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Merrimack Valley

November 28, 2013

North Salem Church to host craft fair Dec. 7


TD Charitable Foundation donates 10K to CLASS

LAWRENCE — Social enterprise plans moved ahead at CLASS Inc., after the TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, donated $10,000 as part of the bank’s commitment to giving back to the community.

CLASS, headquartered in Lawrence for more than 35 years, supports people with disabilities and their families with services, programs and employment development. The funds from the TD Charitable Foundation will assist the human services agency in evaluating property on which to build, conducting a site survey and begin building plans for a hydroponic greenhouse at which individuals with disabilities will be employed in greenhouse operations as farmers and customer service representatives.

“The individual is at the center of our work, the heartbeat of everything we do here at CLASS,” said CLASS President Bob Harris.

Hydroponics offers a unique solution to food production, especially in food deserts such as Lawrence.

According to Crop King, a specialist in the business of controlled environment agriculture and hydroponics since 1982, hydroponic farming yields 10 times the harvest of broad acre or traditional field farming and the environmental footprint is much smaller. Plants are grown in a water-nutrients mix, so farmers do not experience soil degradation, fertilizer runoff or resulting waterway pollution.

“We will not be using as many pesticides in hydroponic farming and, believe it or not, we will use less water — about 10 percent of the water used in traditional farming,” Harris added.

“A staunch commitment to active involvement in the local community is a vital element of the TD Bank philosophy,” said Dan Griggs, Market President — Northeastern Massachusetts for Commercial Banking. “The TD Charitable Foundation provides support to affordable housing, financial literacy and education, and environmental initiatives, many of which focus on improving the welfare of children and families.

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