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.
EEA to host first Twitter Town Hall on Earth Day posted on Apr 14
Hello, I’m Rick Sullivan, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and this coming Earth Day, I invite you to talk with the EEA team and me directly about everything energy and environment-related that the Patrick Administration has accomplished. EEA will host its first …Continue Reading EEA to host first Twitter Town Hall on Earth Day
Massachusetts Agriculture Day posted on Apr 4
On Wednesday, March 26th, agriculture once again took center stage at the State House in Boston. Agriculture Day, also known as “Ag Day,” is the one day a year where farmers come together to focus legislative attention on agriculture. The day is organized by …Continue Reading Massachusetts Agriculture Day
2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: March posted on Mar 24
March’s Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest winner was Peg Mallett, who photographed customers purchasing Massachusetts maple syrup at The Wayland Winter Farmers’ Market at Russell’s Garden Center from Dale Wentworth of The Warren Farm & Sugarhouse in North Brookfield. Once a photojournalist, Peg began working at …Continue Reading 2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: March