporting commercial projects designed to increase the production, processing, and marketing of produce grown in urban centers across the Commonwealth.

Some of the projects include traditional in ground growing and roof top farming, aquaponics, greenhouses and freight farms. Since its inception,the Urban Agriculture Program has released four rounds of funding which have provided support for 41 urban agriculture projects and facilitated four state-wide urban agriculture conferences, attracting hundreds of practitioners, advocates, and policy makers.

Gardening the Community in Springfield will receive $55,000.  They will use the grant funding to continue the transformation of the first community-controlled urban agriculture site in Springfield. This is phase two of infrastructure improvements, which include soil regeneration, an irrigation system and its installation. The investment will add to the permanent farm site designed to provide locally grown produce directly to low-income urban residents.

To learn more about urban agricultural programs in Massachusetts, click on this link.