The Boston Public Facilities Commission voted today to sell roughly 1.5 acres of long vacant city-owned land in Readville to a Roslindale couple who will use it to grow "microgreens " - plants harvested just a couple weeks after their seeds have germinated.
Lisa Evans and Tim Smith will pay $700 for the land and build a greenhouse and other farm space for their We Grow Microgreens, already in operation in a smaller greenhouse in Roslindale. The couple say the quick harvesting preserves nutrients that are lost in larger, more mature plants.
The former BPS teachers were the only people to bid on the land off Manila Avenue and Norton Street when the city Department of Neighborhood Development, which acquired it more than two decades ago, put it up for sale. The city will hold onto several other adjoining parcels.
A DND official told the commission Evans and Smith led a cleanup effort on the land this past summer - even though they did not own it - that helped clear "decades of trash, dumped construction debris and other items that had previously been hidden." Still, an ISD inspector issued them a ticket last month because they did not remove all the bags of accumulated trash they'd collected.
City Councilor Tim McCarthy (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan), called the tickets "nonsense" and just a result of what he said was some misinformation about the proposed farm.
McCarthy, who grew up and still lives about 100 yards from the site, urged the commission to approve the sale to allow the "wonderful project."
McCarthy said he can't wait to see the farm up and running and that he is looking forward to visiting it later this year. "They're tremendous people," he said of Evans and Smith, adding they're an example of the sort of small business that is "so important to the city of Boston."
Aides to City Councilor Michelle Wu (at large) and Mayor Walsh also supported the project in what Walsh's aide and Hyde Park native Bryan Flynn called "God's country" (Flynn did note that "many people argue with me about that").
A neighbor who opposed the proposal did not attend the meeting.
More details on the land and its zoning from DND.