The Urban Farming Institute of Boston (UFIB) is a social innovation organization founded in 2012 to support the development of urban farming (the growing of agricultural products for income) in Boston and in other urban areas of Massachusetts.
Building a healthier, more locally based food system is at the heart of UFI’s mission. As the momentum around greening cities, increasing health outcomes, and developing more sustainable solutions for urban economic development, urban farming is quickly emerging into a viable industry solution. This emerging industry can help to promote and support innovative approaches that address economic disparity, particularly in lower income neighborhoods.
UFI’s objectives are aimed to further establish itself as a thought leader in the emerging urban farming sector in Massachusetts. Our goals include:
- Train residents from Massachusetts’ urban areas to become successful urban farmers;
- Acquire and prepare land for farming;
- Educate community, city and state stakeholders in support of appropriate policy changes in regards to land use and urban farming practices.
- Through research and development, document, map the urban farming industry and its impact on social, economic, health outcomes for both practitioners and the industry as a whole in order to create a new paradigm.
In 2013, the Urban Farming Institute (UFI) launched Boston’s first Urban Farmer Training Program. The training program offers local residents, the opportunity to engage in direct, hands-on learning on small ¼ acre plots of lots in which the UFI’s farm currently occupies.
UFI sees its Farmer Training Program as a springboard for individuals who traditional job models do not work, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. While this will not solve the job crisis in the city, trainees will leave this training able to incorporate tenets of sustainable food and agriculture into their pathway to individual success through green jobs and agricultural enterprise.
Coupled with education and public awareness, this approach not only brings people closer to food production, it also heightens the awareness around public policy that has impacts in the community.
UFI continues to look forward to the future in the development of innovative and sustainable strategies that address the critical needs of our communities. All people, particularly those underrepresented, must be not merely active participants in the green economy, but leaders, creators, of that economy.
Training sites include farms at Sportsmen’s Tennis Club, Lucerne St, and Glenway St in Dorchester; a farm a Eustis Street in Roxbury; a composting site at City Soil; and a newly opened farm owned by Urban Farming Institute of Boston at Harold Street!
Harold Street – From Empty Lot to Farm
City Soil and Lucerne St Sites