The Urban Farming Institute of Boston’s mission is to develop and promote urban farming as a Commercial sector that creates green collar jobs for residents; and to engage urban communities in building a healthier and more locally based food system.
By enabling urban farming through farm creation, farmer training, public education and policy change, UFI brings people in urban neighborhoods closer to food production.
The Urban Farming Institute was created in 2012 out of a global vision for a better food system and the local experience of neighborhood residents in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan. They foresaw the challenges to a thriving urban agriculture industry in Boston: farmer training, land access, public education and policy.
A not for profit with a mission driven agenda would be the most effective way to guide the industry forward, disseminate growing knowledge, and impact the overall landscape of farming in cities. The Urban Farming Institute brings its vision of a just food system into neighborhoods where it creates partnerships between residents and farmers to create healthy places and healthy people. And UFI continues to honor its local roots in the leaders, staff and participants of the program.
In five short years, UFI has graduated five cohorts of urban farmers, developed the first as-of right-urban farm under Boston’s new zoning amendment and founded and co-sponsored three state wide urban farming conferences.
To date, 80% of the graduates of UFI’s training program work in farm and food related businesses in the region; two more farms are in development with a third expected shortly; the farming conferences have attracted three hundred participants each year.
UFI was created out of experience and continues to grow knowledge of the physical, social and economic conditions that support farm viability and that will grow a robust and redundant urban food system. The work has attracted significant partners in the public sector (MDAR, City of Boston), not for profit (the Trust for Public Land, Dudley Neighbors, Inc, theMOVE, Historic Boston, Inc., Commonwealth Kitchen, Mattapan Coalition for Food and Fitness, Baraka WellnessProject Bread) and private sectors.
On this solid foundation, UFI will grow its vision with the development of the Fowler Clark farm as a hub of production, research and development, and education for urban farming in Boston.