Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) from the City of Boston Grassroots program, which supports the development of community gardens. Winning proposals must demonstrate how it will improve neighborhood open spaces, create new open space opportunities, or support urban agriculture designed to increase the availability of fresh food in Boston’s neighborhoods.
“The Grassroots program supports open space and gardening opportunities in all of Boston’s neighborhoods. These community gardens and food plots serve as a gathering place for residents and provide opportunities for healthy fresh food right in our backyards,” said Mayor Walsh. “I am proud that this new round of funding will support the efforts of our community gardeners, and I look forward to seeing the results across our city.”
Grassroots, a program of the City of Bostons Department of Neighborhood Development (DND), promotes access to urban green space through the conveyance of city-owned land to non-profit organizations, and the provision of grant funding for garden design and construction. The Grassroots program has awarded more than $20 million in competitive grants to more than 130 community gardens and food forests throughout Boston, and has also funded a number of urban agriculture projects and open space initiatives.
“The City of Boston has been one of our strongest partners and supporters for our community gardens in Boston,” says Alicia Leuba, Trustees Vice President. The Department of Neighborhood Development’s (DND) Grassroots Open Space Program has been critical in the protection of open space and much needed garden infrastructure upgrades. The Grassroots grants have enabled us to leverage significant additional foundation grants and private gifts, to help make our work caring for and creating new community gardens possible. We congratulate Mayor Walsh and Chief Dillon for their vision and commitment to improving the lives of our residents by providing critical access to open space and fresh food.”
The new Grassroots Program Funding RFP was created to assist neighborhood-based groups which demonstrate the capacity to develop and maintain community gardens and open space within their neighborhood. To apply for this funding, groups must demonstrate the capacity to make permanent improvements that provide a long-term public benefit to the neighborhood. In particular, improvements likely to be funded will be those that increase production capacity of already existing garden spaces, or add new features to existing gardens and open spaces. Community residents must be fully involved in the development of design proposals, and have a leadership role in the organization and management of garden activities.
Proposals for this funding round must be submitted to the Department of Neighborhood Development no later than 4:00 p.m. on April 1, 2019. The City of Boston’s Grassroots Program has created more than 13,000 square feet of community garden space and preserved an additional 27,000 square feet greenspace in Boston. More information about the Grassroots program may be found on Grassroots program’s webpage.
Under the Walsh Administration, preserving and enhancing community gardens and gathering spaces continues to be a priority. Last June, Mayor Walsh joined with funding partners and the Mattapan community to celebrate the $3.7 million historic renovation of the 18th century Fowler Clark Epstein Farm.
The City of Boston together with The Trustees, and TD Bank are working to expand the reach and highlight the role of community gardens in Boston’s neighborhoods with community-driven design projects, community-building events, and skill-building workshops planned for up to 40 gardens. Support for community gardens is also included in both current and prior funding recommendations for projects through the Community Preservation Act.