In 1983, the Haley House community reclaimed an organic farm in Winchendon Springs as a way of reconnecting with the land and to grow fresh produce for the Soup Kitchen. The farm, NoonDay (pictured to the right), developed into a completely self-sufficient biodynamic farm and supplied meal programs with fresh, organic produce. In 2012, after thirty years of devoted farming, Haley House sold NoonDay Farm to a land trust to preserve its mission and plunged into new urban agricultural efforts in the South End and Roxbury.
That year, Hawthorne Youth & Community Center (HYCC) – a community staple since 1973 – reached out to start a conversation around partnering to steward land in Highland Park at 95R Thornton Street, in Highland Park in Roxbury, less than a mile away from the Haley House Bakery Cafe (HHBC). Roxbury is under the rapid attack of ‘development’ and the call to start farming the land was a way to literally put a stake in the ground and ensure community members were benefiting, and not being harmed, by this ¾ acre piece of land.
In the spring of 2013, folks from both organizations started cleaning up both the Thornton Street site and HYCC’s site at 184 Highland Street and began licensing the land from the City of Boston. A year later, ten raised beds were built for community residents to begin gardening and youth from HYCC’s “Grow It, Cook It, Share It” summer employment program were integrated into Thornton Street. 2015 marked the installation of irrigation lines, a gravel driveway, substantial site improvements and the building of the first raised beds for Haley House production. Since 2015 the land has been tenderly and deeply cared for by Haley House staff, HYCC youth and staff, neighbors and extended community partners. Click here to learn more about the people on the land.