January 17, 2024 HBI sells the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm to the Urban Farming Institute
Last week, Historic Boston completed the sale of the 1786 Fowler Clark Epstein Farm in Mattapan to the Urban Farming Institute. The sale includes UFI’s donation of a preservation easement on the restored property to Historic Boston Inc.(HBI), which will protect the Boston Landmarks’ historic buildings and features in perpetuity.
“We’re so proud of the role we played in the Farm’s renewal,” said Kathy Kottaridis, HBI’s Executive Director. “But, we’re even prouder to be handing the keys to the Urban Farming Institute today, because this action underscores HBI’s mission of preserving our city’s at-risk historic buildings and transforming them into places that serve Bostonians today.
The sale of the property to UFI caps a 9-year partnership that began in 2015, when HBI purchased the vacant and distressed property from the Epstein family, and, in partnership with UFI, the Trust for Public Land and North Bennet Street School, completed a $3.8 million rehabilitation from 2016- 2018, restoring the original farmhouse and barn, and building farm beds on the surrounding land. The space now serves as the UFI’s headquarters and teaching center, complete with a greenhouse, farm stand, classrooms, and a demonstration kitchen.
“We’re thrilled to now own and control this space,” said Spence, who originally called HBI in 2015 to inquire about the possibility of it becoming UFI’s home. “This has been a 9-year Odyssey for everyone involved, and through it, we found a home for our mission of healthy food production, and created a place that is deeply meaningful to our neighborhood.”
The Urban Farming Institute of Boston was founded in 2011, with the mission to combat food inequality by providing affordable, healthy foods, and healthy programming to Boston’s neighborhoods.
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.
After 6 years operating its headquarters at the historic Fowler Clark Epstein Farm, UFI’s purchase of the farm secures their commitment to nourish Mattapan for years to come.
“We have so many people to be grateful to on this project,” said Kathy Kottaridis. “The generosity of spirit that built this farm is embodied in the work that will continue here for a very long time.”