WHO: Featured speakers include:
1. Providence Mayor Brett Smiley
2. Governor Dan McKee
3. United States Senator Jack Reed
4. United States Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
5. EPA Region 1 Administrator David Cash
6. RIDOT Director Peter Alviti
7. RIDEM Director Terry Gray
8. Darcy Young, Watershed Outreach Manager and Interim Executive Director, Narragansett Bay Estuary Program
9. Alicia Lehrer WRWC Executive Director and Gloria Morales, WRWC Community Action Program participant
WHEN: Monday, September 25 at 1:30 pm
WHERE: Gotham Greens, 555 Harris Avenue, Providence
PARKING: Parking is limited in Gotham Greens parking lot; if spaces are unavailable, there is street parking on Harris Avenue
PROVIDENCE—At 1:30 pm on September 25, 2023, Providence-based environmental nonprofit Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (WRWC), Gotham Greens, one of the fastest growing indoor farming brands that is celebrating four years of operations in Providence, and the City of Providence are hosting a ribbon cutting event to celebrate the completion of the multi-use off-road path along the Woonasquatucket River behind the Gotham Greens greenhouse facility in the Olneyville neighborhood. Located at 555 Harris Avenue, the Gotham Greens multi-use path, offers new access to the Woonasquatucket River and will serve as a connector between the Woonasquatucket River Greenway and the Washington Secondary Bike Path. The Gotham Greens path also opens opportunities for critically needed flood and pollution control measures. As part of the WRWC’s innovative Community Action programs, riverfront residents are participating in the second phase of work on the Gotham Greens path, offering input and guidance to help make Providence more flood resilient.
The creation of this path is a collaboration among Gotham Greens, the City of Providence, and the WRWC. “This new multi-use trail should serve as a model for how we can revitalize our green spaces to connect our neighborhoods and make Providence a more resilient city,” said Mayor Brett P. Smiley. “I am thrilled to be partnering with Gotham Greens and the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council to build this vitally important green infrastructure that will help mitigate flooding, control pollution and establish a new pathway that our neighbors can enjoy.”
The next phase of improvements on the Gotham Greens path will be completed with support from U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM), and the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program.
“Urban flooding and resilience are complex issues that demand collaborative, innovative, and targeted responses, which is exactly what the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council’s and Gotham Greens’ mitigation and stormwater management project is,” said Governor Dan McKee. “For decades, WRWC has been a cornerstone for resilience and recreational access in Olneyville and I am equally pleased to recognize Gotham Greens’ corporate citizenship in helping to deliver this wonderful new asset for neighborhood residents. Of course, none of this would be possible without the funding provided by grants awarded by the Southeast New England Program, which is one of Senator Reed’s greatest accomplishments.”
Senator Jack Reed initiated the EPA’s Southern New England Program (SNEP), which fosters collaboration among regional partners across southeast New England’s coastal watersheds to protect and restore water quality, ecological health, and diverse habitats. Senator Reed noted, “The collaboration among the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, the City of Providence, and our local agencies to create the Gotham Greens path exemplifies SNEP’s mission to direct funding and support to improve Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island’s underserved communities.”
The second phase of improvements, currently underway, is funded in part by the National Coastal Resilience Fund (NCRF). This second phase focuses on streambank restoration and “Green Infrastructure,” which is the installation of plants, soil, and other natural materials to manage stormwater and prevent flooding and pollution. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse created the NCRF to serve as dedicated funding to help communities prepare for rising waterways and more intense storms caused by climate change. “More Rhode Islanders will be able to enjoy the beauty of the Woonasquatucket River watershed thanks to a number of federal investments and the vision of the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, Gotham Greens, and their state and local partners,” said Senator Whitehouse. “The National Coastal Resilience Fund, which I developed to restore and strengthen natural infrastructure to protect coastal communities from climate change, provided some of the funding for the community effort to improve the watershed’s resiliency.”
WRWC’s Campeones de Combate Climático (Climate Champions) are driving decisions related to Green Infrastructure installation on the Gotham Greens path. The Campeones are a group of Spanish-speaking graduates of WRWC’s Nuevas Voces (New Voices) community action program. These resident leaders are learning about and helping to identify locations for critically needed nature-based climate resilience projects around the Olneyville neighborhood. WRWC Executive Director Alicia Lehrer notes, “The Nuevas Voces and Campeones programs are innovative citizen-led solutions to climate impacts and environmental restoration. In this location, participants in our Campeones cohort who live nearby identified the end of the Gotham Greens path as a location at high risk for flooding and pollution due to uncontrolled stormwater runoff. Informed by their insight, we are working with our partners at RIDOT to develop solutions to the stormwater problem. As a result of our Campeones participants’ leadership, we can build resilient Green Infrastructure to address these problems.”
This ribbon cutting event will be held on September 25, 1:30pm at Gotham Greens (555 Harris Avenue) in Providence. The Gotham Greens greenhouse and parking lot are both closed to the public, but street parking is available on Harris Avenue. Guest speakers, representing the partners who have made this exciting new addition to the Woonasquatucket Greenway possible, include:
- Providence Mayor Brett Smiley
- Governor Dan McKee
- United States Senator Jack Reed
- United States Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
- EPA Region 1 Administrator David Cash
- RIDOT Director Peter Alviti
- RIDEM Director Terry Gray
- Darcy Young, Watershed Outreach Manager and Interim Executive Director, Narragansett Bay Estuary Program
- Alicia Lehrer, Executive Director, Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council and and Gloria Morales, WRWC Community Action Program participant
Gotham Greens is dedicated to becoming a permanent fixture in the communities where it operates, including partnering with groups like WRWC. Gotham Greens products can be found in stores in the region such as Whole Foods Market, Big Y, Dave’s Marketplace and BJ’s Wholesale.
The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (wrwc.org) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that works to create positive environmental, social, and economic change by revitalizing the Woonasquatucket River, its Greenway and its communities. WRWC offers year-round opportunities for the community to engage with the river and the watershed through paddle trips, bike tours, environmental education, festivals, and restoration projects.
Gotham Greens is an indoor farming company and a fresh food brand on a mission to transform the way we approach our food system, putting people and the planet at the forefront. Gotham Greens produces and delivers long-lasting and delicious leafy greens, herbs, salad dressings, dips, and cooking sauces all year round to retail, restaurant, and foodservice customers. A Certified B Corporation™, Gotham Greens sustainably grows high-quality produce using up to 95% less water and 97% less land than conventional farming through its national network of climate-controlled, high-tech greenhouses across America, including locations in New York, Illinois, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia, Colorado, California, Georgia and Texas. Since its launch in 2011, Gotham Greens has grown from a single urban rooftop greenhouse in Brooklyn, N.Y., to one of the largest hydroponic leafy green producers in North America. Gotham Greens products are available in more than 6,500 locations nationwide, including Whole Foods Market, The Kroger Co., Sprouts Farmers Market, Albertsons, Target, FreshDirect, AmazonFresh and more. For more information, visit gothamgreens.com.