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Grow FOOD and grow JUSTICE!
Dorchester-based City Growers are doing just that. The for-profit company combines education, farming, nutrition, land revitalization, and economic development, an approach to food security that’s much-needed in the city.
City Growers was founded in 2011 by Glynn Lloyd and Margaret Connors. Lloyd has a background in socially responsible business practices, anti-poverty initiatives, and education. He is also the CEO of City Fresh Foods, which provides economical meals to local schools, childcare centers and homebound elders. Connors has been an advocate for more nutritious food in schools through previous work as the Wellness Coordinator in the Boston Public School system. She is also a co-Founder and Director of the Neighborhood Pesticide Action Committee (NPAC), which has successfully reduced pesticide use in Boston parks.
Both believe that the individuals, communities, and businesses that they work with are ready for a new food economy.
City Growers currently operate 4 site plots, and broke ground on a 5th this past summer. All are in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan. Their mission is to transform vacant lots in Boston into intensive urban farms that are economically and environmentally sustainable.
They combine the resources of community organizations, neighborhood associations and local markets for fresh produce to accomplish three major goals:
We spoke with Lloyd, Connors, and veteran City Growers farmers Bobby Walker and Nataka Crayton-Walker right at the beginning of this summer’s growing season. We visited their site at the Sportsman’s Tennis Club, 950 Blue Hill Avenue (Dorchester). They are turning the soil on land behind the courts into a productive plot. City Growers currently operates as a commercial wholesale grower, selling to restaurants and small grocery stores – including Haley House, Stone Hearth Pizza, Savenor’s Market, and City Feed and Supply.
They also run a farmer apprentice program in partnership with the Urban Farming Institute, increasing access to farming education for youth and adults.
Read More about City Growers’ work and exciting steps in 2014.
Elli & Lina