One of GreenRoots’ longest standing programs is our work on Food Justice and Urban Agriculture. In an effort to address food insecurity and transform urban land into lush growing spaces, we cultivate five urban gardens and an urban farm; build community and foster greater nutrition at our Teaching Kitchen; and promote hydroponic growing through our freight farm – coming soon! We do all of this with deep community engagement!

Combatting food insecurity in Chelsea & East Boston

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Our gardens and farm allow residents to grow culturally relevant crops, create a farm-to-table experience with locally grown vegetables, fruits and herbs. They do so while building community, transforming vacant lots into lush green spaces and addressing food security. GreenRoots is thrilled to bring on line our Teaching Kitchen, directly adjacent to two of our urban growing spaces. The Teaching Kitchen is a place where the community comes together to make nutritious meals and share recipes and culture!

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    Urban Growing Spaces

    GreenRoots recently launched our Teaching Kitchen to complement our urban growing spaces and to address chronic disease. Our Teaching Kitchen will provide formal programming, fun community events and will foster greater community connectivity.

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    Teaching Kitchen

    Raised funding for and sought permits to build a new Teaching Kitchen to complement our urban growing spaces and to address chronic disease. 

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    The Urban Farm Crew

    The Urban Farm Crew (UFC), a team of older youth, work seasonally at our growing spaces. The UFC gains important hands-on growing and harvesting strategies and community leadership skills and fosters greater civic engagement.

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    Food Justice

    During the pandemic, GreenRoots’ Urban Farm provided fresh produce and herbs to a local food pantry. Approximately 75 families weekly benefitted from this local, fresh harvest. We continue to address food insecurity at all our growing spaces!

Woman holding freshly cut mint.

My decisions are always done with an eye to adding to the life of others, to build more positivity in all our lives. I see it as a type of ‘construction’. Here in Chelsea my focus is on building a response to hunger and the struggles of mental health. I do this, not out of charity but for justice. And GreenRoots is the organization here that has the ability to make equity happen, something all of us human need.

Elaine Mendes

Contact Us

  • A woman with a red blazer and earrings against a black backdrop with her hand on a table taking a photo.

    Cecilia Del Cid-Liccardi

    Director of Food Justice and Youth Programs

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    Cecilia Del Cid-Liccardi (she, her, hers)

    Ceci grew up in Guatemala and has a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences & Latin American Studies from Smith College and a Master of Forestry from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

    Ceci has researched topics such as conservation genetics, forest and land governance, environmental justice, and gender equality issues related to the distribution and access to natural resources in Latin America and the United States. Additionally, she has led initiatives to increase capacity building and technology transfers tailored to local communities in human-impacted/modified landscapes.

    Over the years, she has sharpened her ability to apply a social and environmental justice lens to create sustainability and environmental programming, communication tools, and inclusive and equitable strategies. As a result, she’s more effective in envisioning a thriving world that does not exist, but that can be co-created with and for the wellbeing of the community.

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    Joanna Emerson

    Teaching Kitchen Coordinator

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    Joanna Emerson (she, her, hers)

    Jojo is a culinary educator with a background in professional baking, team building, and community health. She studied Community Health and Sociology at Tufts University, going on to earn her Master’s in Public Health and Epidemiology. After years of conducting public health research at Tufts Medical Center, Jojo took a hard pivot to pursue her passion and became a professional baker. She most recently served as Head Baker at Somerville’s Forge Baking Company, where she taught community baking classes and developed her love of culinary education.
    Jojo most enjoys applying the training skills honed in professional kitchens to community programming. She believes in collective cooking as a means of community building and cultural exchange, and strives to make the teaching kitchen a rich community space that helps empower those who use it. In her free time, you can find Jojo traversing the trails of Massachusetts as she trains for her next marathon.

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    Oscar Figueroa

    Community Health Ambassador and Urban Farm Crew

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    Oscar Figueroa (he, him, his)

    Oscar is a GreenRoots local gardener, and art director. He has been taking care of GreenRoots’ gardens for a couple of years. His favorite activity outside of handing out free vegetables is creating free fun art classes for the public within the urban farm. At GreenRoots, Oscar also helps in areas such as the Community Health Ambassadors by facilitating public help related tasks and educational comics!

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    Vladimir Perez

    Food Justice Organizer

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    Vladimir Perez (he, him, his)

    After 2 years of working as a volunteer with GreenRoots, Vladimir is joining the GreenRoots team. Vladimir is originally from San Salvador, El Salvador. He studied accounting at the Universidad Tecnológica de El Salvador and comes with 15 years of work experience with a specialization in taxes. Vladimir enjoys serving his community and giving back to what this great nation has given to him and his family. In his spare time, he likes to be with his family and enjoys experiencing the changes of each season. In addition, Vladimir likes to fish, play soccer, roller skate and bike. 

Program Events


  • Opening of New Teaching Kitchen on Pearl Street in Chelsea

    • In the News

    GreenRoots is thrilled to announce the full opening of our new Teaching Kitchen on Pearl Street in Chelsea! The community was involved throughout the entirety of the process to bring the kitchen to fruition.  Community members developed the original idea and vision; and dozens of residents were involved in final designs, program development and more! GreenRoots officially launched programming in spring 2024 and brought on Joanna “Jojo” Emerson as the Teaching Kitchen Coordinator.  Jojo embodies GreenRoots goals of combining health and nutrition with cooking skills. 

  • GreenRoots’ “Teaching Kitchen” Opens in Chelsea To Bridge Nutrition, Environmental Justice, and Culture

    • In the News

    GreenRoots celebrates de grand opening of its Teaching Kitchen, a space to create, share, and learn.

Image listing all Teaching Kitchen events for July

Would you like to volunteer with us?

  • Urban Agriculture Volunteer

    Looking to volunteer at our gardens? Fill out this form and get involved!

  • Teaching Kitchen Volunteer

    Interested in volunteering at our Teaching Kitchen? Fill out the form below!

Your support is crucial in ensuring our work continues.

For 30 years, GreenRoots has restored acres of urban salt marsh, created new parks, increased public access to the waterfront and improved the water quality of Chelsea Creek.

Our organizing model is rooted in base-building and community, and your help makes us a stronger force. A contribution to GreenRoots means an investment in the futures of Chelsea and East Boston!

Donate Now

Community members standing around a table with fresh vegetables at the Urban Farm, in Chelsea, MA.