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PROPOSAL: Community Mural on Somerville’s First Urban Farm

Saturday, May 4, 2013 | Posted by Alex

Kristin DelViscio — winner, $950

Describe your project.
Somerville’s first urban farm is South Street Farm, built in April 2012 by a team of teenagers working to, in their words, “Create Life!” The farm sits on a previously abandoned parking lot on the edge of the city, amid brownfields and junkyards. Every harvest is sold at the Mystic Mobile Market in low income neighborhoods and donated to local food pantries. Building this farm has created positive momentum within the Somerville community for growing local organic food. South Street Farm is nestled on land near a future Green Line extension stop. At the moment, the space is bordered by a 9-foot corrugated fence, which, in a post-industrial kind of way, is an interesting feature. In order to solidify this as a community space which accommodates people of all socioeconomic brackets, we are painting a mural to reflect important elements of this community in addition to improving the aesthetic quality of the farm. We’re not just going to slap on any mural though, we’re painting a data mural! The mural we want to paint will visually represent both food deserts and solutions regarding hunger within Somerville. The purpose of a data mural is not just to beautify the farm but also to display useful information and resources around support for hunger relief in Somerville.

How will you use the grant?
The grant will be used to hire a local artist, the wonderful Emily Bhargava, who will lead a community data mural workshop to create an appropriate visual out of the quantitative data on hunger in Somerville. Emily’s extensive experience painting data murals in South America and the U.S. will ensure the visual will be created by the community and the mural itself will be engaging for all viewers. Funds will also go towards paint and materials for volunteers to prep and prime the fence.

Why and to whom is your project important?
Somerville is the most densely populated city in New England, with 77% of its area paved. Among the slew of health equity concerns are access to fresh produce and a lack of green spaces in the city. South Street Farm not only empowers underserved teenagers with leadership trainings and practical skills with which to carry on the sustainability movement, but also serves as a respite for all citizens of Somerville from the relentless concrete of the several highways and bus lines running through the city. Furthermore, South Street Farm’s harvests supply the Mystic Mobile Market with fresh, affordable, local produce. Low income residents are customers of this market who do not have ready access to fresh food and would greatly benefit from access to resources regarding hunger solutions in Somerville. Adding a mural to this farm will enhance the community aspect of the farm itself.

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