(BINGHAMTON, N.Y.) — Mayor Richard C. David joined VINES Executive Director Amelia LoDolce on Wednesday to announce a new lease that will significantly increase the size of VINES’ downtown Urban Farm and repurpose approximately two acres of land where the City demolished several flood-prone properties last year.
“This partnership will not only allow VINES to grow more fresh food for residents and expand its summer youth employment program, but it will also transform a flood-prone area of the City into a visible sign of resiliency,” said Mayor Richard C. David. “It’s an example of the creative solutions cities can advance when faced with the challenges of flood mitigation. The partnership between VINES and the City of Binghamton is a model for other communities to manage floodplain properties, reduce blight and support sustainability.”
Under the 10-year agreement, VINES — Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments — will pay the City $1 to lease about 2.2 acres of City property on Tudor and Varick streets, expanding the Urban Farm from its current size of half an acre.
VINES will use the extra space to grow more vegetables and fruits, which it sells to residents through a farm share program and the Downtown Farmers Market. VINES’ farm share program offers income-based discounts, expanding residents’ access to healthy foods regardless of income.
The Urban Farm expansion will also allow VINES to increase the number of youth it hires through Grow Binghamton, its summer youth employment program. The City is also providing VINES with $20,000 of Community Development Block Grant funding to support programming and operations.
"VINES is excited to be able to expand our Urban Farm so that we can grow more food for the community and create more summer jobs for local youth,” said Amelia LoDolce, VINES Executive Director. “We're grateful that Mayor David has seen the value in the work that we do and is giving us this opportunity to transform these lots that would otherwise remain empty. We're also looking forward to inviting neighbors of the farm to help us design the space so it can be fun, educational, and beautiful."
The expanded Urban Farm will include a new hoop house that will extend VINES’ growing season earlier in the spring and later in the fall, decorative perennial gardens and a community gathering space. A new solar panel system will generate renewable electricity for the site.
Last year, the City demolished 15 flood-prone properties with funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The majority were in a cluster near the Urban Farm south of Susquehanna Street.
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