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City, Green City Growers Will Train 15 Residents in Urban Agriculture

The Urban Agriculture Ambassador Program is designed to help spread knowledge about gardening and growing food in Somerville.

Fifteen Somervillians with green thumbs could become urban agriculture experts as members of the Urban Agriculture Ambassador Program.

The city and Green City Growers are offering a four-week course, free of charge, to 15 residents who want to learn more about growing food in Somerville.

In return, these highly trained individuals will be asked to volunteer 30 hours over the course of the year with local organizations to help other people learn how to garden and grow food.

More details from the city are below, but here are some key points:

Also, here's more about urban agricultrue in Somerville:

  • Somerville Aldermen Could Vote on Urban Agriculture Ordinance Thursday
  • Your Thoughts: City to Promote Urban Agriculture

Here are more details about the Urban Agriculture Ambassador Program:

CITY’S URBAN AGRICULTURE INITIATIVE EXPANDS WITH NEW AMBASSADOR PROGRAM

Somerville to Partner with Local Business, Promote Resident Garden Training

Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Green City Growers announced this week the launch of the Urban Agriculture Ambassador Program as part of the City’s larger Urban Agriculture Initiative. The Ambassador program, a training course to be offered from March 16th through April 6th over four consecutive Saturdays, will be offered to 15 residents, selected by the City and Green City Growers based upon their interest in urban agriculture and desire to enhance the community. Courses will be free of charge.  The Ambassador Program continues an educational series that began last spring, entitled “Let’s Grow Somerville.”  All residents with a passion to bring gardening and growing to their community are encouraged to apply.  Training courses will include information about garden installation, crop planting and winter growing.

Graduates of the program will be asked to apply their skills to the community and volunteer 30 hours over the course of the year partnering with other local organizations or working to foster gardens in the city.

The announcement follows a milestone year in the City’s promotion of urban agriculture, including the passage of the Urban Agriculture Ordinance and accompanying Board of Health Rules. This landmark ordinance, the first of its kind in the Commonwealth, included the legalization of chicken and beekeeping as well as permitting local gardeners to sell their own produce.   The regulations can be found in an easy to understand guide called “Somerville’s ABC’s of Urban Ag” found on the City’s website, www.somervillema.gov.

Mayor Joseph Curtatone said that he hopes that this collaboration will continue to foster an urban agriculture community in Somerville. "Urban agriculture allows residents to take control of where their food comes from, creating healthy options for the community. This program is a great way for residents of Somerville to learn both how to grow food for their family as well as to connect with their neighborhoods. In the interest of encouraging healthy practices across the city, we need leaders to help facilitate urban agriculture activities both for civic engagement and nutrition education,” he said.

The Ambassador Program marks a second effort undertaken between the City and urban agriculture stakeholders, with still more on the way.  Last year, City staff and local non-profit Groundwork Somerville partnered to open Somerville’s first urban farm, the South Street Farm at 111 South Street.

Other events in the “Let’s Grow Somerville” Series include the Community Growing Center’s Seed Swap on February 2nd at the Armory and events held as part of Groundwork Somerville’s Maple Syrup Project. For more information on the Let’s Grow events and the Urban Ag Ordinance, see:

http://www.somervillema.gov/departments/ospcd/parks-and-open-space/urban-agriculture-initiaitive.  For more information on the City’s Urban Agriculture Initiative, please contact Senior Planner Luisa Oliveira at LOliveira@somervillema.gov, or 617-625-6600 ext. 2500.

To apply for the Ambassador program, please contact Adrianne Schaefer, Urban Agriculture Assistant, at urbanagambassadors@gmail.com, or ASchaefer@somervillema.gov to request an application. Applications are due Feb. 15th.  Local organizations who are interested in hosting volunteers through this program should also use the e-mail address listed above for more information.

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