Post Content

Commissioner Scott Soares

Commissioner Scott Soares

Commissioner, Department of Agriculture Resources (DAR)

View Commissioner Soares' Bio

RS_364_0

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.

331

Written By:

Recent Posts

The View from Massachusetts posted on Sep 17

The View from Massachusetts

While Massachusetts can claim significant success in urban river revitalization, dam removal, cranberry bog naturalization and stream flow restoration, globally there are daunting challenges to restore highly impacted or vanishing ecosystems that will test the acumen of ecologists, engineers and politicians for years to come.

2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: September posted on Sep 12

2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: September

September’s photo contest winner was Gary Kamen, who photographed Mount Warner Vineyard in Hadley. Mount Warner Vineyards is a farm-winery located in Hadley, a small town in the beautiful Pioneer Valley. Operated by Gary and Bobbie Kamen, their philosophy is to recognize the unique characteristics of   …Continue Reading 2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: September

Calling All Shuckers! posted on Sep 3

Calling All Shuckers!

Do you know where the oysters you ate at the raw bar last night were grown? Do you know how oysters are grown? Oysters naturally inhabited the eastern coast dating back to the 1700s, but due to over-harvesting, disease, and habitat loss, wild oysters have   …Continue Reading Calling All Shuckers!