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CSA – Community Supported Agriculture is for You

Winterfare Market February, 2012

For some people the initials CSA are just another of those annoying acronyms that can make our conversations sound like an unintelligible inter-office memo. For some CSA means Community Supported Agriculture which encompasses delicious local food, help for the farmer, and a community of like-minded folk who enjoy fresh food, and enjoy knowing they are supporting farmers and farms, and the very land and environment that surrounds us.

Small farmers never think they are going to get rich doing what they love. They only hope they won’t go broke after a bad season. In the 1980s a new idea came on the scene when the first community supported agriculture farms were first organized. The idea is that people would buy shares in the farm and its harvest at the beginning of the growing year, essentially sharing the risks the farmer would face over the course of the season. Would there be flooding rains? Drought? Would blight kill all the tomatoes? Mother Nature can throw all kinds of disasters at a farmer. CSA members are essentially buying the harvest as crops are planted and becoming a part of a community – a “we’re all in this together” community sharing the risk, the worry and the joys of the farm.

When I first became aware of Community Supported Agriculture some years ago, there were not many CSA farms or people buying shares. The organizational elements were fairly standard. An individual or family would buy a share in the spring, and then as the May and June harvest started coming in they would pick up their weekly boxed or bagged share of greens, beans, radishes and vegetables of every type in season. Because man does not live by carrot alone, many CSAs also included a bouquet of summer flowers.

Now there are many more CSAs in our area. I spoke with Phil Korman, Executive Director of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) who said that in the three counties, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden, in 2009 there were about 4550 farm shares sold, but in 2012 that number had increased to about 7300 farm shares sold. Some of those shares were to people outside the three counties. The expectation is that the number has continued to increase but statistics are only collected every five years. Korman pointed out that those farm shares did not include winter shares which are now available.

In fact, there are now many more kinds of CSA shares that people can buy. In addition to the regular vegetable garden shares, there are shares for meat, fish, eggs, flowers, and grain.

The last few years have seen other changes in CSA distributions. Originally, a shareholder paid up, and then picked up that share weekly at the farm. Nowadays CSA shares can be delivered to various sites including schools, retirement communities, and work sites.CooleyDickinsonHospitalallows staff to pay for their share with a payroll deduction, and the share is delivered to the hospital.  Some people share a share with a neighbor

Hager’s Farm Market and Upinngill Farm sell vouchers. The Hager vouchers are dated for use throughout the season, but they can be used at the Market on Route 2 in Shelburne with the shareholder making his own choices, for produce or pies, eggs or yogurt. Upinngill’s vouchers are not dated. Several can be used at one time. In both cases, at the Hager Farm Market and the Upinngill farmstand, the vouchers provide for a discount, so you are saving money, as well as getting wonderful produce.

There are 15 CSA farms inFranklinCounty, inGreenfield, Montague, Gill, Leyden, Colrain,Sunderland, Ashfield, Whately, and Berndarston. Each CSA farm delivers its share one day a week. All of them are now signing up shareholders for the 2014 season.

Western Massachusettshas been “an incredibly receptive community” to desiring and buying local farm products Korman said. The first local, and now longest running CSA farm is Brookfield Farm inAmherst. The first Winterfare was created inGreenfieldby volunteers just a few years ago. Now farmers plant winter storage crops for the 30 winter farmers markets that are ongoing across the state. CISA was the first non-profit organization in the state and created the Local Hero marketing project.

Currently there are 55 Local Hero restaurants using local produce for a total of about $2 million a year. There are also 240 Local Hero farms. They sold between 2002 and 2007 $4.5 million worth of farm products, but that amount has now doubled to $9 million. Food coops account for $16 million in sales. Right now in the three counties between 10%-15% of our food is fresh local food, but CISA’s goal is to have 25% of our food grown and enjoyed locally.

I was shocked that we are eating so little local food, but Korman gently pointed out that the whole population ofFranklinCountyis only half the population of the city ofSpringfield. I can see that it will be a great day when everyone inSpringfieldgets 25% of their dinners from local farms. I have to keep reminding myself that not everyone lives in our beautiful and fertile valley or near a hilltown farm where fresh food is available for a good part of the year.

It’s finally getting warmer. It’s time to think about fresh salads, grilled vegetables and corn on the cob. It’s time to think about the possibility of joining a Community Supported Agriculture farm.

You can find a full listing and information about local CSA farms on the CISA website. http://www.buylocalfood.org/buy-local/find-local/csa-farm-listing/

Between the Rows  April 5, 2014

Cellars and Cave Tour with the Heath Agricultural Society

Sheila Litchfield in the Dell

The Heath Agricultural Society gave us all a chance to  go exploring the cellars and caves of our neighbors  this past Saturday. Root cellars, cider cellars and a cheese cave. Who could resist this opportunity? Over 50 people signed up for this tour, many of them from towns beyond Heath. Even Springfield! I took one group around beginning with Sheila Litchfield who first explained the basics of cheesemaking. Chemistry. Bacteria. Sheila is a nurse so she knows all about bacteria. When Sheila isn’t milking her three goats to make cheese, serving as Rowe’s town nurse, and serving as a member of Heath’s selectboard, she spends ‘her spare’ time canning the produce from the large Litchfield garden. Oh, and she also gives cheesemaking workshops!

Cheese Cave

Sheila built her cheese cave in the cellar. Here, with carefully monitored temperature and humidity, she stores cheese that needs aging.  She explained that she can only have one kind of cheese in this small cave, because the different cheese bacterias will infect each other, to the benefit of neither.

Litchfield Root storage

Our group got a bonus! Sheila showed us how she stores root vegetables, in crocks, on the bulkhead stairs. Not too much left at this time of year.

Andrew at Benson Place Blueberry Farm

Then it was off to the Benson Place Blueberry Farm, where noted artist Robert Strong Woodward  often painted, and where  I often took young grandsons to pick their own low bush blueberries. Andrew and his family have been farming here for three years. When the basement was given a cement floor in the 1960’s a corner space was left unpaved, in expectation of a root cellar. Andrew finally finished the root cellar which now has two cement foundation walls, and two walls built of rigid silvery insulation panels, extra fiberglass insulation and heavy weight black plastic. His root cellar has a window which makes it possible, with the help of flexible ductwork, to bring extra air circulation. At this point Andrew says they buy bulk vegetables from farms like Atlas Farm to store. They also use the root cellar for other foods like yogurt and meat when the refrigerator is too full.

 

Draxler root cellar

Andy and Sue Draxler could not put their root cellar in the cellar because their furnace made that space too warm. They poured a cement floor in their large garage/workshop, but left one corner unpaved to provide the necessary moisture for their root cellar. While Andrew’s root cellar is a little room with a window, the Draxlers built what is essentially a large closet. It is divided in two, with the intention of providing dry cold storage on one side, and moist cold storage on the other.  That has not worked out as they expected, and both sides are quite moist. Sue Draxler explained are working on a fix  for that. They do have their potatoes on one side and apples on the other. These two should never be stored together because the apples produce ethylene gas as they ripen, and this will cause the potatoes to sprout more quickly. Like, Andrew, the Draxlers have very little left in their root cellar at this time of the year.  Sheila, Andrew and Sue all acknowledged that they had some produce loss because of the extremely cold temperatures for an extended period this year, made it impossible to keep root cellar temperatures above 32 degrees. Generally speaking root cellars should be keep between 40 and 55 degrees.

Bob Bourke and his cider press

After root cellars, we went off to explore cider cellars.  Hard cider, that is. Bob Bourke took everyone down to  his cellar to show his equipment  and fermenting carboys of cider. Then we all went up to the porch to see his cider press. Bob  bought his house and property about five or six years ago and was happy that it came with a cider orchard. He has 45 trees of various apple cultivars like Golden Russets, Baldwins, Northern Spy, Gravensteins, Jonathans and others. Good, complex ciders depend on a flavorful mix of apples.  Making cider also depends on controlling the yeasts, which means cleanliness and isolation in air-locked barrels and carboys. Bob explained that it is not really difficult to make cider, but cleanliness is vital. It is also very  timeconsuming when it is time to sterilize the bottles, fill and cap them.  He gave out samples to our thirsty crew.

Doug Mason in his cider cellar

Doug Mason gets most of his apples from Bob. They  do a lot of work – and tasting – together. He has some additional equipment that we hadn’t seen at Bob’s. To cut down on the time required for washing and sterilizing bottles, he has bought several stainless steel kegs, like those that beer  comes in. Much easier to clean a keg than  bottles for an equal amount of beer. He also has a bottling and capping gadget that, with a two man crew, makes this operation fairly quick. He also gave out samples. Warming!  And very nice. This cider cellar is about 50 degrees. Chilly. Doug ferments his cider in the barrel for  about a year or so, then bottles it, and keeps it for another year. Bob’s cellar is warmer, and it takes the cider longer to mature in Doug’s colder cellar. So much to learn.

Lunch!

Back at the Community Hall we could warm up. Hours spent talking about food and drink prepared us for a fabulous lunch, chilis, soups, breads, pies and cider! All prepared for tour participants by members of the Heath Agricultural Society. That is Justin Lively, Society President, in the center rear of the photo. Lots of enthusiastic conversations! The big question? What other kinds of tours can we have in Heath? What kinds of tours might other towns create?

Greenfield Winter Fare 2014

Winter Fare veggies

If I am counting correctly this is the 7th Greenfield Annual Winter Fare which will bring truckloads of fresh local vegetables to Greenfield High School on Saturday, February 1.  Enter from Kent Street off Silver Street. Beyond  vegetables there will be preserved products like pickles and syrup, honey and jams. Frozen meat!  And to keep you shopping from 10 am til 1 pm music will be provided by Last Night’s Fun, and soup provided by The Brass Buckle, Hope and Olive, Wagon Wheel and The Cookie Factory will help you keep up your strength.

At 1 pm there will be a Barter Swap. Anyone with extra home made or home grown food can gather for an informal  trading space where you can make your own swapping deals.

There is more to the Winter Fare than the Farmer’s Market. Open Hearth Cooking Classes on Saturdays, Feb. 1 and 8, 10 am – 2:30 pm at Historic Deerfield.  Contact Claire Carlson  ccarlson@historic-deerfield.org.  $55 per person.

Screening of Food For Change and discussion with film maker, Wednesday, Feb 5, 6:30 pm at the Sunderland Public Library. Call 43-665-2642 for more info.

Annual Franklin County Cabin Fever Seed Swap Sunday Feb. 9, 1-4 pm Upstairs at Green Fields Market, www.facebook.com/greefieldsunflowers for more info.

Seed Starting Workshop Sunday, Feb 9, 1 pm at the Ashfield Congregational Church. Sponsored by Share the Warmth. More info: Holly Westcott  westcottha@verizon.net.

Winter Fare is obvioulsy about more  than Fare, this is a Fair atmosphere that brings a community together.

Forbes Library Leads Off Garden Tour Season

Julie Abramson’s Garden

Julie Abramson’ s garden  is just one of six garden that will enchant garden lovers on the Forbes Library Garden Tour on Saturday, June 8, from 10 am til 3 pm. Julie’s is a collector’s garden that features some notable trees, clematis, and a colorful array of perennials and a rock garden. I was intrigued by the description of a rustic arbor covered with climbinbing hydrangea, PLUS two other arbors covered with roses, honeysuckle and clematis. Pure romance!

One garden combines formal and informal elements with wonderful and whimsical sculptures, and a tree house. Another garden is organically maintained with a focus on native plants. The terraced backyard features many beautiful trees and shrubs. One garden consists of six colorful garden rooms and a formal French vegetable garden. I cannot miss that. There is a lawn free garden! Perennials, shrubs, trees, vines and a grid of groundcovers, but no turf. The sixth garden surrounds a four unit condominium with a woodland in the front yard, and invidual private gardens. Clearly, there is  something for everyone. Gardens to inspire and teach.

The tickets are $15.00 ($20.00 on the day of the tour) and can be bought at Forbes Library, State St. Fruit in Northampton, Cooper’s Corner in Florence, Hadley Garden Center and Bay State Perennial Farm in Whately.  There are also tickets for wonderful raffle items for gardens on sale at the library; they include 2 yards of Bill Obear’s compost; gift items from Women’s Work; a garden consultation from Jim McSweeney, a planted container and gift certificate from Annie’s and gift certificates of $50.00 from Bay State Perennial Farm and $100.00 from Hadley Garden Center as well as other fun items.

What a wonderful way to start the garden tour season – and help the Forbes Library which is such an important library, serving many readers beyond the Northampton borders. Proceeds will benefit the Forbes Library

Benefit Plant Sales Galore

Solomon's Seal and azalea

Benefit plant sales are a traditional spring event. Gardeners can spruce up their gardens and benefit various community organizations. Which will you choose? Or will you choose them all? Have you thought about giving your mother a gift certificate (one way or another) so she can pick out  some flowers herself?

This Saturday, May5 the Greenfield Library will open its plant sale at 9:30 am on the front lawn. It will close by 12:30, unless everything is gone earlier, of course. The book sale will also be going on so you might find some helpful garden books as well.

St. James Church will hold its ‘Come Grow With Us’ plant sale from 9am – 2pm on  the church. There will be many perennials for sale as well as heirloom tomato plants. Two trellises, one bamboo and one hickory, will be raffled off the day of the sale. There will also be children’s activities.

The Bridge of Flowers will hold its Annual Plant Sale on Saturday, May 19 at the Trinity Church’s Baptist Lot on Main Street in Shelburne Falls from 9 to noon. There will be nearly 1000 perennials for sale, from the Bridge and area gardeners, specialty plants from Hillside Nursery (a rare opportunity to buy these) and scores of annuals from LaSalles. Many vendors will be selling garden related items from note cards, tools, glass beads, books, sculptures, and more!

Bleeding heart

Nasami Farm in Whately, the New England Wildflower Society‘s nursery, is open on weekends now. Buying their beautiful plants will benefit the New England Wildflower Society, one of the oldest conservation organizations in the country, your own landscape and the environment.  Three for one!

 

The Harvard Forest

The Pre-colonial woodlands c. 1700

The Harvard Forest is located in Petersham. That is the first thing I learned about the Harvard Forest, which actually belongs to and is cared for by Harvard University. It is not located in the town of Harvard.

I first heard of the Harvard Forest and the Fisher Museum when I met John O’Keefe a year ago after he had retired from his position at the Harvard Forest. Recently I called O’Keefe because I wanted to know why I suddenly seemed to be seeing so many beech trees in our local woodlands. Beeches are easy to identify at this time of the year because they retain their leaves, even as they turn gold, and then brown and crisp. O’Keefe explained that the younger trees are even more likely to hold on to a good portion of their leaves because they are immature and do not yet produce the hormones that cause the leaves to drop.

When I told him that the trees I saw seemed to be pretty much of an age and were growing in groves he said one possibility was that these young trees were not seedlings but root suckers. “Several years ago many beech trees were attacked by beech bark disease. When the bark on the tree was damaged, stress caused the tree’s roots to send up suckers which grow rapidly.” He further explained that not all those root suckers would survive to adulthood, just as not every seed that germinates would survive to adulthood.

In another discussion with O’Keefe a few days later, he said he had been talking with a forester about the forests in Weston. Although there are only three mature beech groves in the Weston forests, this forester had also been impressed by all the ‘new’ beeches growing in the area. He cut isolated saplings in order to age them and found that they were all about 20 to 25 years old. He was so interested in this explosion of beeches that he sent samples to a lab for DNA testing and learned that they were all saplings, growing from seed.

Beech trees, obviously enough, produce beech nuts, sometimes called mast. The nuts should have germinated near the parent trees, but new groves were sprouting in new locations. The theory? Twenty to 25 years ago is when the wild turkey began its resurgence. Perhaps turkeys carried the beech nuts to more distant locations, much as other birds spread various seeds to new areas.

This is how I learn. One thing leads to another. A call to O’Keefe about my observations of  a beech tree explosion led to information about plant disease, plant hormones, propagation by root suckers, and plant dispersal by wildlife.

Having gotten so much information from O’Keefe in just a couple of friendly conversations, I decided to stop in at the Harvard Forest on my way home from Cambridge last week. Harvard University has managed the forest and used it as a research and educational facility for over 100 years. Originally intended as a laboratory to teach sustainable forest management, the focus of research changed after the 1938 hurricane destroyed 70 percent of the forest. Now research concentrates on soils and the ecological processes that affect forest development.

Since I was not ready to go trekking the trails in the forest that day I contented myself with a visit to the Fisher Museum, named for Professor Richard T. Fisher who founded and directed the first years of Harvard Forest. The Museum is small, but it is famous for the 23 dioramas that illustrate the landscape history of the New England woodlands from before the early colonists arrived, as well as issues of forest management and conservation.

John O’Keefe and David Foster have written a fascinating book titled “New England Forest Through Time: Insights from the Harvard Forest Dioramas,” which lays out in substantive form the history of our landscape and illustrates for the general reader, and landowner, new ways of looking at our woodlands and information about how those woodlands can be managed sustainably, with awareness of the ecological impact.

A scavenger hunt sheet will help children focus on the details of the dioramas while they begin to understand the changes in a woodland over time.

There are education programs for students beyond Harvard, from a summer research program for undergraduates from other institutions including community colleges, who need not be science majors, to a program with the Overlook Middle School in Ashburnham where students gather seasonal budburst and color change information from a webcam set up in the schoolyard trees. This Schoolyard Ecology webcam is the first of four more webcams to be installed in other school locations in the near future. The information the young students gather can be compared with webcams in the Harvard Forest. The whole program is part of a national phenology project. The goal is to study the influence of climate on the recurrence of annual phenomena like leaf budding.

Having discovered the Harvard Forest, or more specifically the Fisher Museum, I am now looking forward to visiting the Forest itself, and learning more from the volunteer guides who are on duty during the good weather. We have an old field white pine plantation that is self seeded, and so far those trees have escaped the dreaded white pine weevil. I am looking forward to learning more and becoming a more responsible forest manager.

The first settlements cleared woodlands

Between the Rows  November 26, 2011

DON”T FORGET – I’ll be reading my book, The Roses at the End of the Road, at Boswell’s Books, Sunday, December 4 at 2 pm. Hope to see you there. AND I’ll be signing books at Tower Square in Springfield on Tuesday, December 6 from noon to 2 pm and 4-6 pm next to the splendid Festival of Trees.

ALSO – if you want to win a copy of my book, and a copy of Debra Lee Baldwin’s Succulent Container Gardens, click here and leave a comment. I will have a drawing on Dec. 7 to celebrate my 4th blogoversary.

Massachusetts Horticultural Society

Massachusetts Horticultural Society - Wedding Garden

After I gave my talk about my roses, and other disease resistant roses, at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society last week, I  took a brief tour around the gardens. I can just imagine what this Wedding Garden must look like in June!

Weezie's Garden

Weezie’s Garden is the children’s garden at MHS. It is a charming space with a sand pit for the very youngest, a tower for the most adventurous, shade and sun and place for conversations. Lots of benches everywhere.

Water is an important element in ever garden. Even at this time of the year.

Lots of excitement coming up at MHS. Their third annual Festival of Trees complete with a gingerbread house competition, a raffle – and beautifully decorated trees opens on November 23.

Viewing Days: Wednesday, November 23 thru Saturday December 10 (open Thanksgiving Day)

Hours: weekends and the day after Thanksgiving: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Other days: 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Note: On December 10th the Festival will close at 7 p.m.

General Admission: $8 for Adults, Children under 12 FREE!
Children age 14 or younger must be accompanied by an adult.

AND on Wednesday, December 7, my friend Jane Roy Brown will be giving an illustrated talk about One Writer’s Garden: Eudora Welty’s Homeplace which I wrote about here.

 

Our Food, Economy and Community

Jim Barry

When I drove down the Greenfield Community College driveway last Saturday I passed ‘my tree,’ a weeping cherry that I donated when I left the College in 1989. I reveled in its good health, parked my car and walked towards the steps. A head popped out of the Sloan Theater door, calling to tell me I could take the elevator up. I called back, “No, no. Step to health. Step to health,” ever my motto as I was always up and down those stairs in my days with Continuing Education. A man right on my heels, asked me if I thought they were just being friendly or was the offer a reference to – and here he brushed his balding, white haired head and made me laugh. I had exactly the same thought, although I had a little more white hair.

My white haired companion turned out to be Jim Barry, Regional Coordinator, Green Communities Division, Western Region, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources who gave a great talk about what the state is doing in the areas of energy and the environment. His talk made me very happy that I live in Massachusetts. Although more remains to be done.

Shelly Beck

We trailed after a young woman in red to the front steps and met Shelly Beck. She represented Enterprise Farm and gave a presentation about the farm in the “How Can We Scale Up Our Food System?” workshop. These were just two of the ways that the Greening Greenfield Energy Committee found to inform and inspire an energetic group of area residents who were stepping up to action in a whole variety of ways.

I could not attend all the workshops at the Creating Greenfield’s Future: Our Food, Economy and Future conference, and was sorry to miss Youth as Change Makers where young people from the Seeds of Solidarity SOL (Seeds of Leadership) Garden in Orange shared their experiences, or Let’s Divorce the ‘Sick Care’ System that was about finding ways for us to take more responsibility for our health.  There were business workshops and the opportunity to spend more time with Ben Hewitt, author of “The Town that Food Saved,” who gave a thoughtful and engaging keynote speech.

It was the growing, processing and distribution of food that was of most interest to me on Saturday. Margaret Christie of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) led a discussion that made clear the challenges of our area, rich in land and skill as it is.

The first challenge is to find more ways to put potential new farmers in touch with people who have land available for farming. Start up costs for farming are considerable, especially land. It made me think that although Heath is not an ideal location in many ways, I would love to have some of our acreage under cultivation. I am definitely going to explore some of those linking resources beginning with local land trusts.

The second challenge is the need for more agricultural infrastructure. I know this from my own experience raising pigs and chickens for meat. Over the years we have been here the availability of slaughter houses has decreased – even as more people are interested in raising their own meat, and farmers are seeing a good local market.

Also if more food is produced here, we need more ways to process it to give farmers a year round income, not just during the growing season. That means freezing capabilities and cold storage.

I cannot begin to cover everything discussed, but the CISA report Scaling Up Local Food is available and downloadable on their website, www.buylocalfood.org.

In the afternoon, after a great lunch, I attended the Food Security: A Household Approach workshop. Eveline MacDougal talked about founding the Pleasant Street Community Garden and the benefits that go way beyond growing some vegetables, Jay Lord brought us up to date on Just Roots, the town’s new Community Garden space, Wendy Marsden gave advice about preserving our own harvests in a variety of ways, and Kimberly Walker-Goncalves gave an informative and amusing talk about raising chickens in town.

There are any number of people in town who might be happy to know that it is perfectly legal to have ten or fewer chickens in your backyard. Since I assume that anyone raising a backyard flock is more interested in eggs and the cheerfulness of the chickens, they don’t even have to worry about the lack of poultry slaughtering facilities.

Chickens are cheerful, domestic and productive. At least that is the way I have always thought of them. They are not much trouble, although as Goncalves pointed out, even in town you have to be aware of predators, not only neighborhood dogs but foxes and raccoons. I would add the caveat that you will not save any money, but the eggs will be unlike store eggs, and you’ll enjoy the chickens’ company.

Pigs are not quite as picturesque as a mixed flocked of silver laced wyandottes, barred rocks, and buff orpingtons, but it is legal to have two pigs in your backyard in Greenfield. And remember you must have at least two pigs in order for them to thrive. They are social animals and need a companion, and a little competition at the food trough.

Ben Hewitt

I left the conference to the rousing rhythms of Echo Uganda, but the words that were ringing in my ears were those of Ben Hewitt. “I want more than sustainable agriculture. I want restorative agriculture. Agriculture that restores our health, restores our soil and environment, restores our economy and restores our community.”

Thank you Greening Greenfield for an inspiring day.

Between the Rows   November 12, 2011

Yesterday and Today

Maureen Horn of MHS and me

Yesterday was a gray day at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, but all was sunny in the classroom where I talked about hardy and disease resistant roses to an enthusiastic group of gardeners. Maureen Horn, MHS librarian, introduced me in this, the first of a series of Meet the Author talks.

7 am November 18, 2011

This morning we woke up to snow. Again.

Scaling Up Local Food

The Solar Dancer

The Solar Dancer greeted all those who gathered at Greenfield Community College last Saturday to hear about and discuss our current local food production and food security and the ways that it might be stepped up.

It was an exciting day because we live in a fortunate area that has lots of good farmland, with old (in the sense of established) and new farmers. These farmers operate farmstands and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and participate in area Farmers Markets. We have the Community Development Corporation‘s certified kitchen which farmers can rent by the hour to process their crops.

We have restaurants and families who appreciate good fresh food that not only sustains them, but sustains our environment – and our economy!

The day was filled with excellent  presentations and workshops, from Jim Barry from the Mass Department of Energy Resources, Ben Hewitt, author of The Town That Food Saved and many local experts. You will be hearing more about this exciting day.

 

Shelly Beck of Enterprise Farm in Whately, MA

There were so many thought provoking ideas presented, including one by Shelly Beck of Enterprise Farm which has a bold vision of their place in the community. One of the Farm’s concerns is the Food Deserts that exist in the state, areas where (usually) low income communities have no access to affordable healthy food. Enterprise Farm decided to bring their produce to one such community near Boston where they already delivered CSA farm shares weekly. Their answer to the food desert was a bus and a celebration. They bought and retrofitted a bus which brought food to this community for a long season – bringing along a growing festive spirit and activity. This was one of the most inspiring moments of the day for me.