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Mass. awards urban farming grants

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts has launched a new $200,000 pilot project to encourage farming in cities across the state.

Grants have been awarded this week to food-growing projects in Boston, Everett, Lawrence, Lowell, Somerville, Springfield and Worcester.

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The program is designed to increase access to fresh, nutritious food for people in cities and to come up with farming methods that other cities can copy and benefit from.

Municipalities, nonprofit organizations and other government entities are eligible to apply for grants ranging from $5,000 to $40,000. Preference goes to projects that have multiple partners and additional funding sources.

The project hopes to find solutions for problems such as finding suitable land, and working limited space, sunlight, and nutrient-poor soils. It also will try to help solve high startup costs, restrictive zoning issues and the farmers’ lack of agricultural and business experience.

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