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Green City Growers: Revitalizing City Landscapes and Inspiring Self-Sufficiency

Your farm. Anywhere.

That’s the Green City Growers (GCG) way. And when they say anywhere, they mean anywhere.

GCG converts unused commercial, municipal, educational and residential spaces into lively urban farms around eastern Massachusetts.

The goal?

To provide their clients with immediate access to nutritious food, while at the same time revitalizing city landscapes and inspiring self-sufficiency.

GCG has rooftop farms on grocery stores and at Fenway Park, as well as raised beds at Kendall Center to provide tenants with gardening education programs.

They even have a ¾-acre farm on an island in the middle of Boston Harbor, where 90 percent of the produce grown last year was donated to Camp Harbor View campers and families, Fair Foods Inc. and Fresh Truck Food Market.

How to Build a Farm Just About Anywhere

The first step in building an urban farm begins with an on-site consultation.

“We use this time to assess the physical space – including site topography and light – as well as the needs of the client,” said Jeff Gilbert, Head of Marketing. “A farm will look very different if its intention is production, for example, as compared to one with a primary goal of education.”

Gilbert added that GCG’s design team will create a proposal for installation and maintenance services and, assuming it’s a go, the project gets added to their installations queue.

Installation time depends on the size and scope of the project.

Many of their raised bed gardens can be finished in less than a day, but larger and more involved projects take longer.

GCG Hits Home Run With Fenway Farms

The oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball got some new life in 2015 with the addition of Fenway Farms, which GCG pitched the idea for after being awarded the John W. Henry Foundation prize for social impact.

The 5,000 square-foot farm is located on the roof of the Front Office on the third base side of the EMC Level of Fenway Park. More than 5,900 pounds of fresh produce are harvested each growing season for Red Sox fans dining at the park’s EMC Club restaurant.

“Fenway Farms is an incredible project for several reasons, but perhaps it is most exciting because it validates urban agriculture,” Gilbert said. “If the Boston Red Sox can have their own rooftop farm, can’t anyone?”

GCG Making Waves in Community

While Fenway Farms put GCG in the national spotlight, the company has been thriving ever since its inception in 2008.

By the end of 2009, GCG had installed over 100 raised beds, partnered with a major corporation and established itself as the urban agricultural leader for raised bed vegetable gardens at homes and businesses in New England.

To date, GCG has grown over 175,000 pounds of organic produce that is valued at over $600,000.

“We are very fortunate to be part of an incredibly supportive urban agricultural community,” Gilbert said. “Green City Growers is just one of the many groups doing important urban agriculture work in the greater Boston area. We are thrilled to be forward-thinking champions of new kinds of city infrastructure, garden education and healthy eating.”

As GCG has grown, so too has its offerings.

The company now offers ecological landscaping design and services, “thinking outside the box of raised bed gardens to create pollinator and environmentally-friendly landscapes.”

Budget Dumpster is your community-focused source for a dumpster rental in Boston. This article is part of a series spotlighting organizations that are making a difference in the communities we serve. If you know of another great organization, let us know in the comments!