Urban farms sprout under community care in Providence, Rhode Island
In addition to potentially fostering a spirit of community, urban farming efforts can bolster the local economy by stimulating use of the Harvest Kitchen, a food-processing center in Providence. Photos by Nayhaniel Wood.
Providence’s Lots of Hope partnership seeks to expand thriving urban agriculture practices
By Katherine Cusumano
The Brown Daily Herald
February 5, 2013
The plot of land at the corner of Slocum and Almy Streets in Providence’s West Side has seen better days — the old building’s brown paint is peeling, slats are stripping from its walls and a fading sign reads “Providence Head Start,” a faint trace of the school it once housed.
But the parking lot out front is home to rows upon rows of dirt mounds out of which small shrubs and plants, the remnants of last year’s planting season, are visible. A small stone Buddha rests under a gnarly tree. In the back, massive piles of compost wait for the next season of planting.
A quaint, rusty sign labels Nathaniel Wood’s most recent urban farming endeavor, Front Step Farm. After two years of renting another lot in Providence, one that was previously empty for about 70 years, Wood found himself ousted from the property when his landlord sold it to a neighboring nonprofit without his knowledge, he said.
This provoked a massive community letter-writing campaign to prevent the nonprofit organization from receiving a grant to plant the land that had previously been Wood’s, he said.