Our Community Gardens
Since 1992, Nuestras Raíces has been at the center of a growing and vibrant urban agriculture network in Holyoke, MA transforming vacant and polluted lots into flourishing and empowering community spaces. Today, Nuestras Raíces manages 9 urban community gardens (plus 4 at the Holyoke Education System, and 1 with a community partner), supporting over 100 families to produce fresh locally grown food.
GET IN TOUCH
Learn more about our community gardens by contacting us with one of the contact forms below.
Community Garden Locations
Since the decline of Holyoke’s manufacturing industry in the 1960s and 1970s, dozens of buildings have burned or been demolished, leaving behind vacant lots. Many of the urban community gardens currently managed by Nuestras Raíces were once empty lots filled with garbage, needles, and building debris. The vacant lots negatively impacted community pride, discouraged investment and development, and became hotbeds of criminal activity.
The gradual transformation of these spaces into community gardens has led to fundamental changes in the physical landscape of Holyoke that empower community members to grow their own food, beautify their neighborhoods, and create safe places to come together.
The Nuestras Raíces Community Gardens:
- Function as necessary green spaces in a heavily urban area
- Improve air quality by producing oxygen and reducing air pollution
- Build a sense of community ownership and stewardship
- Provide a place for people to grow food
- Increase food security for low-income Holyoke residents
- Raise property values in surrounding neighborhoods
- Offer opportunities for new immigrants to grow cultural crops and produce their own food
- Provide a community space for residents to meet their neighbors
- Create safer neighborhoods
Nuestras Raíces’ community gardens have greatly improved the urban environment while heightening residents’ sense of pride. The gardens serve as unique spaces of cultural and intergenerational connection, where neighbors and community members of all ethnicities and ages come together to share knowledge about gardening techniques, recipes, and nutrition. Growing their own food allows residents to have greater control over their nutritional intake and access to fresh foods, at a minimal cost.
Holyoke’s community gardens are generally located in neighborhoods without a full-service grocery store. Access to community garden plots has been shown to improve nutrition within individual families and across the broader community. Residents have learned about the importance of organic foods, while learning and sharing methods of growing organic produce. On average, our families grow over $1,000 worth of organic produce per year in their community garden plots. The community gardens currently serve 600 family members, as well as one homeless shelter and several youth groups. In 2016, community gardeners grew 13,312 pounds of produce!
Support a more equitable food system!
Donate to Nuestras Raices online to join the movement for better food access for all.