Vacant brownfield site is sprouting a healthy green business in Springfield, MA

In the center of Indian Orchard neighborhood of Springfield, Massachusetts, a former brownfield site is about to sprout a greenhouse.

This urban farm is expected to produce some 250,000 pounds of fresh vegetables and herbs annually.

Mayor Domenic Sarno was among the officials at the announcement on October 6, 2016 that Wellspring Cooperative Corp. has purchased 1.7 acres on the former Chapman Valve site.

It was sold by the Springfield Redevelopment Authority, which expects the greenhouse to yield an initial five jobs, and eventually increase to nine employees.

The Wellspring Harvest is a worker-owned cooperative that will operate a commercial hydroponic greenhouse in Springfield, MA, supplying fresh greens all year round to institutional, retail and local community markets. Intent to purchase letters have been signed with Baystate Medical Center, Springfield and Worcester Public Schools, Squash Trucking, Big Y, and River Valley and Franklin Community food coops.

The greenhouse will contribute to the much needed economic vitality and rejuvenation of the Indian Orchard neighborhood by creating at least nine jobs. Wellspring Harvest will play the role of catalyst for a healthy food preparation facility and a consumer food cooperative, which are natural annexes to the greenhouse. The job creation potential of such facilities significantly amplifies those directly created by the greenhouse itself.

The Cooperative will offer not only living-wages to its workers but also the opportunity to build meaningful equity in the company. Over the first ten-year period, we estimate that Worker Equity accounts will total over $500,000 in addition to total Cash Distributions of over $90,000.

Finally, the business model is strengthened by the support of the anchor institutions in and around Springfield, all vested in the development and well-being of the city’s residents.

Help Wellspring raise $200,000 for the greenhouse: Invest in Wellspring Harvest and help to grow a sustainable and resilient local food system, create good jobs, worker ownership, and community wealth building. Wellspring Investment Fund is raising money to build Wellspring Harvest, a hydroponic greenhouse and community agricultural education center in Indian Orchard. They are seeking investments of a minimum of $1,000 ($5,000 for qualified investors) with a minimum five (5) year term at 3% interest paid after two years.

See full article by G. Michael Dobbs in The Reminder.

See Wellspring Cooperative website & image credit.

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