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Large Mattapan development to get a soccer field instead of a farm

Soccer field proposal

Rough soccer-field proposal. Morton Street at the top.

The Boston Zoning Commission today approved a plan by the developers of the Olmsted Green development to swap in a soccer field and tot lot for the four-acre urban farm that was part of the original plans but never built.

Eric VanDusen, senior vice president of the Boston Fund, said that over the years, there had not been much interest in turning the land into a farm and that there are nearby alternatives, including a community garden on American Legion Highway. In contrast, both residents of the Olmsted Green development and more recently the Brooke Charter High School have expressed strong interest in having active recreation on the site.

The Boston Fund and the Lena Park Community Development Corp. have spent the past 15 years turning the former 38-acre grounds of Boston State Hospital on both sides of Morton Street into a development that is now nearing completion of 497 housing units, split between affordable and market-rate units and apartments and condos.

Once completed, the new park would be under the control of Lena Park and the Brooke School.

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Comments

Not something that could happen at a hearing held at City Hall: One proponent (already can't remember if it was this project or an earlier one) had to pause briefly because the grandfather clock in his house was bonging.

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I'm sorry to see that they didn't have a community garden in these new plans even if there is a community garden close by.

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Goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll. Magoo luvs Univision. Magoo.

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Your shtick is tired and old and stale.

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Your a mean meanie. But Magoo forgives you. Magoo.

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So no more horses then.

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Happy to see a new project for kids and families in that area. A long time ago Charles Yancy proposed a high school with a swimming pool in the area. Hopefully the project has the support of local residents and will bring the school and community together.

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Anyone who doesn't live in an urban food desert enjoys a magic act: food is always available, 24-7. Grocery stores, 7-11 type stores and late night eateries (granted, they are very limited in Boston).

The pandemic that was inevitable now shows the food supply to be just as susceptible to disruption as any supply. Meat processing industry being example # 1.

Cities and other localities may need to shift from cities where people are jammed together, where developers continuously enrich themselves by converting more land to non-food use to cities that are more self-sustaining.

Self-sustaining starts with food. A city that can feed itself - at least where vegetables and fruit is concerned, will be far stronger than areas that can not. Even in winter climates such as Boston, we can be self-sustainable by planning on food that will last through winter via canning, pickling or root cellars.

At least creating soccer field out of potential farm land is more easily converted to food growth than putting the land into a coma with asphalt.

As for exercise provided by a soccer field maintaining farm land, growing and creating food provides all that a soccer field can provide for learning team work and exercise, but far more than what a ball game provides.

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Boston should be self-sustaining? Please. If you're going to wave around absurdist ideas about sustainability then the ultimate suggestion is that Boston should be abandoned and we should all relocate somewhere south where excessive winter heating isn't needed. That will have far impact than an urban 'farm'. A city almost by definition is a concentration of people that requires the support of at least the region around the city.

"A city that can feed itself - at least where vegetables and fruit is concerned, will be far stronger than areas that can not."

Are we going to be besieged by Montreal or something?

Massachusetts has lots of good farmland in the region which can support the city, allowing the city to house people in density and all the environmental benefits that come from that. I'd argue that available recreation space for the hundreds of thousands of residents is far, far more important to their over health than if some lettuce was driven 40 miles from its harvest point.

I am curious though - should we also generate all our power here? Reopen the power plant in Southie maybe? What about paper - should we start a paper mill for all the carboard needed to deliver takeout food? That might require a forest though, hmm... What about bikes? Do we need to start a small aluminum smelter to create the parts to make bikes in the city?

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Totally agree. The best way to be sustainable is to build up our urban areas so that rural areas outside the city can be either protected or used for agriculture. Boston doesn't have to be self-sustaining, but Massachusetts can be to a large degree.

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Support your local farmer, or watch the houses grow!

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so that rural areas outside the city can be either protected or used for agriculture

Except you won't do it. You weren't doing it before the pandemic and you're not doing it now.

Always the passive voice: "be protected", "be used for agriculture". Never "I am doing". Never "Here's what I am doing to make this possible". Always the mystical thinking that fruits and vegetables just sort of appear to support people in urban areas living how they want to live, never the realistic thinking that they're grown by human beings.

You want to promote your model? Get on the stick to reform food delivery systems, support agriculture (not agribusiness) with public money, provide a radical upgrade to neglected rural infrastructure. Can't get without giving.

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Huh?!

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It's a pretty simple question. How do you propose to "protect or use for agriculture" rural areas (where, let's not forget, human beings also live)?

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Zoning.

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Try harder. This was your proposal, so show me how you make it work.

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Zone certain areas outside the city as conservation land or agricultural use only.

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Please explain how magic happens after you enact your zoning. Show your work.

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I honestly have no idea what you're talking about.

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You've come up with vague statements about zoning and population concentration, as if that's going to do the trick. It's nothing more than a vague idea that doesn't even qualify as a theory. If you want to advocate for this approach, don't you think you should take it a little further and think this through? You get your magic zoning that crosses town lines, ok. And...farms magically appear? Food is magically grown? People say "oh hey, zoning, the ONE THING that was keeping me from becoming a farmer"?

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Your original comment said this:
"Cities and other localities may need to shift from cities where people are jammed together, where developers continuously enrich themselves by converting more land to non-food use to cities that are more self-sustaining."

This is what I was responding to. I agree that we should be more self sufficient when it comes to the food supply, but the way to do that is not to make cities less dense and put farms in them. The solution is to keep cities dense and focus population growth there, so that areas directly outside the city can be used for farmland. (The alternative is sprawl, where the areas outside the city contain low density housing and occupy land that could otherwise be used for farming. With this model, we must get our food from other states or other countries, which I believe is part of the problem that you were trying to address.)

That's all I was saying. As far as encouraging people to become farmers or to open farms in Massachusetts, I suppose there are economic factors and other incentives that we may have address. I haven't put enough thought into that to comment on it right now. I do know that overall, we have been losing farms in MA as owners sell them to developers. So we're already moving in the wrong direction.

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The land just outside city to make them feel better about not buying from big Ag? And do it by zoning? We live in the very densely settled eastern MA, and people have houses on your pretend farms. Oh, if only you were here to suggest that in the 18th century!

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from King City to Greenfield (next town) could feed Eastern Massachusetts for 10 years. This small field probably wouldn't make a dent in feeding my extended family this summer.

Agreed about the concept of self sustaining to a point, but after living in King City one summer when I was younger, my knowledge and experience of food production at an industrial scale tells me a soccer field is probably going to be ok here....

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But soccer fields, like golf courses only provide enjoyment and exercise for a few and the turf adds to environmental destruction. Not to mention the added junk sent to landfills when the equipment Is no longer in use.

Community gardens, if open to the public, double as parks and nature preserves and help cool urban areas in heat waves. Many do composting. Maintenance costs are lower because of volunteers. The waiting lists for allotments are long, demand is high. They serve a more varied demographic.

What a disappointment.

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Turf fields are not ideal but I think a city Boston's size needs a certain amount of them so people can use them throughout the year for specific sports.

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So like when Northeastern took over a public park to make playing fields for their teams and let us use it when they arent, now a charter school is taking over a promised community farm to make a ballfield for their team. Im sure like Northeastern the public will be allowed to use it when they dont need it. Thanks. The privatization of public space in Boston is a depressing reflection of the mayors priorities.

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As much as I love community gardens and farms, field space is always welcome. Soccer is so popular and can be played at so many levels that fields are often hard to come by.

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Rather ironic to put a soccer field in a place named for a designer who would have hated its presence in a park. He was expressly against adding "stuff" just to have stuff.

“Suppose that you had been commissioned to build a really grand opera house; that after the construction work had nearly been completed and your scheme of decoration fully designed you should be instructed that the building was to be used on Sundays as a Baptist Tabernacle, and that suitable place must be made for a huge organ, a pulpit, and a dipping pool. Then at intervals afterward, you should be advised that it must be so refitted and furnished that parts of it could be used for a court room, a jail, a concert hall, hotel, skating rink, for surgical cliniques, for a circus, dog show, drill room, ball room, railway station and shot tower? That is what is nearly always going on with public parks. Pardon me if I overwhelm you: it is a matter of chronic anger with me.” - Olmsted Papers, Reel 22, January 22, 1891.

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Yeah, I could never play with a ball and friends and have active fun without a ref and a groomed playing field with lots of SUV parking available. It is nearly impossible. Gotta be competitive or there is no motivation to move your body and chase a ball and do practice drills, especially without supervision.

These kids and adult teams who enjoy anti-American football are lucky.

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HOORAY FOR MONOCULTURE!

At least some killdeer will be able to enjoy it!

How do the rules change for the social distancing version?

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Is this behind the Boston Nature Center?

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The Red Tail Squadron bridge (taking American Legion Highway over Morton Street) is at the top of the illustration, putting this to the east of Morton Street.

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North of Morton St. and east of American Legion Parkway.

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Look at the roads that the top, at the middle of the drawing. Those are the slip roads from Morton Street going towards Dorchester.

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Curious about the availability of plots in the community garden on American Legion Highway.
The Victory Gardens in the Fenway has a waiting list of 200 with some waiting 3 years for a sunny plot to grow vegetables.

With respect to what is going on with the COVID19 economy, a soccer field does seem a trivial when people are hurting from food insecurity. Too many individuals and families are living on the edge. We can expect this to continue throughout the decade.

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I had a garden plot in the Victory Gardens and actually got it within a few weeks of saying I was interested. This was a few years ago, but up until then I too had thought that there was an extensive waiting list.

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Local Tech is leading to a revolution in urban farming

Check out Freight Farms
https://www.freightfarms.com/home/

enabling farming without land or sunlight in the midst of a city

as they say

Freight Farms technology makes it easy to bring people closer to their food source. The result is local, year-round production featuring fresh, sustainably-grown, and flavorful greens.....

Turnkey container farm
The Greenery revolutionizes the hydroponic container farm with an original design that increases productivity, improves workflow, and gives you superior climate control. ....

The smartest hydroponic farm inside of a shipping container.
Unlike a traditional farm, the Greenery’s plants grow vertically indoors without soil, getting their nutrition from water and light energy from powerful LEDs. The result is a system that operates independently from land, climate, and season with the power to bring local food production directly to you, no matter where you are in the world....

The 320 sq. ft. container grows 2-4 tons of produce a year.

Today, we have Freight Farmers around the world: snowy Canadian wildernesses, Middle Eastern deserts, concrete urban jungles, and everything in between. While our Freight Farmers have different backgrounds, they all want to shorten the distance that food travels from farm to table. Our farmers rely on container farms as a source of high-quality and sustainable produce, 365 days a year.

Not for corn or wheat -- but the kinds of things you'd like to have in a city in the northeast in the midst of winter -- tomatoes and lettuce / salad greens

all you need is the space for a shipping container [on a rooftop or a parking lot] some water and some electricity and the internet

Note for you "Green Neo-Dealers" -- you could power the container with solar or wind or just people doing Peloton

PS: MIT Tech being built not in China but in [engineered in South End and fabricated in Westborough]

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