Mass Audubon Receives $318,000 Grant to Build New Greenhouse at the Farm at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary
August 11, 2023
CONTACT: Michael P. O’Connor
Mass Audubon, the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England, has received a $318,000 state grant to build a new heated greenhouse for the farm at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharon. The funding will allow for year-round growing, boosting food production and helping to mitigate food insecurity in the region.
The proposed 30-foot by 72-foot greenhouse will grow both summer and winter crops that will allow for extended storage and distribution and increase food production by 10 percent (approximately 9,000 lbs of produce) in the first year alone.
Seedlings grown in the new structure will support home gardeners and aligned organizations, including the Clark Cooper Community Gardens and Boston Food Forest Coalition, both located adjacent to Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center in Mattapan.
“A report from the Greater Boston Food Bank reported nearly two million people in Massachusetts experienced food insecurity during the pandemic, with some of the highest rates occurring amongst historically under-resourced communities,” said Moose Hill Farm Manager Jill Banach. “We are very grateful for this grant because it’s an opportunity to invest in infrastructure that allows us to strengthen our community-based farming and provide food for free or at reduced cost to food-insecure communities.”
Last year, the 17-acre certified-organic vegetable farm donated more than 13,000 lbs of food that fed hundreds of local families, many of whom are facing food insecurity. Through hunger relief organizations such as Lovin' Spoonfuls, the Boston Area Gleaners, and the Sharon Food Pantry, produce from Moose Hill is distributed via Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, local farmers markets and via SNAP/HIP programs.
Money for the greenhouse comes at a crucial time with flash floods devastating large swaths of New England, including Bay State farmland. Climate-controlled growing and storage space—such as what the new structure will provide--allows for crops like tomatoes to be produced even during and in the aftermath of increasingly frequent extreme weather events.
The grant is part of a $26.3 million package supporting 165 projects throughout the Commonwealth as part of the Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program announced by Gov. Maura Healey.
Combined with its other working farm, Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln, Mass Audubon delivered approximately 46,000 lbs of fresh, healthy food to local families last year worth an estimated $240,000.
Learn more about the Food Donation Program by clicking here.
About Mass Audubon
Mass Audubon is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 160,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at massaudubon.org.