Farming in city soil can be difficult. The remnants of lead paint, freezer coolant, and factory waste can be dangerous for plants and the humans consuming them. So when we set out to write Article 89, we had to address these concerns. We created a soil safety protocol, together with the Boston Public Health Commission. 
Farmers will be required to either place a geotextile barrier (complex material that blocks harmful soil chemicals from coming up, while letting water go down), or text and remediate existing soil as necessary. All farms will be required to follow the soil safety protocol, found here. 

Farming in city soil can be difficult. The remnants of lead paint, freezer coolant, and factory waste can be dangerous for plants and the humans consuming them. So when we set out to write Article 89, we had to address these concerns. We created a soil safety protocol, together with the Boston Public Health Commission. 

Farmers will be required to either place a geotextile barrier (complex material that blocks harmful soil chemicals from coming up, while letting water go down), or text and remediate existing soil as necessary. All farms will be required to follow the soil safety protocol, found here

Aquaponics is a little hard to explain. Basically, you put a bunch of fish in a tank, float a growing medium on top of the tank, and plant food plants (usually greens of some sort) on top. Its a little more complicated than that, but it essentially combines hydroponic and aquaculture systems, where the fish by-products are broken down by nitrogen-fixing bacteria into molecules that can be digested by the plants, as nutrients. Feed the fish, and they fertilize the plants. It’s one of the fastest growing agri-businesses. 
If you would like to start an aquaponics facility in the City of Boston, Article 89 allows it in all industrial zoning districts as well as many waterfront districts.  Otherwise, it is conditional with the exception of the East Boston and South Boston neighborhood districts. 

Aquaponics is a little hard to explain. Basically, you put a bunch of fish in a tank, float a growing medium on top of the tank, and plant food plants (usually greens of some sort) on top. Its a little more complicated than that, but it essentially combines hydroponic and aquaculture systems, where the fish by-products are broken down by nitrogen-fixing bacteria into molecules that can be digested by the plants, as nutrients. Feed the fish, and they fertilize the plants. It’s one of the fastest growing agri-businesses. 

If you would like to start an aquaponics facility in the City of Boston, Article 89 allows it in all industrial zoning districts as well as many waterfront districts.  Otherwise, it is conditional with the exception of the East Boston and South Boston neighborhood districts. 

Ever taken off from Logan? If you circle out over the city, you probably won’t notice a lot of vacant land in the urban core. You’re far more likely to see vacant white roofs (painted white to reflect light and save energy). That’s why rooftop farming has come into fashion over the last several years. But it’s hard to haul growing medium (dirt) onto the roof, plant seeds, and harvest, without blowing away. That’s where rooftop greenhouses come in. They prevent wind damage, allow for four-season growing, and are often hydroponic, and more productive than traditional ground-level, soil-based agriculture. Article 89 addresses these sorts of rooftop growing endeavors – They can be no higher than 25 feet from the roof surface, and are allowed in industrial, institutional, and large-scale commercial districts and conditional in all other districts and sub-districts. These can be made of glass, plastic, or fiberglass, and provide an efficient, all season medium to grow food. Rooftop greenhouses are new to Boston, but a number of North American cities (NYC, Montreal) have been growing on rooftops, in this way, for years. Expect to see them in Boston soon (though maybe not on top of the John Hancock Tower). 

Ever taken off from Logan? If you circle out over the city, you probably won’t notice a lot of vacant land in the urban core. You’re far more likely to see vacant white roofs (painted white to reflect light and save energy). That’s why rooftop farming has come into fashion over the last several years. But it’s hard to haul growing medium (dirt) onto the roof, plant seeds, and harvest, without blowing away. That’s where rooftop greenhouses come in. They prevent wind damage, allow for four-season growing, and are often hydroponic, and more productive than traditional ground-level, soil-based agriculture. Article 89 addresses these sorts of rooftop growing endeavors – They can be no higher than 25 feet from the roof surface, and are allowed in industrial, institutional, and large-scale commercial districts and conditional in all other districts and sub-districts. These can be made of glass, plastic, or fiberglass, and provide an efficient, all season medium to grow food. Rooftop greenhouses are new to Boston, but a number of North American cities (NYC, Montreal) have been growing on rooftops, in this way, for years. Expect to see them in Boston soon (though maybe not on top of the John Hancock Tower). 

As the ground thaws and walking outside becomes tolerable once more, we are starting to think about farming - specifically, farming on rooftops and the changes that Article 89 has brought about. 

If you want to start a rooftop farm in Boston, up to 5,000 square feet of rooftop growing space is allowed, as of right, for agricultural use in all neighborhoods. In the industrial, institutional, and large-scale commercial districts (think Newmarket, the Seaport, parts of East Boston), there is no size limit for these farms.  Otherwise, a review process called Comprehensive Farm Review (CFR) will be required to make sure the farms will make good neighbors. Check out Higher Ground Farm to learn about Boston’s first rooftop farm and to get a better idea of what rooftop farming looks like!

As the ground thaws and walking outside becomes tolerable once more, we are starting to think about farming - specifically, farming on rooftops and the changes that Article 89 has brought about. 

If you want to start a rooftop farm in Boston, up to 5,000 square feet of rooftop growing space is allowed, as of right, for agricultural use in all neighborhoods. In the industrial, institutional, and large-scale commercial districts (think Newmarket, the Seaport, parts of East Boston), there is no size limit for these farms.  Otherwise, a review process called Comprehensive Farm Review (CFR) will be required to make sure the farms will make good neighbors. Check out Higher Ground Farm to learn about Boston’s first rooftop farm and to get a better idea of what rooftop farming looks like!

So urban farms, up to 1-acre, are now allowed across the city - in all zoning districts. We think that’s great. But what about the farms that will abut houses? What would you do if you woke up and corn stalks were growing just outside your window? 
Luckily, the BRA thought of that before we passed Article 89. They created something called Comprehensive Farm Review (CFR), which is a staff level review conducted by the BRA to make sure farms are designed to be good neighbors. 
CFR will be required for:
      Ground-level farms larger than 10,000 sf.
      Roof-level farms larger than 5,000 sf, with some exceptions for farms in industrial and institutional districts.
CFR Will take no longer than 45 days, and all abutters will be notified for comment! 

So urban farms, up to 1-acre, are now allowed across the city - in all zoning districts. We think that’s great. But what about the farms that will abut houses? What would you do if you woke up and corn stalks were growing just outside your window? 

Luckily, the BRA thought of that before we passed Article 89. They created something called Comprehensive Farm Review (CFR), which is a staff level review conducted by the BRA to make sure farms are designed to be good neighbors. 

CFR will be required for:

      Ground-level farms larger than 10,000 sf.

      Roof-level farms larger than 5,000 sf, with some exceptions for farms in industrial and institutional districts.

CFR Will take no longer than 45 days, and all abutters will be notified for comment! 

Three years ago, Jason Sweeney, franchise owner of Ben & Jerry’s in Boston, was moved by a speech about food access and hunger given by Mayor Menino - “This bank, the Greater Boston Food Bank, is one bank that is too important to fail.” Shortly thereafter, Jason toured the Greater Boston Food Bank and experienced the epiphany that led him to focus on addressing hunger in Boston in as many ways as possible.
Jason has worked extensively over the past four years to help make bostonCANshare the campaign that it is today. He is an active member of the CAN Share planning committee, and provides insight on how to connect and engage new Bostonians. For a tasty example, if you bring a canned good to a Ben & Jerry’s shop, you’ll receive one free scoop of ice cream! Jason and Ben & Jerry’s also threw ice cream parties for the first five companies to raise $500 or 500 lbs of food.

In addition to CAN Share, Jason and Ben & Jerry’s focus their efforts on using fair trade ingredients to make their ice cream. Fair trade simply means that the farmers who they buy milk, cream, cocoa, sugar, etc. from are receiving a fair price for their product, and are not being exploited. Working alongside Fair Trade Boston, he spreads awareness about the importance of fair trade to consumers. With his extensive efforts around hunger and fair trade, we are proud to feature Jason as this week’s Hunger Hero!

Three years ago, Jason Sweeney, franchise owner of Ben & Jerry’s in Boston, was moved by a speech about food access and hunger given by Mayor Menino - “This bank, the Greater Boston Food Bank, is one bank that is too important to fail.” Shortly thereafter, Jason toured the Greater Boston Food Bank and experienced the epiphany that led him to focus on addressing hunger in Boston in as many ways as possible.

Jason has worked extensively over the past four years to help make bostonCANshare the campaign that it is today. He is an active member of the CAN Share planning committee, and provides insight on how to connect and engage new Bostonians. For a tasty example, if you bring a canned good to a Ben & Jerry’s shop, you’ll receive one free scoop of ice cream! Jason and Ben & Jerry’s also threw ice cream parties for the first five companies to raise $500 or 500 lbs of food.

In addition to CAN Share, Jason and Ben & Jerry’s focus their efforts on using fair trade ingredients to make their ice cream. Fair trade simply means that the farmers who they buy milk, cream, cocoa, sugar, etc. from are receiving a fair price for their product, and are not being exploited. Working alongside Fair Trade Boston, he spreads awareness about the importance of fair trade to consumers. With his extensive efforts around hunger and fair trade, we are proud to feature Jason as this week’s Hunger Hero!

Tags: Hungerhero

Jody Adams, founder and chef of Rialto in Harvard Square, is as passionate about addressing hunger as she is about fine dining. Food has always been central to her life, though it wasn’t until she spent time traveling in Morocco, Guatemala, and Europe that she became invested in local food sourcing, and became interested in hunger.

Adams is involved with many different hunger organizations - from Share Our Strength, to Partners in Health, to the Greater Boston Food Bank. Jody often supports these organizations through fundraisers focused on food. Her favorite event is called the Hunger Brunch, which raises money for the Greater Boston Food Bank. The brunch serves 200 individuals, with all proceeds going directly to the food insecure population of eastern Massachusetts.

Jody has also worked with Louisa Kasdon and a group of more than 70 folks throughout Boston who are trying to fund a shared commissary kitchen for Boston Public Schools so that Boston’s youth can eat locally and engage in cooking and nutrition education.


Adams’ restaurants, Trade and Rialto, change their menus monthly to reflect what is seasonally and locally available. They are two of the Boston area’s finest. 

Jody Adams, founder and chef of Rialto in Harvard Square, is as passionate about addressing hunger as she is about fine dining. Food has always been central to her life, though it wasn’t until she spent time traveling in Morocco, Guatemala, and Europe that she became invested in local food sourcing, and became interested in hunger.

Adams is involved with many different hunger organizations - from Share Our Strength, to Partners in Health, to the Greater Boston Food Bank. Jody often supports these organizations through fundraisers focused on food. Her favorite event is called the Hunger Brunch, which raises money for the Greater Boston Food Bank. The brunch serves 200 individuals, with all proceeds going directly to the food insecure population of eastern Massachusetts.

Jody has also worked with Louisa Kasdon and a group of more than 70 folks throughout Boston who are trying to fund a shared commissary kitchen for Boston Public Schools so that Boston’s youth can eat locally and engage in cooking and nutrition education.

Adams’ restaurants, Trade and Rialto, change their menus monthly to reflect what is seasonally and locally available. They are two of the Boston area’s finest. 

The Office of Food Initiatives’ #bostonCANShare Coordinator, Emily Finn is today’s hunger hero.  She joined the OFI team a few months ago, and has already nearly doubled last year’s fundraising, while collecting more cans than ever before.
Emily developed a passion for hunger and food issues while she was an undergrad at Brown.  After meeting Bill McKibben, her interest in locally sourced food sparked, and she began working with her school’s dining services to create a local produce training manual for its employees.  She went on to get her MPH from BU, and combined her passions for public health and food access to work on a double value SNAP coupon program at Market Umbrella in New Orleans.

Now back in Boston, Emily is excited to be working in a city that offers so much support for its food insecure constituents.  She sees the potential for the CAN Share campaign to make a tangible difference in Boston, which has already earned over $25,000 this year.  

The Office of Food Initiatives’ #bostonCANShare Coordinator, Emily Finn is today’s hunger hero.  She joined the OFI team a few months ago, and has already nearly doubled last year’s fundraising, while collecting more cans than ever before.

Emily developed a passion for hunger and food issues while she was an undergrad at Brown.  After meeting Bill McKibben, her interest in locally sourced food sparked, and she began working with her school’s dining services to create a local produce training manual for its employees.  She went on to get her MPH from BU, and combined her passions for public health and food access to work on a double value SNAP coupon program at Market Umbrella in New Orleans.

Now back in Boston, Emily is excited to be working in a city that offers so much support for its food insecure constituents.  She sees the potential for the CAN Share campaign to make a tangible difference in Boston, which has already earned over $25,000 this year.  

You wouldn’t think that Louisa Kasdon, founder of the Let’s Talk About Food series in Boston, grew up in the “only Jewish family not fixated on food.”  Louisa developed her interest in food during college, while working in the restaurant business.  She eventually gave up her day job in PR to cook and run restaurants, learning from teachers like Julia Childs.  
Once her restaurant closed, she switched her focus from making food to writing about it.  Her experience includes a stint as food editor of the Phoenix, a run as food columnist in national and regional newspapers, and the launching of two national travel magazines, among others.  As she became more connected with the food world in Boston, she realized the plethora of organizations addressing food access, hunger, and food justice, and that there was not one cohesive organization tying them together. Louisa took it upon herself to start Let’s Talk About Food, an organization dedicated to bringing together organizations, initiatives, and conversations around food in Boston.
Since starting Let’s talk About Food, Louisa has initiated a number of events including bi-monthly meetings at the Museum of Science to discuss food related issues, and Let’s Talk About Food Day which brings together organizations from across Massachusetts for one day in the fall. With an emphasis on regional cooking with fresh ingredients, Louisa Kasdon is working to provide Bostonians with tasty, healthy, affordable food. 

You wouldn’t think that Louisa Kasdon, founder of the Let’s Talk About Food series in Boston, grew up in the “only Jewish family not fixated on food.”  Louisa developed her interest in food during college, while working in the restaurant business.  She eventually gave up her day job in PR to cook and run restaurants, learning from teachers like Julia Childs.  

Once her restaurant closed, she switched her focus from making food to writing about it.  Her experience includes a stint as food editor of the Phoenix, a run as food columnist in national and regional newspapers, and the launching of two national travel magazines, among others.  As she became more connected with the food world in Boston, she realized the plethora of organizations addressing food access, hunger, and food justice, and that there was not one cohesive organization tying them together. Louisa took it upon herself to start Let’s Talk About Food, an organization dedicated to bringing together organizations, initiatives, and conversations around food in Boston.

Since starting Let’s talk About Food, Louisa has initiated a number of events including bi-monthly meetings at the Museum of Science to discuss food related issues, and Let’s Talk About Food Day which brings together organizations from across Massachusetts for one day in the fall. With an emphasis on regional cooking with fresh ingredients, Louisa Kasdon is working to provide Bostonians with tasty, healthy, affordable food. 

Tags: HungerHero

Farming is unpredictable. Sometimes you grow less food than you expected, and sometimes you grow more. As a farmer, what do you do when you can’t harvest everything that has been planted? That’s where Boston Area Gleaners comes in! The mission of Boston Area Gleaners, a non-profit organization based out of Waltham, MA,  is to provide people in need with agricultural surplus that is donated by farmers in and around Boston. Surplus fruits and vegetables in farm fields often go unharvested because they were planted as bumper crops, or because the farmer either intentionally or unintentionally planted too many seeds, markets come to a close, or weather threatens to damage crops that cannot be harvested in time to save them.
Laurie “Duck” Caldwell, executive director of Boston Area Gleaners, has a background in workforce development and job training for economically vulnerable populations along with small business development for farms and produce markets. When she started volunteering for Boston Area Gleaners in 2009, she felt that it was a perfect intersection of her two former careers. Hired in January 2010, Duck now does everything from coordinating pickups and drop offs between farms, food pantries, and food distribution organizations, to organizing their over 600 gleaning volunteers. Currently Boston Area Gleaners works with 35 farms and, with the help of the distribution networks of Food For Free and The Greater Boston Food Bank, effectively distributes to over 100 pantries and meal programs.   The organization plans to glean and deliver at least 60,000 pounds – over 2,000 bushels of fresh, local fruit and vegetables – in the 2013 harvest season.

Looking into the future, Duck hopes that Boston Area Gleaners can continue to increase food accessibility throughout the Greater Boston Area by increasing its network of farms and food providers. New England has such an abundant food shed, and the potential for helping small farmers and people in need of food is huge. Not only can Boston Area Gleaners help small businesses and feed people in need, they can also help educate people about eating local, and provide communities with a greater knowledge of their food and food system.  

Farming is unpredictable. Sometimes you grow less food than you expected, and sometimes you grow more. As a farmer, what do you do when you can’t harvest everything that has been planted? That’s where Boston Area Gleaners comes in! The mission of Boston Area Gleaners, a non-profit organization based out of Waltham, MA,  is to provide people in need with agricultural surplus that is donated by farmers in and around Boston. Surplus fruits and vegetables in farm fields often go unharvested because they were planted as bumper crops, or because the farmer either intentionally or unintentionally planted too many seeds, markets come to a close, or weather threatens to damage crops that cannot be harvested in time to save them.

Laurie “Duck” Caldwell, executive director of Boston Area Gleaners, has a background in workforce development and job training for economically vulnerable populations along with small business development for farms and produce markets. When she started volunteering for Boston Area Gleaners in 2009, she felt that it was a perfect intersection of her two former careers. Hired in January 2010, Duck now does everything from coordinating pickups and drop offs between farms, food pantries, and food distribution organizations, to organizing their over 600 gleaning volunteers. Currently Boston Area Gleaners works with 35 farms and, with the help of the distribution networks of Food For Free and The Greater Boston Food Bank, effectively distributes to over 100 pantries and meal programs.   The organization plans to glean and deliver at least 60,000 pounds – over 2,000 bushels of fresh, local fruit and vegetables – in the 2013 harvest season.

Looking into the future, Duck hopes that Boston Area Gleaners can continue to increase food accessibility throughout the Greater Boston Area by increasing its network of farms and food providers. New England has such an abundant food shed, and the potential for helping small farmers and people in need of food is huge. Not only can Boston Area Gleaners help small businesses and feed people in need, they can also help educate people about eating local, and provide communities with a greater knowledge of their food and food system.