Jamey Lionette once sold local fruits and vegetables and organic meat to the South End at his market, Lionette’s, a high-end local grocer. Now he’s focused on getting the rest of the city access to fresh, local food, by working for a slew of grassroots organizations and independent projects.
“Who cares about the South End, we need the rest of the city. We need Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Roxbury, East Boston—we need these neighborhoods.”
One of those projects, City Growers, founded by Glynn Lloyd and Margaret Connors, transforms abandoned urban lots into city farms, mostly in Dorchester and Roxbury. They’ve created five plots this year alone, with the harvested produce being sold to places like City Feed and Stone Hearth Pizza Company.
Then there’s City Fresh Foods, based in Roxbury, where he works to figure out how to source and make healthy, local meals—8,000 to 10,000 of them a day—for school kids, child care and elder services.
And he’s working in smaller ways too, like bringing in a whole pig every other Friday to Plaza Meat Market, a more than 30-year-old neighborhood meat market outside of Egleston Square. (Which also happens to be a CSA farm drop-off, bringing in a good 20 to 30 people who wouldn’t have visited otherwise.)
What this is all about, says Lionette, is bringing back community control of local food.
“If you don’t know where your food’s coming from, if you don’t know the name of the person selling it to you, then you’re doing something wrong.”
“We can’t control supermarkets, but if you shop at your neighborhood shops, if you start talking to your neighbor who owns the supermarket, then you have the power to change.”
PHOTO BY ANDREW MERRIL
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