Grant supports urban farming initiative in Holyoke

Hampden County

SAN FRANCISCO – APRIL 28: Heads of romaine lettuce fill a produce case at the Fruit Barn produce store in San Francisco. Laboratory studies commissioned by the Environmental Working Group in Oakland found the chemical perchlorate, a hormone disrupter, in four of 22 samples of lettuce traced to growers in Southern California or Arizona. A […]

State and local officials are teaming up with a community group to help create a new city farming program in western Massachusetts.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration says the state will invest $200,000 in two Holyoke container farms that will be managed by Nuestras Raices, an organization that supports urban agriculture.

The farms will be located next to the recently-opened Culinary Arts Institute at Holyoke Community College. Officials say interns from the college and apprentices nearby neighborhoods will be taught hydroponic food production and grow leafy greens — such as lettuce and spinach — that will be sold to the college and local restaurants.

The farms are part of a new “transformative development” district in the city.

The state is also spending $1.6 million to help make the district safer for pedestrians.

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