On August 10, 2017, our Somerville Urban Agriculture Ambassador crew to venture out to Boston Harbor's Long Island for our workday. This 225 acre island is best remembered as the setting for DiCaprio's Shutter Island. Local Native American tribes used it as a farm when the English settlers first arrived in the 1600s. It was once home to a mental institution, a military fort, a hotel and resort, a refuge base for ex-Nazi scientists, a home for unwed mothers, and an addiction rehab center. It was also Boston's largest homeless shelter up till 2014, housing more than 700 folks.
Among the litter of abandoned eerieness is 1 acre of heaven. Hannah Farm -- managed by B.good restaurant, maintained by Green City Growers and volunteers, it produced 9500 lbs of food last year, 75% of which is donated to the working teenagers and other low-income families in the area, with the other 25% going to local B.good restaurants.
What does it mean to nourish the mind and soul of a place? How can a place co-evolve to support the life and health of natural systems and the economy? Hannah Farm demonstrated a partnership between for-profit business, healthy food access and community building. I couldn't help but ponder - what if all businesses carry the intention to heal and strengthen the health of people and place? How will our economy transform?