The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) today announces receipt of a $6 million grant that will support renovations and expanded food access at our 56 community gardens across eight Boston neighborhoods.
The anonymous grant is a transformational opportunity for The Trustees’ community gardens, which total more than 1,600 garden plots that feed approximately 8,000 people each year. The funds will be used for capital improvements to and maintenance of existing gardens, as well as for construction of new garden sites in Boston neighborhoods. The Trustees is the largest nonprofit owner of gardens in the city and is uniquely positioned to respond to the growing demand for food access and connect people to nature in their own neighborhoods.
“This generous grant not only allows us to respond to the enormous demand for more garden plots in the city, it improves the quality of life for Boston residents whose reliance on open space has been at the heart of our mission for more than 130 years,” said Interim President and CEO Nicie Panetta. “These gardens aren’t just food sources, they are community hubs that reflect the vibrant culture of their neighborhoods and where people gather in community to share not just the bounty of their harvests, but also the richness of their stories and so many special moments in their lives.”
Our community gardens have traditionally been welcome hubs for refugee and immigrant populations in neighborhoods like Dorchester, Roxbury, East Boston, and Mattapan, and the ability of people everywhere to enjoy open spaces has been at the heart of The Trustees’ mission since Charles Eliot founded the organization in 1891. The cultivation and expansion of these urban community gardens provides people more access to green space, allows the food grown to reflect the food, language, and culture of the community, and creates space for cross-cultural interactions and friendships.
In 2020, COVID caused the popularity of community gardens to skyrocket along with the wait times to get a plot. This money will help expand the number of plots and opportunities to grow food to offset food budget costs. The Trustees also wants to expand on its hybrid programming, which currently reaches approximately 18,000 people annually and consists of gardening tips, health and mindfulness classes, art installations, and family offerings like concerts and seasonal celebrations, that reaches people in-person while simultaneously giving gardening enthusiasts at home access to the recordings.
“There are roughly 125,000 people who live within a quarter-mile of one of our 56 community gardens,” said Vice President of Urban Outdoors Vidya Tikku. “Our goal is not simply to create an audience of people who have plots, but to invite all of the surrounding community to reap the benefits of our special spaces.”
To learn more about The Trustees’ community gardens, visit thetrustees.org/place/boston-community-gardens/.
More about The Trustees
Founded by landscape architect Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees has, for more than 130 years, been a catalyst for important ideas, endeavors, and progress in Massachusetts. As a steward of distinctive and dynamic places of both historic and cultural value, The Trustees is the nation’s first preservation and conservation organization, and its landscapes and landmarks continue to inspire discussion, innovation, and action today as they did in the past. We are a nonprofit, supported by members, friends and donors and our 123 sites are destinations for residents, members, and visitors alike, welcoming millions of guests annually. thetrustees.org.