(BINGHAMTON, N.Y.) — Mayor Richard C. David today joined VINES Executive Director Amelia LoDolce and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo to announce $100,000 in state funding to support the expansion of VINES’ downtown Urban Farm and the Grow Binghamton summer youth employment program.
“With this funding, more Binghamton teenagers and young adults will have access to the kind of meaningful employment, hands-on training and valuable experience that VINES provides at the Urban Farm,” said Mayor David. “The expansion will not only strengthen the ties between our youth and the community where they live, but it will also supply more fresh food to residents through VINES’ Farm Share program.”
In addition to the “Green Jobs for Youth” grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the City will use funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to demolish 13 flood-prone properties on two acres contiguous to the Urban Farm, located on Tudor Street. Once the demolitions are complete, the City will lease the land to VINES, which will use it expand the Urban Farm, now half an acre, and increase the number of youth it employs there through its Grow Binghamton program.
“VINES is excited to embark on such a major expansion of our Urban Farm and Grow Binghamton youth program. We’re honored to have been selected as one of just ten organizations across the state to receive funding through this grant program, and we’re thankful to Assemblywoman Lupardo and Mayor David for their support of our work,” said Amelia LoDolce, VINES Executive Director. “Flooding is going to continue to be a challenge for our community, but with urban agriculture, we can turn flood prone land into an asset. With 2 acres of land, we will be able to grow more food for Binghamton residents and provide more youth with the opportunity to learn valuable work and life skills while giving back to their community.”
Grow Binghamton is a six-week summer employment program for at-risk youth ages 14 to 21. Last year, the program employed 17 young people. The grant will allow it to increase the number of youth served annually to 25 by 2019.
As part of the employment program, youth learn to grow food on the Urban Farm and help distribute it to the community via VINES’ all-income food program, Farm Share.
“I’d like to thank the Department of Environmental Conservation for giving VINES and the City of Binghamton the opportunity to expand this valuable work,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo. “For ten years VINES has been dedicated to improving neighborhoods through urban farming and its community gardens, enriching the lives of many residents – particularly youth – in the process. Agriculture is a key component of ongoing economic development efforts across the region and VINES is doing its part by introducing local foods to new customers and inspiring a new generation to consider this industry as a career path.”
VINES was one of 10 organizations across New York State to receive a combined $1 million from the State for community-based green jobs training.
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