Climate Justice @ Eastie Farm

At Eastie Farm, we strive towards a livable climate in many ways, from planting fruit-trees to building geothermal greenhouses.

From education to practice, from school children to adult members of the community, from reducing our negative impacts on climate to preparing for the inevitable consequences of climate change, we engage on all fronts in tangible, practical ways, while also building community because we are stronger together no matter how climate change unfolds.

Eastie Farm’s 4-pronged approach to Climate Action:

  1. Adapt: Prepare for the inevitable: Increasing green space decreases flooding and heat
  2. Mitigate: Stop making it worse: Use clean, renewable energy instead of fossil fuels. This avoids carbon emissions
  3. Solve: Sequester carbon in the soil by practicing regenerative agriculture
  4. Immunize: Build a strong, cohesive community. Trusting relationships in the neighborhood leads to mutual aid during times of need as we are all likely to have different types and levels of need.

Eastie Farm Climate Corps: This is a earn-to-learn youth program where high school students learn to benefit the community in the hear and now by increasing access to food and food-growing spaces, while learning and spreading practices that mitigate climate change and increase community resiliency. They learn from working in living examples like Eastie Farm’s zero-emissions (geothermally heated and cooled; with 100% green electricity from Boston CCE) greenhouse.

Mitigation – stop making it worse

Climate change is due to carbon emissions. Carbon emissions result from burning fossil fuels. Even as we build a greenhouse to grow year-round for our community, we avoid the use of fossil fuels (such as propane) to heat the greenhouse. Instead, we are creating our heat from the earth: We are building a geothermally powered greenhouse at 6 Chelsea Terrace in East Boston.

We also reduce emissions by showing people how to process food waste locally (the transportation and incineration of food waste emits carbon). We teach fun methods of detecting heat leaks in homes and achieving better insulation. We encourage people to eat more locally grown food. We encourage local economy in general.

Eastie Farm’s Salvador Cartagena presenting at the Climate Smart cities conference by Trust for Public Land at the New England Aquarium

Adaptation – prepare for the real future

We are a climate change frontline community. We know flooding (from the damage already done to our climate system) is inevitable. We had some serious flooding in East Boston already (In 2018 March there was kayaking in the streets). Together with members of the community, we work on ways to deal with flooding: Our growing spaces counter urban heat island effects, providing cool respites during or increasingly hot summer days. We capture rainwater and use it to restore groundwater and to water plants. We create rain-gardens (aka “green infrastructure”: natural ways of adaptation).

Resiliency – Innovate, Immunize

We innovate by turning problems into solutions. We catch rainwater from downspouts, which causes chronic water damage to buildings and occasional flooding, and use it to water the gardens instead,

We immunize by building community. When people get to know their neighbor, at a time of a climate-induced crisis, which will likley affect people in different ways and to different extents, they’ll be able to seek help from a neighbor due to the established trust.

At $30, I am able to afford this rain barrel. It helps me avoid water damage of my house; and water the street tree instead. I also like that this was a used olive oil barrel which Eastie Farm rigged for reuse.”

Olive-oil barrels that Eastie Farm turned into rain barrels for residents to buy ($20-$30 sliding scale) to water street trees.

Throwing food waste into trash leads to significant carbon emissions due to transportation and incineration. But we can avois all that by turning it right here into organic soil.

A letter by an elementary school student

Kids want a livable climate: (Picture from our Climate Nature work, a collaboration of Eastie Farm, Piers Park Sailing Center, and Harborkeepers.)