project leader
David Q
100 Ballou Ave.
(South Dorchester, a neighborhood of Boston, MA)
latest update rss
Over 400 Pounds of Vegetables Harvested!

the project

OASIS (Opportunity Affirmation Sustainability Inspiration Success) on Ballou is an urban agriculture project that represents a unique opportunity for transformative placemaking at 100 Ballou Ave. in the Woodrow-Mountain neighboirhood of Dorchester, on a long-neglected and vacant 20,000 SF lot previously owned by the City of Boston.  OASIS on Ballou incorporates urban agriculture with sustainable community development, social equity, and social entrepreneurship.  Our vision is to create a community resource that promotes active living, improves resident health, and creates a safe place for children to play, learn, and grow.  OASIS will provide green job training, social enterprise economic opportunities, and enterprise management with special involvementof men of color.  The site plan includes: a production garden, a demonstration garden with accessible raised beds, a tot lot, and a healthy learning center.

the steps

Provide Access to Healthy Foods: Approximately half of the Oasis on Ballou 20,000+ square foot site will be cultivated to grow healthy produce that will be distributed in the community. In addition to what will be grown on the site, we will also explore partnerships with other local food source vendors to help expand the foods available to area residents, will partner with the Codman Square Health Center to distribute Ballou’s fresh produce to its weight loss program participants, and will further expand access to healthy foods for other Boston residents by partnering with the Asian Community Development Corporation to provide produce to Chinatown restaurants and their patrons.

Community Education: Installation of a 200 SF Learning Center building, teaching garden, and on-site nutrition and cultural food preparation workshops will facilitate community education, production, preparation and distribution of food grown at the site.

Community Cohesion: Ballou will provide a range of programming to engage the local community. Neighborhood residents will have the opportunity to become active participants in the Friends of Ballou resident leadership group; they will use their improved knowledge of nutrition and work together to create a vegetable-based cookbook; and, with 17 child day-care businesses within a ¼ mile area of the site with no current access to any close-by community playground, a new tot lot will serve as a safe and recreational place for area children, their parents, and their caretakers to convene.

Workforce Development: The farmed area of Ballou will serve as the site for a workforce development program for Black and Latino males who are re-entry citizens. Funds will be used to hire a farm Manager who will work with the re-entry citizens to tend and manage the site. Ultimately, we seek to develop a “Made in Codman Square” cottage industry out of the site, with the men packaging the produce for sale and distribution to local outlets. OASIS’ partnership with Chinatown restaurateurs will enable these Asian businesses to brand themselves as sustainable, hyperlocal restaurants, and will encourage inter-cultural and inter neighborhood commerce that keeps financial and social benefits within the participating communities.

Building a wrought iron fence and decorative gate with a garden theme along the front of the site will help create a sense of place and will positively impacting the visual qualities of the site, while helping provide children with a safe place to play

why we're doing it

In 2014, a graduate student at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government researched and mapped access to healthy food in Codman square in Dorchester, MA. The report--"The Codman Square" Atlas: New Approaches to Understanding Community Health"--reveals that the Codman Square NDC service area contains two healthy food "cold spots", defined as specific areas where residents have significantly limited choices in terms of the number of markets available and the number, type, and diversity of products available at those markets.  For example, unrestricted food markets provide more access (service hours) to more food options (variety). Access to unrestricted food markets contributes significantly to the food choices that people make, and around the site, there are very few unrestricted markets.  The study also found that Codman Square ranks among the top ten areas in levels of obesity in Massachusetts. These findings were indicative of the critical need for increasing access and education around nutrition, healthy food, and healthy food preparation to Codman square residents.


DISBURSEMENT BUDGET (as of 1/11/17):

RAISED = $555.00
ioby Platform Fee  waived
Payment Processing Fee (3%) $16.17



$12,000: Wrought Iron Fence and related site work (Permanent replacement 4ft high fence on street frontage).

SUBTOTAL = $12,000
ioby Platform Fee $35
Payment Processing Fee of 3%  $360
TOTAL TO RAISE = $12,395



Over 400 Pounds of Vegetables Harvested!


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Sherry F.
  • Barbara Knecht
  • Anonymous
  • Melissa James
  • Gail
  • Patricia L.
  • Anonymous
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  • Jason Boyd
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  • Johane A.