Suffolk County

Community farming hitting new heights in one of Boston’s densest neighborhoods

BOSTON — Growing fruits and vegetables requires good soil, plenty of water, and sunshine.

What isn’t necessary is acres and acres of land.

That’s what Eastie Farm is proving in East Boston as residents there transform abandoned lots into thriving gardens.

Areas that were once filled with trash and contaminated dirt are now home to huckleberry bushes, flowers, and small fruit trees.

All of this is happening in one of Boston’s most densely populated neighborhoods.

“We now operate seven spaces all together in East Boston,” explained Kannan Thiruvengadam, a former hi-tech executive who founded Eastie Farm in 2015.

The farm started with one abandoned city lot at 294 Sumner Street .

“Most people are not able to afford good food, and the cheap food that they can afford is not healthy for them,” said Thiruvengadam.

Eastie Farm is a nonprofit that enables the community to grow food for the community while helping the residents connect with the outdoors.

“Eat local, eat fresh, eat seasonal,” said Thiruvengadam. “When you do all that, you are part of what nature gives you and you’re taking your place in nature.”

East Boston resident Kafayat Oyobola loves coming to the farm. “Not everybody can afford fresh produce nowadays so this is awesome,” she said.

“It’s awesome it’s so close. It’s so convenient. It’s close to public transportation.”

Eastie Farm supplements what they grow with produce from local farms.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, they delivered 5,000 meals a week.

The ability to grow their own produce is about to take off as a they’re putting finishing touches on a state-of-the-art 1,500 square foot greenhouse which will make year-round operations possible.

“We’ll be producing all kinds of vegetables and fruits and flowers and all kinds of plants,” said architect Gabe Cira. “Even small trees that might be distributed around the community.”

Eastie Farm is also working with the neighborhood’s schools to help local students get an appreciation of where food comes from, and why it’s important to eat fresh fruits and vegetables.

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