By Patrick Anderson
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – The executive director of the Steel Yard is leaving the metalwork art and training nonprofit in the spring to open an urban farming supply store on the city’s west side.
Drake Patten has been in charge at the Steel Yard for seven years and is leaving March 1, she said this week. A successor at the Steel Yard has not been named.
The planned urban agriculture business will be named Cluck! and Patten hopes to open it in a vacant gas station at 399 Broadway by mid-March.
Cluck! is billed as a “one-stop-shop” for urban agriculture and homesteading activities such as vegetable gardening, chicken keeping, beekeeping, canning and cheese making.
In addition to retail supplies, such as feed and hardware, Patten also intends to provide off-site consulting for small-scale residential farmers in the area.
To open in the gas station, which the business would lease, Cluck! needs a variance from the city and Patten said there has been intermittent concern from neighbors about a retail presence in the long-closed gas station. She said she expects to have a hearing before the Providence Zoning Board in January.
A Cranston resident, Patten said the change in career was an opportunity to pursue a long-held goal.
“I have been in the nonprofit world for a very long time making other peoples’ dreams possible and this was my own dream, something I have wanted to do,” Patten said.