The DNI Community Greenhouse and the Dudley Real Food Hub

Sub-Description: 
A 10,000 sq ft Community Greenhouse

Increasing access to healthy food has been a part of DSNI’s community development strategy since residents planted a community garden on one of many vacant lots in 1992. 

When the Massachusetts Highway Department (MHD) was forced to settle a lawsuit by the US Environmental Protection Agency over environmental violations at MHD facilities, the settlement required MHD to undertake a supplemental environmental project.  DSNI saw this as an opportunity.  There was an abandoned auto garage at 11 Brook Avenue, which needed environmental cleanup.  Community discussions generated the idea of redeveloping the former garage site as a commercial-scale greenhouse, which would be community owned and controlled.

The necessary zoning variance was granted in 2003 and Green Environmental Company was selected to do the construction.

Today a busy community greenhouse stands on the rehabilitated Brownfields lot—a testament to the priority the community places on food. Likewise, The Food Project (TFP) and Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE) have long track records of working in our community for food and environmental justice. 

The lens of the Boston Promise Initiative has brought new focus to this work. Diet and health have a profound impact on the welfare and development of families and of young people.  In order to improve the health and educational achievement of neighborhood children and families DSNI is committed to building community resources and support systems. 

The Dudley Real Food Hub is a joint project of TFP, ACE, DSNI and is funded by the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness, with a goal of cultivating healthier food habits, a stronger food culture, and more active lifestyles for residents of Roxbury and North Dorchester. Through the coordinated efforts of the partner organizations, neighbors will have increased access to fresh, healthy, affordable food through farmers’ markets and other sources; will be able to learn to grow their own in backyard or community gardens; to learn about healthy meal-planning and cooking; and to advocate for, and develop, food and fitness resources for their neighborhood. 

Youth will play an important role, taking an inventory of community food and fitness resources, and learning to educate and organize their neighbors and friends around food and health justice and their importance for resident outcomes. 

To get involved, contact May Louie at 617.442.9670 x120 or mlouie@dsni.org.