Urban Farming Institute receives grant from Boston Foundation

Urban Farming Institute receives grant from Boston Foundation

For Immediate Release

  • July 2, 2020
  • Contact: Patricia Spence, President/CEO, Urban Farming Institute
  • 617.680.5378 pspence.ufi@gmail.com

Mattapan —The Urban Farming Institute is pleased to announce that the Boston Foundation’s Open Door Grants program has awarded a $30,000 grant for UFI’s Fit Around the Farm program. 

Fit Around the Farm offers gentle aerobics, chair yoga, and cooking lessons for seniors.  Residents of three Boston neighborhoods ranging in age from 63 to 93 have been learning ways to incorporate more fresh vegetables into their diets and to add exercise to their daily routines. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sessions are now being conducted virtually. 

“UFI started Fit Around the Farm as a pilot program in April 2018 and by the sixth week we realized our seniors were never leaving us. Our elders were moving, making new friends, volunteering at the farm and in general having a great time,” said UFI President/CEO Patricia Spence. The program has been proven to reduce isolation, improve eating habits, and promote wellness for the 25-30 elders who participate weekly. 

“At a time when COVID-19 has placed the health and isolation of older residents into sharp focus, Fit Around the Farm is addressing both of these critical issues, building connections and improving the wellbeing of its participants,” said Orlando Watkins, Vice President for Programs at The Boston Foundation. “We are pleased to have Urban Farming Institute as an Open Door Grant partner.”

UFI was founded in 2011 to convert neglected city lots in into productive farm sites. Its six farms grew over 19,000 pounds of food in 2019. UFI is dedicated to improving the health, economy, and resilience of Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury.

In addition to growing and distributing produce, UFI offers an Urban Farmer Training Program and numerous workshops teaching people how to grow their own food in the city. More information about UFI can be found on its website:  www.urbanfarminginstitute.org.

Open Door Grants are competitive, one-year grants designed for organizations whose proposal is focused on Greater Boston and whose values align with those of the Boston Foundation. Grants, awarded biannually, are selected by staff through an inclusive evaluation process. Funds for this grant come from the Boston Foundation’s Permanent Fund for Boston, made possible by more than a century of gifts from those who seek to support innovative solutions to the region’s most pressing problems since 1915. Learn more about the Boston Foundation at www.tbf.org