Over the last two years, GreenTech has explored how best to promote urban agriculture businesses within Boston including ground and roof based ventures. Working with the Mayor’s Food Policy Director and BRA zoning experts, the City is taking its first steps toward a demonstration scale project that will help us learn about how to integrate commercial grade growing businesses in underutilized parcels. The project will include community hearings and ultimately, will help inform development of an agricultural zoning provision.
Jul 01, 10
Over the last 18 months or so, I’ve been approached by a handful of entrepreneurs who are pursuing innovative approaches to urban farming. Localvore consumer sentiment, combined with an increased awareness of our food supply’s carbon (and water) footprint and food system thinking generally have created ideal growing conditions (sorry) for sustainble urban agribusiness. But these creative entrepreneurs/new ventures, including Alice Leung at (Top Sprouts), Glynn Lloyd (City Fresh), and Stephen Kennedy Smith (Verticrop) also expose regulatory challenges for municipal policy makers.
GreenTech has played a key role in shedding light on these challenges. We began by mapping food resources in Boston. We enlisted support from some Tufts wonderful students who looked more closely at our community gardens. We’ve explored the synergies between buildings and roof top agriculture. And we’ve been playing a supportive role in the Boston Local Food Festival, planned for this fall alongside the Fort Point Channel.
We will continue to explore additional policies and programs that can accelerate the work of Boston’s new food entrenpreneurs. Please contact me with your ideas. Let us know what we can do to improve the conditions for innovative urban agriculture economic development opportunities.