Charlestown Sprouts Community Garden received some good news last week when it was awarded a grant from Massachusetts Department of Agriculture Resources’ Urban Agriculture Program (MDAR).
As part of Climate Week in Massachusetts, the Baker-Polito Administration announced over $2.9 million in grants distributed by the MDAR to help local farms across the Commonwealth implement climate change mitigation strategies and solutions. The awards will support 84 farms, municipalities, and other organizations through five different MDAR grant programs, including the Climate Smart Agriculture Program (CSAP), theStewardship Assistance and Restoration Program (SARA), the Agricultural Compost Improvement Program (ACIP), the Urban Agriculture Program, and the Buy Local Grant Program. Charlestown Sprouts received $15,000 for funding for material costs to build eight more gardening plots. Materials include loam and compost and 240 linear feet of material for the raised planting beds. Gerald Robbins,President of Charlestown Sprouts said,”Charlestown Sprouts Community Garden is so pleased to be awarded a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture’s Urban Agriculture Program for material costs to build eight additional plots at the garden. We underwent a very successful re-build in the spring of 2021 and because of this we have an additional 20 people on our wait list. We are excited to get these new families into our garden to grow food and build a stronger and more resilient community.”
“Mitigating the impacts of climate change requires a holistic approach, which includes ensuring farms are able to implement innovative and resilient strategies to operate and avoid disruptions to Massachusetts food distribution channels,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “As we address the impacts of climate change, this funding will help to protect Massachusetts farms from some of the unpredictability that extreme weather and storms can bring.”
“Fostering strong partnerships with farms and other organizations continues to be a focus of our Administration, and we are excited to see the practices being adopted through these projects that will help meet the state’s climate goals,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “These grant programs for the Massachusetts agricultural sector serves as another example of our efforts in addressing greenhouse gas emissions and making farming operations sustainable for the future.”
The $2.9 million in funding will go towards addressing several climate change projects, such as:
• Agricultural environmental enhancement;
• Agricultural energy efficiencies;
• Farmland preservation;
• Improvements to soil health;
• Urban livestock management;
• Urban farm enhancements;
• Carbon sequestration;
• The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; and,
• The reduction of food miles through purchasing locally grown produce.
“Building a robust food system in Massachusetts requires smart investments to help our local farms and agricultural sector become more resilient to the impacts of climate change,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “These grants will advance sustainable practices and help our family farms access new local markets, steward their land and natural resources, and prepare for the future.”
“The Baker-Polito Administration is excited to continue funding projects through these agricultural programs to help address farmers’ needs for the future as they continue to address a changing climate.” said Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux. “The goal of the grant programs we are able to provide funding through is to position farmers with opportunities to better manage their operations during a time of increased climate variability.”
During this year’s Climate Week in Massachusetts, the Baker-Polito Administration is highlighting its commitment to reducing emissions, mitigating the impacts of climate change, and building a more resilient Commonwealth. Throughout Climate Week, the Administration is holding events to spotlight important initiatives including offshore wind, land protection and conservation, the Greening the Gateway Cities program, and the expansion of clean energy in the Commonwealth. The Administration is also highlighting the urgent demand for funding to support climate resiliency in Massachusetts, and Governor Baker’s plan to immediately put to use part of Commonwealth’s direct federal aid from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to support critical priorities in cities and towns. The Administration’s plan would commit $900 million to key energy and environmental initiatives, including $700 million to support water infrastructure upgrades and climate resiliency, and $100 million to invest in port infrastructure to support the offshore wind industry.