Southside Community Land Trust builds a fair and accessible local food system in Rhode Island by offering access to land, training, resources and support to community and backyard gardeners, beginning farmers and young people.
SCLT was founded in 1981 when residents of South Providence and newly arrived Hmong refugees worked with three Brown University graduates to grow culturally familiar, nutritious food in the area’s first community garden. Somerset Garden not only improved residents’ diets and economic self-reliance, it stabilized a neighborhood weakened by arson, neglect and crime.
Today, SCLT leases land to 25 farmers who supply fresh fruits and vegetables to 13 farmers markets, roughly 100 food businesses and restaurants and six CSAs. We support a network of 38 community gardens, feeding over 3,000 people every year. We operate three production farms in Providence and Pawtucket where we practice, demonstrate and train others in bio-intensive, small-scale agricultural production. We helped found three farmers markets as well as three growers’ collaboratives that enable individual farmers to bring their produce to market. In 2017, we provided training and technical assistance to 119 beginning farmers and provided education and employment to 225 young people in low-income communities.