Local Agriculture: Spring on the Farm

Local Agriculture: Spring on the Farm

Farm life follows the path of the seasons. In March and April, it’s time to start planting leafy greens and root crops as one prepares for the warmer months ahead.  It is also a time of new life on a farm when animals are born.  At living history museums such as Old Sturbridge Village and the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, MA, folks can visit baby animals each spring such as newborn lambs, calves, and piglets!  Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Debut of Seasonal Cultural Itinerary

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: August Segment
Debut of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News!  Each month, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield,  joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Monday, August 29, 2016. This month Sienna and Lauren talked about agricultural fairs, fall festivals, one room schoolhouses and apples featured in the debut of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA:

Download a copy of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA. (38 page PDF) for the fall season.


Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).  Our next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be September 26th, 2016!

Save

Save

Save

Learning Ahead: Sept & Oct Cultural Itinerary for Western MA

Learning Ahead:
Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts
Seasons: Sept & Oct

Who am I? Where am I? These are the fundamental questions proposed by the humanities. Inquiries related to local history, literature, and education, inspire us to think deeply about the places where we live and how our identity fits into the context of our community and the seasons.

Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts is a new bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

With these downloadable seasonal itineraries, self-directed teens, lifelong learners, and families are encouraged to engage together in cultural opportunities that support similar interests, resulting in a shared history, strengthening sense of place.

Looking through a seasonal lens, our debut Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts is for the months of September and October and includes:

  • Participation in local CULTURE: Agricultural Fairs and Fall Festivals
  • PLACEMAKING through annual events: Guided Tours and Plein Air Paint Outs
  • Gathering and preparing seasonal FOOD: Apples and Pumpkins
  • VALUE based engagement: Intergenerational, Skillsharing, and Community Meals
  • Marking the SEASON with annual events: Back-to-School and Halloween
  • Engage in local HABITAT: Nature Trails and Fall Foliage
  • INTEREST based learning: Domestic Arts, Pastry Arts, and Paranormal

Click here to download PDF (38 pages).


Mass Humanities This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Summer Opportunities to Connect People to Place through Wild and Cultivated Food

Summer Opportunities to Connect People to Place through Wild and Cultivated Food

Summer offers learning opportunities that integrate culinary arts with botany and agriculture. In addition to many, year-round offerings of culinary workshops and resources in Western Massachusetts, seasonal events such as guided wild plant walks can open up new doorways of interests and add local, fresh ingredients to your cooking practice.

Whether you are interested in wild plant walks, gardening, farming, or cooking, there are ample opportunities for you and your family to connect with your community through food and plants. Here are several community-based educational resources and events to support your interests while engaging in your community this summer: Read the rest of this entry »

Photo Contest Celebrates Place through the Lens of Agriculture

Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom Photo Contest

The 2017 MA Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest is seeking photographs of all types of agriculture, including pictures of farms/activities featuring cranberries, maple sugaring, flowers, Christmas trees, fruit, and farm animals.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The annual Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar is an excellent resource that serves as an educational tool for teachers, legislators and the public and is a collaboration of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom. The calendar provides an attractive daily reminder of the diversity of agriculture across the state. It includes monthly educational/teaching tips, special ag-related days and website links on each page. The contest offers a wonderful opportunity for young people to participate in a hands-on photographical and agricultural learning experience.

There is no age limit, so children and adults of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to enter! For more details and submission form, visit MA Agriculture in the Classroom. Submission deadline is June 1, 2016. (FREE)

[Photo credits: (c) Sienna Wildfield]

Greenfield: A Town with an Innovative Past, Present and Future

Take an educational trip right into Greenfield’s innovative past, present and future

Taken from the upper story front porch of the Grand Trunk Hotel in Turners Falls, this image shows the trolley near Second Street and Avenue A (c.1890), an example of trolly use in the Pioneer Valley. – Courtesy Image.

The Pioneer Valley Institute is offering a day tour of the highlights of Greenfield on Saturday, June 7: “Spring into Greenfield: A Trolley Ride Through our Town’s History and Architecture.” The town’s trolley bus will be the mode of transportation for the day, and is a reminder of the active trolley system available 100 years ago throughout the Connecticut River Valley.

Greenfield, its buildings, its industries, and farmland, offers a complex story. This hub town for Franklin County is the site of fine examples of architectural design, of industrial innovation, and of current efforts to retrofit Greenfield’s fine older buildings to conserve energy for the coming decades. Greenfield was a crossroads for train freight service and will soon see restored passenger service. Waterpower and fine farmland attracted early settlers and investors, and innovators and businesses continue to recognize opportunities in the town.

Read the rest of this entry »

More than Honey: Film Explores Relationship Between Bees & Human

Film & Local Panel Explore
Relationship Between Bees & Humans

Bee pollination is vital to the survival of 80% of the world’s plant species, yet populations of the fuzzy flying insects are declining all around the world. What does the decline in bee populations mean for farmers? Learn about this current and pressing issue at a screening of More Than Honey, a documentary that explores the effects of colony collapse disorder, the phenomenon responsible for bees’ recent scarcity.

Amherst Cinema and Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) have partnered to offer a special showing of the film More Than Honey at 7pm on Tuesday, October 15th. Along with the screening will be a panel discussion featuring local bee experts Dan Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary and Ben Clark of Clarkdale Fruit Farms…

Read the rest of this entry »

Exhibiting at the Fair

Youth Participation at Agricultural Fairs
Learning about History, Agriculture, Science & More

With agricultural fair season kicking off during the next few weeks, now is the time to begin preparing entries. The Massachusetts Agricultural Fairs Association offers a full list of the state’s fairs on its website, accompanied by links to fair websites where families can find lists of the exhibition categories offered at each event.

Agricultural fairs are an important tradition in New England, and all across the country. Such events showcase rural skills and traditions, and help to promote a strong connection between communities and their physical surroundings. In addition to the requisite amusement rides and midway games, fairs bring a celebration of an agrarian lifestyle, New England history, and local culture to communities all over the state throughout the summer and early fall. Each fair offers families opportunities participate in an important local tradition, and offers a myriad of learning experiences!

Of course, families can learn about vegetable farming, keeping livestock, creating beautiful quilts, identifying local wildlife, dairy production, and numerous other topics by viewing displays, watching demonstrations, and meeting local experts. However, a learning opportunity that is perhaps even more valuable for kids is becoming a fair exhibitor!

Each local fair offers community members an opportunity to enter items that showcase their talents and expertise in a wide range of categories. Community members of almost any age are invited to submit items, making the events an inter-generational opportunity to be a part of a historic New England tradition…

Read the rest of this entry »

Film Maker & Local Farmers Lead Community Conversation on Farming Past and Present

Pothole Pictures presents “Root Hog or Die”
May 17th & 18th in Shelburne Falls, MA

“Root Hog or Die” captures the lives and stories of the old time horse farmers in Franklin County in their own voices, faces, ingenious technology and well-tended land. According to Pothole Pictures coordinator, Fred DeVecca, “Rawn Fulton’s film provides a vibrant and down-to-earth historical context for the resurgence of local agriculture, CSAs and micro-farming in Franklin County today…It connects us to our neighbors, our history, the land and the farms we depend on and gives us all an opportunity to show our support for local agriculture.”

Nearly forty years after its first release, “Root Hog or Die,” the Franklin County documentary film on the last of the old time horse farmers in Western Massachusetts, re-appears on the big screen in Shelburne Falls. On Friday and Saturday, May 17th & 18th at 7:30pm, Pothole Pictures presents two screenings of “Root Hog or Die” in historic Memorial Hall Theater in downtown Shelburne Falls.

On Saturday, May 18, the film’s director, Rawn Fulton will present the recently re-mastered digital version of the original 56-minute film made in 1974, and will lead a community conversation about farming then and now together with a panel of local farmers. They include farmers and local families whose experience stretches back for generations and who are connected to many of the farmers featured in “Root Hog or Die” – Jim Wholey and the Dole family of Shelburne, and Al Pieropan of Ashfield.

Contemporary farmers with long family roots in Franklin County also include Faith and Peter Williams representing the Our Family Farms dairy cooperative and John and Carolyn Wheeler of Wheelview Farm. Newer arrivals to Franklin County farming include Paul Lacinski and Amy Klippenstein of Side Hill Farm in Hawley and David Fisher and Anna Maclay of Natural Roots CSA in Conway. New Roots brings the horse-powered farming tradition back to Franklin County in a new form – community supported agriculture. Recent Mohawk High School graduate will represent the new generation of young farmers revitalizing agriculture in Franklin County.

Read the rest of this entry »

Grow Food Northampton Host Area Premiere of “Fresh”

Local premiere of Fresh to benefit the Northampton Community Farm!

The film Fresh celebrates the innovative farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Grow Food Northampton hosts the area premiere of this inspiring film at the Academy of Music Theater in Northampton, MA on Friday, November 5th at 7pm.  All proceeds go to buy prime farmland in Florence, MA for the establishment of the Northampton Community Farm.  .


First few scenes in this trailer could be considered graphic (honest, yet graphic). Please review trailer for appropriateness before allowing young children to view.

The film Fresh celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.

Among several main characters, Fresh features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, a 2008 recipient of the MacArthur “genius” grant and recently named one of Time’s 100 most influential people; sustainable farmer and entrepreneur Joel Salatin, made famous by The Omnivore’s Dilemma, the best-selling book by Michael Pollan, who is also featured in the movie; and, Kansas City supermarket owner David Ball, who is challenges our Wal-Mart-dominated economy every day by stocking his stores with products from local suppliers.

Fresh is more than a film; it is a reflection of a rising movement of people and communities across America who are re-inventing our food system, communities like Grow Food Northampton. Fresh celebrates the food architects who offer a practical vision of a new food paradigm and consumer access to it. Encouraging individuals to take matters into their own hands, Fresh is a guide that empowers people to take an array of actions as energetic as planting urban gardens and creating warm composts from food waste, and as simple as buying locally-grown products and preserving seasonal produce to eat later in the year.

Throughout the film, we encounter the most inspiring people, ideas, and initiatives happening around the country right now. At the Growing Power urban farm in Milwaukee, Will Allen is turning three acres of industrial wasteland into a mecca of nutrition for his neighborhood. In Kansas City, we witness David Ball revitalize his community, turning the modern concept of the Supermarket on its head by stocking his stores with produce from a cooperative of local farmers. And, we journey to Joel Salatin’s farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley to witness his methods for closing the nutrient cycle, allowing cows, chickens, pigs and natural grasses to flourish and produce without ever an ounce of chemical fertilizer or industrial animal feed.
FRESH tells the stories of real people, connecting audiences not with facts and figures or apocalyptic policy analysis, but with examples of personal initiative and concrete ways to engage in a new food model.

Mark your calendars: Friday, November 5, 7pm at the Academy of Music. Tickets $8 can be purchased at Serios, Cup & Top, State Fruit Store, Cooper’s Corner, or Broadside Books. Also available at the door. Contact Grow Food Northampton
for questions: info@growfoodnorthampton.com.

The Bounty of Local Food and Farm Products Grows in Western MA!

UPDATE: Read about CISA’s 2011 Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide HERE.

CISA’s 2010 Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide

Let CISA help your family be a Local Hero by picking up their new 2010 "Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide" and discovering local products, farms, restaurants, retailers, and much more!

Summer is almost here, and the bounty of locally grown produce and agricultural products continues to grow. Western Massachusetts farms are geared up to provide everything from asparagus and alpaca wool to zucchini and zinnias. But where to begin your search for the best that Valley farms have to offer? With the annual Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide, a free full-color publication distributed by Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) during the week of May 24th.

This year’s Guide contains more than 60 pages of farm and local agricultural products listings, including 202 farms, 46 restaurants, 28 retailers, eight landscape and garden centers, and 24 other businesses and institutions that make, sell, or serve locally grown goods. Readers will also find a farm product seasonality calendar, a farm and garden locator map, profiles of this year’s Local Hero Award recipients, and information on the growth of the area’s local food system.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Future of Agriculture

The Future of Agriculture: Forum & Film

FARMING FORUM

On Thursday, May 13th at 7:00 pm, CISA is hosting a Local Food and Agriculture Forum at the Northampton Senior Center (67 Conz Street) to discuss the important role consumers, farmers and local government play in supporting a healthy, sustainable and thriving local food system.

Please join CISA staff, Rep. Steve Kulik (D-Worthington), Rep. John Scibak (D- South Hadley), Cris Coffin of American Farmland Trust and other local legislators and agriculture experts for a discussion about the challenges facing local farms as they work to grow food in the Pioneer Valley.

This is a great opportunity to participate in a conversation about the future of agriculture and the importance of local agriculture to our health, our climate and our local economy. This event is free and open to the public.

A FARM FOR THE FUTURE

In the meantime … If you missed the Farm Film Festival last month and didn’t get a chance to see the BBC documentary, “A Farm for the Future” is a great film to watch.  The film is broken up into several segments on youtube, with the first 10 minute segment being presented here.  A free public screening on June 4th in Northampton, MA. (details below):

In this film, “Wildlife film maker Rebecca Hosking investigates how to transform her family’s farm in Devon into a low energy farm for the future, and discovers that nature holds the key.

“With her father close to retirement, Rebecca returns to her family’s wildlife-friendly farm in Devon, to become the next generation to farm the land. But last year’s high fuel prices were a wake-up call for Rebecca. Realising that all food production in the UK is completely dependent on abundant cheap fossil fuel, particularly oil, she sets out to discover just how secure this oil supply is.

“Alarmed by the answers, she explores ways of farming without using fossil fuel. With the help of pioneering farmers and growers, Rebecca learns that it is actually nature that holds the key to farming in a low-energy future.”

LOCAL SCREENING OF A FARM FOR THE FUTURE

Grow Food Northampton and Transition Northampton will be co-sponsoring a local food potluck, CSA tour, and screening of this excellent film on Friday, June 4th May 28th at 6pm at Town Farm in Northampton, MA.

Following the film, Lilly Lombard will share the vision and work of Grow Food Northampton, especially their campaign to purchase 100 acres of prime farmland (the Bean/Allard land) to create a model site for sustainable community farming and farm education.

Research Shows Children are Critically Susceptible to Pesticides

Research Shows Children are Critically Susceptible to Pesticides
By Michael Jolliffe

Young children are potentially susceptible to certain pesticides for a longer period of time than previously thought. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

A new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives has revealed that children are dangerously vulnerable to the effects of environmental pesticides, and for far longer than originally suspected…

… Of particular concern to the researchers were chlorpyrifos and diazinon, pesticide chemicals still used ubiquitously in US agriculture. Pesticides have been cited as a possible cause of developmental difficulties and childhood cancers.

Read more here: Research Shows Children are Critically Susceptible to Pesticides.

%d bloggers like this: