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HOW WE GOT HERE
Building Roots in Providence
Farm Fresh RI has developed a purpose-designed 60,000 sq. ft. facility on the corner of Kinsley Ave and Sims Ave in the Valley neighborhood of Providence. Half of the space was designed to house Farm Fresh RI’s programs and operations, including a year-round farmers market. Remaining space is leased to food and farm-related small businesses. The site includes a half-acre of publicly accessible greenspace featuring beautiful sustainable, native plantings.
Completion: Fall 2020.
& Public Greenspace
Recognizing that food and agriculture continue to be among the few growth sectors in Rhode Island and that small businesses are the backbone of the Rhode Island economy, Farm Fresh RI will create an environment that stimulates job creation and small business success. Together with a cluster of food and farm-related businesses, we will work to strengthen the local and regional food system.
- Remediates a Brownfields site and helps jumpstart the revitalization of the Woonasquatucket River corridor
- Expands access to fresh, locally grown food by underserved communities
- Doubles the buying power of SNAP benefits at farmers markets, reinvesting those federal funds in the local economy
- Rebuilds and strengthens the regional food system infrastructure
- Promotes farm sustainability and food security
- Stimulates business development in the food and agriculture sectors
- Provides space for mid-sized production facilities
- Creates jobs:
- 284 — Construction and development
- 117 — New and retained at completion
- 168 — Jobs projected at Year Five
- Demonstrates smart growth and sustainable development
- Incorporates environmental best practices, including 100% on-site stormwater management, rooftop solar array, and a half-acre of green space that is publicly accessible
- Leverages significant public and private investments
- Reduces food waste from farms
- Creates a new food-centric city destination
- Promotes the “50 by 60” Food Vision (Food Solutions New England) — a goal for our region to produce 50% of what it consumes by 2060
While our organization, operations, and programs have increased in sophistication and impact, our physical spaces — initially a free basement at Brown University and then an old mill building in a residential neighborhood — have been less than ideal, and held back our organization's efficiency and growth. In 2017, Farm Fresh RI purchased a 3+-acre site in the Valley neighborhood of Providence to establish a facility that would allow consolidation of all programs and operations under one roof, as well as provide opportunities for growth and expansion.
The Farm Fresh design called for multiple access points, well-positioned loading docks, a layout that enhances our aggregation and distribution operations with adequate refrigeration, and good circulation and parking. For the first time, the farmers market space can accommodate a year-round market in a setting designed to enhance the success of farm, seafood, and value-added vendors. The new location, in the heart of a former manufacturing and industrial mecca, takes advantage of existing urban infrastructure while contributing to a 21st century rebirth of this neighborhood. A rooftop solar array is planned; all stormwater is managed on site; and a half-acre is dedicated to an exceptional landscape plan that provides an abundance of publicly accessible green space.
A Year-Round Marketplace
Farm Fresh RI excels at running farmers markets, including the largest indoor farmers market in New England — where 3,000 to 5,000 people buy local goods during a four-hour period every Saturday from November to May. The new space accommodates our renowned Winter Market and provides the infrastructure for a year-round marketplace.
Large retractable doors lining the Market Hall facilitate vibrant indoor-outdoor seasonal markets.
The outdoor market area provides attractive and welcoming community space during the warmer seasons.
In addition to Farm Fresh RI operations, farmers markets and events, the Hub includes space for food and agriculture businesses to lease.
- A vibrant center for local food and agriculture
- Home to our region's largest indoor farmers market
- Competitive rental and amenity package
- Four loading docks plus quick-load areas
- Easy access to downtown Providence and highways
- State-of-the-art heating and cooling systems
- Multiple building-entry points and onsite parking
- Opportunity for year-round programming in market areas
- Proximity to the Woonasquatucket River and neighborhood improvements including pedestrian footbridge at Sims Ave, bike paths, walking trails, kayaking, and pocket parks
- Opportunity to be part of the Valley Vision — a convergence of local food, design/fabrication, and creative arts businesses
The 3.2 acre Farm Fresh RI site is located amidst the Woonasquatucket River Valley corridor, an area of Providence that was an industrial stronghold until the latter half of the 20th century. After years of disinvestment and abandonment, this area of the Valley is now repositioning itself, based on key strategies set forth in the city’s Woonasquatucket Vision Plan. Because of its size, scale, and purpose, Farm Fresh RI is considered a major catalyst in this revitalization effort.
Hub Construction Began in Mid-August 2019
The first task was the removal of the existing slab from former buildings once on the site, and a worn-out asphalt parking lot. All of that material was stockpiled to be crushed and reused later as fill. These photos (looking East) capture the inspiring transformation that unfolded since that start, in a span of just over nine months. In that short time, the Farm Fresh RI project went from a vacant Brownfield site to a model of environmental stewardship.
We have enjoyed being able to share detailed updates throughout the construction process, beautifully illustrated thanks to our primary photography Scott Lapham Photography.
In addition to exceptionally generous support from individual philanthropy, we also acknowledge tremendous funding support from these sectors:
State of Rhode Island, Governor Gina Raimondo
City of Providence, Mayor Jorge Elorza
Providence City Council, President Sabina Matos
Providence Business Loan Fund
Providence Redevelopment Agency
Rhode Island Commerce
RI Department of Environmental Management
RI Department of Transportation
Foundation, Corporate, and Nonprofit
Bauta Family Fund
Blue Hub Capital
The Champlin Foundation
Dan Levinson RI Fund
The Henry P. Kendall Foundation
October Hill Foundation
The Rhode Island Community Foundation
Ruth and Hal Launders Charitable Trust
The 1772 Foundation
US Conference of Mayors/Wells Fargo
New Markets Tax Credits
Owner/Developer: Farm Fresh Rhode Island
Working day to day to advance the Farm Fresh RI project was a capable and experienced team led by Real Estate & Community Developers Lucie Searle and Clay Rockefeller, and Farm Fresh RI Co-Executive Directors Sheri Griffin and Jesse Rye. Farm Fresh RI Board Members met with our development team on a regular basis, and all staff were provided input on our planning process. Members of the leadership team that contributed to specific aspects of development included Finance Director Paula Gill, former Harvest Kitchen Director Jen Stott, Director of Programs and Operations Thea Upham, Events Rental Manager Leigh Vincola, and Communications Director Rebecca Seggel.
We were thrilled to work with a skillful team of professionals who helped us realize our vision for growing the food infrastructure of Rhode Island.
Primary Construction Photography
Scott Lapham Photography