Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island supports urban farming initiative
Providence aims to turn abandoned urban plots into community gardens in midst of economic stagnation
“A lot of people are doing this for subsistence,” King said. “We shouldn’t always romanticize urban farming.”
By Chad Simon
Brown Daily Herald
February 5, 2013
Mayor Angel Taveras announced a partnership with Southside Community Land Trust and the Rhode Island Foundation Jan. 14 in a project aimed at renovating the vacant lots that sprinkle the city’s undeveloped land parcels and turning them into small farming plots.
The Florida-based Local Sustainability Matching Fund and the Rhode Island Foundation together provided the project, Lots of Hope, with $100,000 to put toward developing urban farms throughout Providence and its surrounding urban areas.
Lots of Hope has become popular around the country, riding the coattails of urban farming success stories in Detroit and Chicago, said Dawn King, a visiting assistant professor at the Center for Environmental Studies.
Like Detroit and Chicago, Providence has seen many urban plots abandoned, likely due to the poor economy and subsequent decrease in population as former Providence residents seek work in larger cities, said King. Rather than let these plots succumb to overgrowth and litter, Providence will lease the land for a trivial sum of money to local farmers, she said.
“Right now, there’s a heavy demand for local food,” King said. “The city has a lot of open land, so why not lease the land for dirt cheap to local farmers?”