For 36 years, we’ve been building a sustainable and fair local food system
Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT) serves people in economically challenged urban neighborhoods where fresh produce is scarce and who, as a result, are at risk for life-threatening, diet-related, chronic diseases.
We help by:
- educating people about diet and nutrition, agriculture and the environment
- building and managing community gardens and farms
- providing low-cost agricultural resources and support to community gardeners
- training beginning farmers and enabling them to sell their produce to members of their communities
SCLT owns or directly manages 21 community gardens in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls, and partners with schools, housing and community organizations to manage another 37. We also own or manage land used by 25 farmers to supply fresh fruits and vegetables to farmers markets, food businesses, restaurants and CSAs. Lastly, we operate three production farms in Providence and Pawtucket where we practice and demonstrate bio-intensive, small-scale agricultural production.
SCLT was founded in 1981 when residents of South Providence and newly arrived Hmong refugees worked with three visionary Brown University graduates to grow culturally familiar, nutritious food. With the backing of a local philanthropist, they bought an abandoned lot in South Providence, cleared it of debris and created the area’s first community garden. The Somerset Garden not only improved residents’ diets and economic self-reliance, it stabilized a neighborhood weakened by arson, neglect and crime.
In 1986 City Farm was established across the street as a production and demonstration farm to teach people about bio-intensive farming practices. Since then we have transformed nearly 32 acres of land into 53 community gardens and farms in Rhode Island. This includes managing a 24-acre rural farm that hosts 7 small farm businesses. We helped found three farmers markets as well as three growers’ collaboratives that enable individual farmers to bring their produce to market.
Learn about SCLT’s history and impact in this video made for our 30th anniversary.