Grow Food Northampton

Meg Taylor of Williamsburg, MA writes:

Grow Food Northampton envisions a community farm to include CSA's, microdairy, farming microenterprises, farm store, community garden plots, apprentice trainings, workshops, community celebrations, school programs and camps right in Northampton, MA. You can help to make this happen!

Some of you may already know about the local nonprofit, Grow Food Northampton, and their plan to purchase 117 acres of prime farmland in Florence (walking distance from town center, near Meadow and Spring Sts.). If you read the Gazette, it is starting to get some press and you will see more in the upcoming months. The vision is to create the Northampton Community Farm on this land which will include a vegetable/flower CSA (which plans to sell shares for spring 2011), potentially a grain and meat CSA, microdairy, other farming microenterprises, a farm store with local products, and community garden plots. The vision also includes a farmer apprentice training program, adult workshops, community food celebrations, school programs, and future farm camp site. In addition, the abutting land will have hiking/biking trails along the Mill River connecting to Look Park and recreation fields for youth sports. This new public space will have a significant positive impact on the Northampton community as well as throughout the region.

I have been involved with Grow Food Northampton since last fall and I am writing to encourage you all – but especially those folks who live in Florence, Northampton, Leeds, or Williamsburg/Haydenville to make a donation (of any size!) towards the purchase of this agriculturally and historically rich land. Grow Food Northampton is 1/3 of the way to reaching their fundraising goal of $461,000 by January 31, 2011. If the remaining funds are not raised, the Northampton Community Farm and its programming will not happen as envisioned. Every donation counts! It’s easy to donate on their website.

Opportunities like this do not come around too often for a town and this is one you can be sure will leave a lasting impression on the food, farming, and community landscape of Northampton. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like more info or would like to become involved with the exciting work of Grow Food Northampton. Volunteers for upcoming events are always welcome! And please forward to anyone you think might be interested.

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Children Celebrate Local Farm Heroes Through Song

Local Farm Heroes Public Concert
at the Shelburne Falls Senior Center

Franklin County farmers will be interviewed in a vacation music project led by local songwriter, Sarah Pirtle (pictured above). Children ages 5 to 9 will meet and learn from the farmers and write a song about each of them. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Farmers from four different generations and four different types of farms will be honored by song in concert on Thursday, February 18th at 2pm at the Senior Center in Shelburne Falls, MA.

Franklin County farmers will be interviewed in a vacation music project led by local songwriter, Sarah Pirtle. Children ages 5 to 9 will meet and learn from the farmers and write a song about each of them.

  • Herb Purington of Wilson Hill Farm in Colrain is a seventh generation dairy farmer. The children will also hear haiku poetry about farm life by his daughter, poet Carol Purington.
  • Daniel Bodkin of Laughing Dog Farm in Gill will do a permaculture seed propagation demonstration.
  • Bethany Wiles will represent Hagers Brothers Farm in Colrain and their farm market in Shelburne.
  • Five year-old Leora Fisher from the CSA Natural Roots in Conway will be both a songwriter and describe her experiences as a farmer.

“I want children to meet farmers of many generations and feel the vitality and importance of small farming,” said Sarah Pirtle who wrote grants to do the project in support of local farms after releasing her ninth CD recording, Pocketful of Wonder, celebrating farming. The concert will include songs written by the children, songs of hers like “A Seed Knows What to Do,” and folk songs about farms including “Down on the Farm,” by Molly Scott.

This program is held at Arms Library in Shelburne Falls and is supported in part by a grant from the Shelburne Cultural Council and the Buckland Culture Council, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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