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Elevating Urban Agriculture: Grow Boston, Higher Ground Farms, and the Mayor’s Vision for a more Fruitful Future (Virtual)


Image Credit: Higher Ground Farm

  • COST

    Free for BSA members | $20 for non-members

  • TYPE



    Design Enthusiasts


    1 LU/HSW AIA credit available.

Join us for our next GRIT meeting when our guest speakers, Shani Fletcher from the City of Boston and John Stoddard, will talk about a popular trend – including the Boston area – urban farming. We’ll spend more time discussing how rooftop farming fits into that trend. Land scarcity and urban food deserts are among the many reasons people have recently been establishing urban farms on the roofs of buildings. Some local examples include the rooftop farms at Boston Medical Center and Fenway Park. And a little farther afield in NYC, Brooklyn Grange sets a great example of what can be done (see links below). Shani Fletcher, Director of GrowBoston will talk about the city’s efforts including funding and policies that support urban farming. John Stoddard, Founder of Higher Ground Farm will cover what is involved with operating a rooftop farm. And as time permits, Pete Ellis, Senior Project Manager of Recover Green Roofs, who has collaborated with both organizations and is also a regular participant and contributor in this knowledge community.


Higher Ground
Boston Medical Center Rooftop Farm

Brooklyn Grange (NY)


Erik Hegre | GRIT Co-chair, Partner, Benisch Architekten

Gary Brock | GRIT Co-chair, Senior Associate, HMFH Architects

Shani Fletcher | Director, GrowBoston
Shani grew up in southern California, central Massachusetts, and rural Michigan. Upon earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology at Wellesley College, she pursued a career path that included bookselling, conference organizing, youth work, grant writing, and urban farming. After receiving her Master of Public Policy degree from Tufts University’s Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning in 2018, she began working at the City of Boston as the Grassroots Program Manager, through which she helped community groups gain access to City land and federal money to start community gardens, urban farms, and other open spaces. She now serves as the Director of GrowBoston, Boston’s first Office of Urban Agriculture.

John Stoddard | Founder, Higher Ground Farm
As an environmentalist and food lover, John has focused his career on promoting sustainable, equitable food systems that benefit communities. He started Higher Ground in 2013 with the mission to increase access to healthy food while combatting urban environmental problems. In addition to running Higher Ground Farm, John is a Healthy Food in Health Care Coordinator for the non-profit organization, Health Care Without Harm, and works throughout New England on facilitating local and sustainable food procurement for health care institutions. John utilizes his experience working with health care and his expertise in rooftop farming to craft onsite growing operations that serve the unique needs of institutions. He earned his Master of Science from Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition specializing in the Agriculture, Food, and Environment program.

Pete Ellis | Senior Project Manager, Recover Green Roofs