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Lynn: Community Garden finds fertile ground at NSCC

LYNN — Downtown Lynn’s community garden has a new home.

The Munroe Street community garden, displaced after work began on a luxury apartment development in that location, has relocated to North Shore Community College.

The Food Project, the organization that has farmed on Munroe Street for eight years, partnered with the college for both space for the garden and to help with NSCC’s recently opened greenhouse on the Lynn campus on Broad Street.

“There was always the expectation with the year-by-year lease that the site would get developed,” said John Wang, regional director for the Food Project. “We’re excited about the North Shore Community College partnership and how that aligns and we really want to build that up and have that be a long-term space.”

Developers Procopio Enterprises, Inc. officially broke ground on the mixed-use development on Munroe Street last week. The building will include 259 market-rate apartments and 20,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space.

The growing season is over, so don’t expect to see a shovel in the ground anytime soon, according to Wang. The cost to operate is unclear, but it would be several hundred dollars for materials and labor, he said.

The school received funding from a 2018 Massachusetts Skills Capital Grant for the purchase and installation of a sustainable greenhouse and related classroom equipment in Lynn to support the college’s Horticulture, Culinary Arts, and Health and Science programs and provide additional capacity to meet workforce needs, according to the school.

The greenhouse, which opened several weeks ago, will provide community benefits by facilitating a partnership between the college and The Food Project. It will allow the organization to extend its youth programs, sustainable agriculture programs, and “farm to table” reach in the Lynn community, according to the school.

Dean of Career and Technical Education and Business Diversity for NSCC Eric Frauwirth said the college worked with The Food Project for the past several years through its horticulture program. Students also do community service with the organization.

“They’re going to be providing the service and labor,” Frauwirth said. “They will be making sure plants in the greenhouse are taken care of. It’s definitely mutually beneficial.”

Frauwirth said NSCC is looking for this to be a long-term partnership and is in the process of developing a memorandum of understanding with the organization. The symbiotic relationship gives the college students the opportunity to do community service learning and provides a pipeline for Food Project service volunteers at the high school level to then become North Shore students.

“We’re just really excited about the opportunity,” said Frauwirth. “The Food Project has such a strong foothold in the community and the food sustainability piece they’re working on is so near and dear to our heart, so it was a natural fit to bring them together.”

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