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Community greenhouse raises hope in Providence
By Jenny Pereira / July 28, 2015 /   Loading Disqus...

Kids clamber around a raised vegetable bed thick with rich, deep- brown soil.  Just steps away is a brand-new community greenhouse, where neighbors with green thumbs will plant their first harvest.

Funded with our $55,000 grant and a matching grant from the national Partners for Places, the structure will extend the growing season for urban farmers, foster micro-businesses, and promote composting.

The 3,200 square-foot lot on Providence’s Prairie Avenue was selected based on its potential for food production and location within walking distance of Mary Fogarty Elementary School, Robert Bailey Elementary School, a library, a senior center, and a church.

Low-cost leases to the farmers using the greenhouse will support agricultural business development and link locally grown food with neighborhood schools. The goal is to ensure that at least 15 percent of the food that the Providence School Department serves is locally-sourced.

The greenhouse will also provide opportunities for introducing garden-based curriculum into neighborhood schools, including a composting pilot where students can learn about local food systems and reducing solid waste.

Now students can engage in hands-on, real-world learning that extends beyond the classroom. No wonder partners as diverse as the Providence’s Office of Sustainability and the Providence School Department’s Rekindling the Dream Foundation are so excited.

The greenhouse initiative is part of the Lots of Hope program. Launched with $100,000 in funding from us and Partners for Places, Lots of Hope turns vacant, city-owned properties into productive urban farms and bring fresh produce to neighborhoods. The program is expanding Providence’s portfolio of green, open space and improving air quality, public health and local property values.

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