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Boston Urban Agriculture Strategy

GrowBoston, the City of Boston’s Office of Urban Agriculture, seeks to strengthen its efforts to tackle food insecurity and climate resiliency by promoting and expanding urban agriculture. Expansion is focused on the neighborhoods of Boston with the highest rates of food insecurity and other social vulnerabilities (Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and East Boston). 

Through a $200,000 planning grant provided by the USDA, GrowBoston is developing a citywide strategy in partnership with community stakeholders, producers, and city agencies. The strategy will guide GrowBoston’s investment in and expansion of local food production through both traditional and innovative urban agriculture. Innovative urban agriculture includes rooftop farms, vertical production, hydroponics, and indoor farms. 

GrowBoston is collaborating with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), a leader in Massachusetts food system planning and policy, and the Urban Farming Institute (UFI), an organization dedicated to cultivating urban farming spaces and healthy communities. 

Throughout 2023, MAPC is leading a community engagement effort with local stakeholders in each of the four neighborhoods, and a separate engagement process with City agencies. This effort involves a series of meetings, events, and interviews with stakeholders. 
The result will be a list of neighborhood priorities for increased food production and recommendations for the City of Boston. MAPC will recommend how GrowBoston, other City departments, and community partners can refine their practices, policies, and coordination to make it easier to grow food in Boston. 

In December, UFI will gather a group of food producers that will recommend long-term strategies for increased citywide food production. 

Engagement Strategies

Neighborhood Engagement: Led by MAPC 

The goal of MAPC’s neighborhood engagement is to hear the interests of residents who live and work in the priority neighborhoods (Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and East Boston). They want to hear about where there should be urban agriculture in the neighborhoods, and what the best agricultural strategies would be. In each priority neighborhood, MAPC has assembled a committee of interested residents, and is leading five committee meetings. In partnership with the committees, MAPC will host a community data gathering event in each neighborhood.

Municipal Engagement: Led by MAPC

MAPC is also conducting a municipal engagement effort.  This includes a series of coordination meetings with City departments. MAPC is also interviewing  staff from City departments and key community-based organizations. The goal of this engagement is to coordinate citywide systems and programs to better support local food producers.

MAPC are meeting with staff from the following departments: GrowBoston: Office of Urban Agriculture; Boston Public Health Commission; Department of Public Works; Office of Youth Employment and Advancement; Office of Food Justice; Inspectional Services Department; Boston Planning & Development Agency; Parks & Recreation Department; Boston Water & Sewer Commission; Boston Public Schools; and Assessing Department.

MAPC will meet with staff from the following community-based organizations: Boston Farms Community Land Trust; Urban Farming Institute; Trust for Public Land; The Trustees of Reservations; and Massachusetts Urban Agriculture Coalition.

Food Producer Engagement: Led by UFI 

UFI will lead a one day event for food producers where they will lead a discussion about agriculture expansion. 

Get Involved

 Check out our survey! We want to hear your ideas and hopes for growing and raising food in your neighborhood. GrowBoston especially wants to hear from residents of Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan and East Boston, key neighborhoods in Boston’s effort to address food insecurity.

LINK TO SURVEY

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