Where We Began…

After a difficult period due to the COVID19 pandemic, the What Cheer Flower Farm successfully hosted its annual Flower Festival & Fundraiser in the summer of 2022. That same year, the farm’s Board of Directors was tasked with researching the options for handling the dangerous derelict factory conditions on the farm site and imagining the path forward for the future of the farm.

How We Progressed…

After several community outreach events engaging the neighbors of Olneyville and beyond, a plan to remediate the contaminated materials left behind at the former Colonial Knife Factory was finalized in early 2023.

Grant money from The RI DEM Brownfields fund was pivotal to the realization of this clean up project. Additionally, after the start of the Brownfield Remediation in May of 2023, it was announced that What Cheer Flower Farm was also awarded a $500,000.00 MARC grant via the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

In spring 2023, the construction trucks arrived at the farm and got to work taking down the dangerous factory ruins. Since then, the progress of this project has moved along swiftly thanks to the combined efforts of the experienced construction teams of R.T. Nunes & Sons, the environmental consultants at Verdantas, the site plans by Union Studios, and our building representatives CSL Consulting, LLC.

A public hearing was held on July 17th, 2023 to discuss an application by Verdantas LLC, for the reuse of soils containing naturally occurring manganese at levels above residential standards.

What’s Next?

Over the coming year, the What Cheer Flower Farm hopes to have all of the remediated land ready for the next phase of development. Next steps include bringing in fill to level and cap the site which will enable it to become pad ready for the implementation of the site plan as designed by Union Studios. 

Additionally, What Cheer Flower farm is grateful for the Rhode Island Foundation’s work to establish a designated endowed fund that allows our organization flexible access to funds for capital needs. Donors who are interested in supporting the farm’s capital campaign can do so by donating to the What Cheer Flower Farm Capital Fund at the Foundation.