Boston's First "Right-To-Farm" Site Announced

July 11, 2014
Press release

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced today that The Trust for Public Land—a leading national nonprofit land conservation organization—has acquired and received permit approval from the City of Boston to create the first urban farm in Boston allowed under the City's new "Article 89" farming rules.

The announcement was made during a community-wide groundbreaking ceremony presided over by Mayor Walsh at the formerly city-owned parcel at 225 Harold Street in Roxbury.

Garrison-Trotter Farm, as it will be known, will be for use by local neighborhood farmers who will have the opportunity to grow food commercially on the farm through a partnership with the Urban Farming Institute, Dudley Neighbors Inc., and City Growers.

"Farmers make good neighbors. Urban agriculture is an innovative way to improve city life," Mayor Walsh said. "Boston's new zoning creates opportunities for entrepreneurs, decreases the distance food travels from farm to table, and improves the lives of our residents. I want to thank The Trust for Public Land for partnering with the City of Boston to create urban farms like this one in our neighborhoods."

Protected for decades by The Garrison Trotter Neighborhood Associations and abutters, and owned by the City of Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development, the land has now been protected thanks to The Trust for Public Land's leadership and vision and a unique collaboration with other community agencies. The Trust for Public Land, the site's new owner, will collaborate with the Urban Farming Institute of Boston and the City to acquire and improve several other vacant lots in Roxbury and Dorchester.

"We are thrilled to be leading the next wave of urban farming in Boston, converting unused land to productive agricultural and economic use," said Kevin Essington, The Trust for Public Land's Massachusetts state director. "Our local food economy is thriving, so ensuring farmers have a permitted, clean and conserved farm in their neighborhood is the first step in creating the opportunities that so many are asking for. We thank Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston, and our many donors, for making this great idea a reality."

The Boston Redevelopment Authority worked with urban farming advocates and neighborhoods to come up with Boston's first "right-to-farm" by-law, known as Article 89. City council approved Article 89 in December, 2012 after nearly two years of work by the BRA.

The Trust for Public Land has secured private funds for the acquisition, permitting, and creation of three new urban farms in Boston, and is seeking additional funding to expand the initiative to meet the growing demand of local farmers. They have plans to create farms this year on Akron Street and Callender Street in Boston.