UMass Lowell's Office of Sustainability partners with Mill City Grows, a Lowell-based urban food access nonprofit, to develop a robust Urban Agriculture Program.
UMass Lowell's Office of Sustainability worked directly with Mill City Grows to secure over $150,000 in grant funding to initially support this program.
Combined with significant investment from the university, we have developed a program that fosters food justice in Lowell by improving physical health, economic independence and environmental sustainability through increased access to land, locally-grown food and education.
Effective community engagement is intrinsic to the pursuit of urban sustainability. We believe our Urban Agriculture Program with Mill City Grows is both unique and innovative. By combining the university's facilities & academic expertise with a local organization that is focused on food access and justice, we are affecting real world change and sustainability in a diverse and evolving city. Our partnership is relatable and transferable to Association of College Unions International (ACUI) members committed to similar sustainability goals in the urban setting.
This community partnership is unique in that it provides services to both the university and also to residents of the City of Lowell in an innovative and engaging setting. Community engagement focused on food access and justice is particularly important in Lowell. The majority of neighborhoods in the city are classified as low income with low food access by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Community members, students, faculty and staff all work together at each of these sites, sharing knowledge and growing friendship while growing healthy produce in the process!