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How A Small Farm In Mattapan Fed Its Community During The Pandemic

Nataka Crayton (l) hands vegetables to a local resident at the Urban Farming Institute in Mattapan, Mass. on July 9, 2020. Meredith Nierman / GBH News

Food insecurity increased by 55% in Massachusetts from 2019 to 2020, according to a report from the Greater Boston Food Bank. Neighborhoods with a majority of residents of color like Mattapan were disproportionately affected.

By Tori Bedford
July 14, 2021


With funding from the City of Boston and other contributors, Fowler Clark — as it’s more commonly known — provided 15,000 pounds of produce to the community last year through meal deliveries and donations.

When the pandemic hit, the farm reduced its team of 750 volunteers to just ten, and questioned the safety of staying open at all, according to Patricia Spence, president of the Urban Farming Institute, the nonprofit that owns the farm.

“The first hurdle was, do we do a farm stand? Are we letting people on the campus? And the answer became obvious,” Spence said. “So many people couldn’t get to the supermarket. So, yes, we had to be open.”

At the farmers market every Friday from June to October, customers like Beottger and Willie Jackson, who lives across the street, can use city-funded $20 coupons to pay for their produce orders.

“I live on a fixed income. So this really helps, it really helps,” said Jackson, 69. “Food in a grocery store is very expensive today, and they don’t have a senior service for people, especially people my age. So it’s a blessing to shop over here.”

Read the complete article here.


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