Feb. 14, 2019

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announces the next Green Living Seminar will take place on Thursday, Feb. 21, with a presentation on “Farming in the City” by Lydia Sisson, co-founder of Mill City Grows in Lowell.

Mill City Grows fosters food justice by increasing community access to healthy, fresh food through the development of urban food production and distribution networks.

All Green Living Seminars will take place at 5:30 p.m. in room 121 of the Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation on the MCLA campus. Presented on Thursdays throughout the spring semester, this series is free and open to the public.

The theme of this semester’s series is “Sustainable Food and Farming,” which focuses on the past, present, and future of how food is produced and distributed in our region, and strategies for improving the sustainability of our food system.

Sisson will speak about the unique benefits and challenges of urban agriculture, as well as what inspired her to create Mill City Grows – one approach to transforming land in a gateway city and building community empowerment and support for a healthier food system.

She is an experienced commercial farmer and small business owner who earned her a master’s degree in economic and social development of regions from UMASS-Lowell, and her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Sisson also earned a certificate in Amazon resource management and human ecology from the School for International Training in Belém, Para, Brazil.

Before starting Mill City Grows, Sisson ran a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm for four years, feeding 75 families and selling wholesale product to other regional CSAs. Her expertise in food production is backed by nine years of commercial agricultural experience, and her understanding of community organizing is rooted in years of coalition-building work in Lowell.

Sisson serves on the Massachusetts Governor’s Board of Food and Agriculture, as well as the Cannabis Advisory Board, and was the founding member of the Lowell Food Security Coalition. 

Mill City Grows creates and manages community gardens where residents can grow their own food, creates urban farms where thousands of pounds of food are grown for distribution throughout each of Lowell’s neighborhoods, partners with Lowell Public Schools to install gardens and provide garden and nutrition education through its school garden program, and increases access to local food with its mobile market.

This semester’s Green Living Seminars will take place through April 25. Following Sisson’s talk on Thursday, Feb. 21, the next Green Living lecture will take place on Thursday, Feb. 28, when James Mayer, a farmer at Grateful Greens in Stephentown, N.Y., presents “Indoor Farming: The Future of Food?”          

Podcasts of this semester’s Green Living lectures will be posted online following each presentation at

MCLA’s Green Living Seminar Series hosts lectures by local, regional, and national experts. The seminars are organized around a central theme related to the environment and sustainability. The 2019 series is a presentation of the MCLA Environmental Studies Department and MCLA’s Berkshire Environmental Resource Center.

For more information, go to or contact Traister at (413) 662-5303 or

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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