US (MN): $3.7M indoor farm hub approved in Minneapolis

The city of Minneapolis Wednesday officially approved the sale of the long-contested Roof Depot site to a neighborhood group planning to turn the warehouse into an indoor urban farm, housing, and community hub.

The $3.7 million purchase of the site, a former Sears warehouse in south Minneapolis, by the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute came after years of protests, legal fights, and advocacy. The agreement, part of a deal brokered by state lawmakers this summer, gives the group the ability to formally seek tenants and put its vision into action.

Cassie Holmes, a longtime East Phillips resident who sued Minneapolis over environmental and health concerns about the city’s plans to convert the site into a public works facility, said she could barely believe that the deal was done. “I actually thought I was going to pass out,” Holmes said.

Through the lawsuit and the media, Holmes shared the story of losing her son, Trinidad Flores, to a heart condition in 2013 when he was just 16. She learned that her neighborhood was among the most polluted in the state, resulting in well-documented health disparities and high levels of heart and respiratory disease, according to state data, and she believes that damaged her son’s health.

Last week, Sahan Journal reported on several federal Clean Air Act violations at a metal foundry adjacent to the Roof Depot site, resulting in years of high lead and particulate matter pollution in East Phillips. “It feels like this heavy weight has been lifted,” Holmes said.

Read the entire article at Sahan Journal

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