Hope grows where debris flourished

An urban farm isn’t easy to pull off, but the founders of What Cheer Flower Farm transformed a debris-filled lot in Providence to a field of flowers in a single season.

The nonprofit, which formed in October, purchased a former factory with the help of donors at 46 Atwood St. and 28 Agnes St. in late May.

Led by program director Shelby Doggett, director of horticulture Marian Purviance and marketing chief Anne Holland, the farm expects to harvest at least a few hundred bouquets this year. The seeds were donated, and the nonprofit has survived on fundraising and donations.

No sales are being made to the public. The flowers, which include zinnia, sunflowers, dahlias and snapdragons, will be donated to social-service agencies and nonprofits, such as the Ronald McDonald House and the PACE Organization of Rhode Island.

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“People need beauty,” said Doggett.

The nonprofit hopes to one day convert an industrial building on the site to a job-training center for people interested in horticulture.

Today, volunteers are needed.

“We’re using watering cans,” Doggett said. “Volunteers who could water would be great.”

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