Eastie Farm Awarded $1 Million National Science Foundation Grant

East Boston non-profit receives funding for Youth Climate Corps Program

East Boston, September 22, 2023

We have all heard about a Just Transition to a more equitable and sustainable economy. We at Eastie Farm are asking Why not start that transition right here and right now, in our own community?

So we are:

Eastie Farm (EF), a dynamic grassroots organization dedicated to food and climate justice in East Boston, proudly announces its selection as one of 19 teams nationwide to receive a prestigious $1M Civic Innovation Challenge (CIVIC) grant from the National Science Foundation.

We thank our local NPR station for their article about this grant.

 Eastie Farm Climate Corps youth cleaning freshly-harvested garlic from “Our Garden” for the EF Produce for the People Program

The Civic Innovation Challenge (CIVIC) grant is a national research and action competition focused on rapidly transitioning emerging technologies and concepts into local community solutions to address long-standing challenges. In partnership with the US Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Agriculture, NSF has granted Eastie Farm this substantial grant to advance its youth environmental stewardship and green job program.

In kick-starting a youth-centered green economy, our partners include:

This coalition of non-profit, academia, &  government entities brings to life a vision building on Eastie Farm’s Climate Corps program. The pilot includes 3 main components for the youth’s work:

  1. bioscience research for coastal resilience 
  2. social science research for eco-social benefits and green job accessibility
  3. implementation of community-based climate solutions as an experimental space for the youth to conduct the research while also developing the community. 

Participating youth will embark on a journey of scientific and social discovery, receiving mentorship and training from a team of seasoned scientists, engineers, and community organizers. The overarching objectives of this pilot program include:

  • Research of green infrastructure solutions for coastal resilience
  • Identification of barriers to green jobs, especially in EJ/CJ communities
  • Increasing adoption of existing, ecologically and socially beneficial programs
  • Empowering youth to catalyze change within their communities
  • Providing economic opportunity to youth in an Environmental Justice community 

Eastie Farm Climate Corps youth building marsh grass mats for coastal resilience in East Boston, with our partner Emerald Tutu  

Eastie Farm Climate Corps youth with City Councilor Gabriela Coletta on CSA produce bag pick-up day

Youth will learn research methods, acquire green job skills, and be compensated for their time in the program.

Eastie Farm, in partnership with its community and academic allies, envisions this CIVIC pilot as a beacon of 21st-century resilience—an inspiring model for communities like East Boston. These youth will gain access to a pathway into the green workforce, unlocking economic and social equity through green job opportunities and directly enhancing the well-being of their own community. Read this article in the Boston Globe to learn more about the importance of tackling poverty and climate issues as the interconnected challenges they are, while centering and empowering the most affected: youth. 

About Eastie Farm 

Eastie Farm was born in 2015 when a group of neighbors joined hands to fix up a long-abandoned lot in East Boston, reclaiming it as a place to gather and grow food. They now operate 7 growing spaces, including the first zero-emission geothermal greenhouse in the region. Their mission is to pursue climate justice, food security, and community resilience through urban agriculture, education, and the building of an equitable local food system. Empowering youth lies at the heart of this work.

If you are interested in learning more about this project so you can tailor it to your community, if you’d like to help us sustain this work beyond the pilot period, or if you’re simply curious about it, please email civic-pilot@eastiefarm.com.

We carry a heavy history on our backs of past generations mistreating Earth, and now more than ever that history follows us. It has repercussions in our daily life that will only continue to grow if we do not act now. Eastie Farm and all the programs it has to offer like Youth Climate Corps are there to take the initiative and create real change starting now.  

~ Katherin, Youth Climate Corps 2022-2023

Leave a Reply