Mayor of Boston opens chicken farm for people who had trouble with the law
The Farm at Long Island Shelter.
Mayor says: “Bawk, bawk, bawk.”
The hens came at the mayor’s suggestion to the 2 1/2 acre Serving Ourselves Farm, which brimmed yesterday with collard greens, plump pumpkins, acorn squash, and tomatoes engorged after a summer of sunshine. The labor that seeds, waters, weeds, and harvests the organic farm comes entirely from the residents of the Long Island homeless shelter and young people who had trouble with the law but are in a city program to help right their lives.
Duties on the farm now include feeding the three-month-old hens, which eat carrot tops, corn, soy beans, vegetable scraps, and other organic-certified feed. In November the birds will begin laying medium-sized brown eggs. Each bird is expected to produce 250 to 300 eggs annually. The eggs, like the farm’s fruits and vegetables, will feed residents in Long Island Shelter and be sold at farmers’ markets on the mainland.
The 14-year-old run farm by the Boston Public Health Commission does much more than grow up to 30,000 pounds of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers a year. It provides ingredients for 2,000 meals a day cooked in the kitchen at Long Island Shelter and gives the troubled and down-and-out respite from the hardscrabble streets of the city.
“This is an oasis,” said Philip Heartley, 42, who after serving 16 years in prison for second-degree murder learned skills and confidence at the farm that helped him earn a job at a golf course. “It saved my life.”