Commissioner Scott Soares
Commissioner, Department of Agriculture Resources (DAR)
This Sunday, sun is in the forecast to shine the light on a win-win-win project for the town of Northampton. The Trust for Public Land (TPL) spearheaded a conservation initiative at the local and state level to preserve open space for public recreation opportunities like fishing and hiking, community gardening, and the opportunity to buy local food direct from local farmers.
The public is invited to join in the celebration at the ground breaking event on Sunday, May 22nd from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. where visitors can enjoy local asparagus, strawberries, cake, and music. There will be many activities including a river walk, organized sports, and horse and wagon tours.
TPL brokered deals with two sellers, ultimately purchasing the Bean and Allard farms in December of 2010. Twenty-four acres were conveyed to the city of Northampton for use as a recreational complex, 35 acres along the Mill River to the Northampton Conservation Commission for addition to the Mill River Greenway, and an Agricultural Preservation Restriction over the remaining farmland to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the city of Northampton. GrowFood Northampton, a non-profit organization, led a successful $670,500 campaign to purchase the farmland so it could be leased to organic farmers and gardeners who will grow food for local consumption.
Growers who lease land on the new community farm will employ sustainable production techniques, provide on-farm educational opportunities, and commit to helping low-income residents gain access to fresh, local foods. The farmland is part of DAR’s Agriculture Preservation Restriction program, which was established in 1977. EEA’s Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities Program (PARC) also provided a $500K grant that was used for the acquisition, design, and construction of the new recreation park facility.
The Bean and Allard Farm project has permanently preserved 121 acres and demonstrates that communities can cooperate with local, state, and federal partners – through USDA’s Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program for example - to achieve great success.
For more information or to RSVP to this weekend's event, visit www.tpl.org/Massachusetts or contact Clem Clay at (413)253-6686.
A Whale of a License Plate posted on Jul 28
Wish your license plate was more identifiable? Want to save whales? Well, there is a way to achieve both of these at once. Perhaps the old saying about hitting two birds with one stone should be “do two cool things with one easy payment to the …Continue Reading A Whale of a License Plate
Before the Boston Seafood Festival, Reconsider the Lobster posted on Jul 23
Everything that you have been told about lobsters is a lie. Okay, maybe not everything. But despite the popularity of the lobster industry (and it’s a very popular industry—bringing in over $53 million dollars in Massachusetts alone), many popular beliefs about the lobster’s existence are …Continue Reading Before the Boston Seafood Festival, Reconsider the Lobster
Braille Trail Coming Soon to Watertown posted on Jul 21
The town of Watertown, in partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will be opening a Braille Trail and a Sensory Garden, one of the few parks of its kind. Breaking ground on July 21st, this project hopes to be completed by late …Continue Reading Braille Trail Coming Soon to Watertown