MPHA is pleased to present a Community Leadership Award to Mill City Grows. Founded in 2011 by co-founder Francey Slater and Lydia Sisson, this nonprofit organization focuses on the City of Lowell, MA, to “foster food justice by improving physical health, economic independence and environmental sustainability through increased access to land, locally-grown food and education.” To do this, Mill City Grows focuses on building community and strengthening local leaders as well as teaching Lowell residents to grow fresh food. A few of their core projects include:
- Urban farms where staff and volunteers grow thousands of pounds of food distributed in Lowell neighborhoods with a Mobile Market
- Community gardens for residents to grow their own food
- Educational Programs to train Lowell residents to be urban gardeners as well as a specific Garden Coordinator Institute to provide the community organizing and leadership skills necessary to support a school or community garden
While Mill City Grows is dedicated to on-the-ground work in Lowell, this savvy organization also knows the value of pitching in to help make policy and systems changes that help the entire Commonwealth. Since 2013, Mill City Grows has been an active partner in the statewide, MPHA-led Act FRESH Campaign to increase access to healthier, affordable foods and to more active living. In partnership with MPHA and Act FRESH, Mill City Grows staff and volunteers have been extremely helpful advocates for the Massachusetts Food Trust. Their efforts have included testifying at the State House; sending hundreds of postcards to the Lowell delegation; helping to place a letter to the editor in the Lowell Sun; and making strategically-timed calls to their state representatives and senator when needed.
Thank you, Mill City Grows, for being a great partner and a Community Leader.
Learn more about Mill City Grows at:
– their exhibit table at MPHA’s Annual Meeting & Expo on 11/13/15