BRIDGEPORT, Conn., Oct. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The groundbreaking ceremony for BOOT CAMP FARMS' sustainable urban farming project united state, local and federal authorities, including Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Jim Himes, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, New England Farmers Union Board's Marydale DeBor and US EPA's Frank Gardner, in poignant tributes to transform Bridgeport brownfields into urban agriculture.
BOOT CAMP FARMS Founder and CEO Antonio St. Lorenzo and COO Sean Richardson will oversee the construction of a flagship farm and community training center on Central Avenue in the East End of Bridgeport where the Company will turn blighted brownfields into sustainable urban farms with 80,000 square feet of computer controlled greenhouses to produce 800,000 pounds of fresh produce per year for local consumption as well as 40 full time green collar jobs for the community. The project will be the largest hydroponic farm in Connecticut when complete and expand statewide.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy provided a $1 million grant for the Bridgeport project and the U.S. EPA committed nearly $700,000 in revolving loan to fund environmental cleanup. Mayor Bill Finch has made BOOT CAMP FARMS an integral part of Bridgeport's BGreen 2020 Sustainability Plan.
Bridgeport Mayor Finch stated, "My administration has worked tirelessly to bring fresh produce options to our food deserts, sustainable urban agriculture to our green city, and jobs to our residents and our veterans. Boot Camp Farms meets all those goals, and then some, and will be a welcome addition to the Lower East End. By transforming several vacant brownfields into an urban greenhouse, we are literally transforming our past into our green future."
Senator Richard Blumenthal said, "There are a lot of heroes here today, most importantly, our men and women in uniform who benefit by the jobs that Boot Camp Farms will create. This project really is a milestone. It is a real marker in Bridgeport's progress, in the work we are doing to find jobs for veterans and for the economic growth of the state of CT and a new technology that will enable a computer controlled greenhouse on that very site as well as a community center on the site where we stand."
Congressman Jim Himes added, "The Boot Camp Farms Bridgeport urban agriculture center is socially conscious entrepreneurship in action. It's a great example of the way a city, the state of Connecticut, and the federal government can come together with a private employer to reclaim brownfields and transform a neighborhood like the East End of Bridgeport. Here you will have dozens of green collar jobs for local veterans and hundreds of tons a year of top quality, local, sustainably-grown produce. I look forward to learning more from the impact Boot Camp Farms has on the community."
Governor Malloy stated, "State and local governments can and should work together to restore blighted properties — sites that have tremendous potential for commerce, housing and retail that will create jobs. There are hundreds of properties across the state -- abandoned factories, warehouses, rail yards and mills that were once the center of economic activity but now just contribute to urban decay. With the right investment, these properties can bolster our economy and add to quality of life," the Governor said.
About BOOT CAMP FARMS:
BOOT CAMP FARMS is a Bridgeport-based, socially conscious, for profit urban agriculture company that constructs and operates state of the art hydroponic greenhouses that will be built throughout Connecticut. In cooperation with a local community development corporation, the project will be erecting a 6000 square foot not for profit community center on site where University of Connecticut's Agriculture Department will train greenhouse workers to be certified hydroponic farmers and conduct school programs so Bridgeport students can learn about the importance of agriculture and a healthy diet. The community center will also host the local farmer's market in addition to being a beacon for East End residents. BOOT CAMP FARMS will build a 4000 square foot retail store on site that will sell fresh produce and other foodstuffs that you would find in a top quality supermarket, which the East End currently lacks. BOOT CAMP FARMS intends to alleviate the urban food desert in the East End and provide healthy food for the community as well as to feed the needy with a weekly sit down dinner at the community center. www.bootcampfarms.com
SOURCE BOOT CAMP FARMS