Built between 1786 and 1806, the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm remains among the earliest intact, vernacular examples of an agricultural property in the Commonwealth’s cities. The original farmhouse is located on land that was once part of a large Dorchester estate encompassing over 330 acres.
Over its 200 year history, it was primarily owned by three families, beginning with Samuel Fowler, a Dorchester yeoman in the late 18th century. In the 1820s, the land was sold to the Clark family and later subdivided into parcels as advancements in transportation hastened the development of Mattapan as a streetcar suburb of Boston. However, more than half an acre of land was preserved within a densely developed residential neighborhood, and the original house and barn were sold to Jorge Epstein in 1941. The land remained in family possession until falling vacant in 2013 when Jorge’s widow Ida passed away.
Purchased by HBI in 2015, the farm will be restored as headquarters and urban farming education and training center for the Urban Farming Institute. Rehabilitation plans include land areas cultivated for local food production with a greenhouse, farm stand, classrooms, and demonstration kitchen. Construction began on the barn and farmhouse in late 2016 and was completed in July 2018. The architectural firm Perkins+Will is leading the design team on the barn and farmhouse.
Fowler Clark Epstein Farm is part of The Trust for Public Land’s Boston Urban Agriculture Partnership—a community-driven effort to create five farms in Boston that provide healthy food, generate job opportunities, and create more livable neighborhoods. The Current Tenant, the Urban Farming Institute uses the barn as headquarters for their operations, the test kitchen to educate the community, and the front of the property as green space for growing vegetables and flowers.
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