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New USDA offices in Greenfield to aid staffing increase, program expansion
05-11-2024 4:17 PM

By ANTHONY CAMMALLERI

GREENFIELD — The U.S. Department of Agriculture will open its new office at 59 Montague City Road on Wednesday, May 15, leaving behind the department’s former Federal Street location amid staffing increases and an expansion of new programs. “It’s a...

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PHOTO: Field crew
06-21-2024 1:25 PM


CISA reaches Growing Resilience campaign goal, awards more no-interest loans to farmers
06-19-2024 11:01 AM

By CHRIS LARABEE

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Fresh off awarding $222,000 in no-interest loans to farmers affected by 2023’s flooding, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) has also reached its $1.8 million goal in its Growing Resilience capacity-building...


More than 200 acres protected for agriculture in Deerfield’s North Meadows
06-15-2024 5:00 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

DEERFIELD — With the execution of two separate conservation restrictions by Historic Deerfield and the Antonellis family, more than 200 acres of land in Deerfield will remain permanently accessible for agriculture.In early May, Historic Deerfield...


PHOTO: Rest and relaxation
06-15-2024 4:01 PM


CISA’s first Pedal to Pasture event offers ‘a unique way to learn about farms’
05-30-2024 11:45 AM

By SAM FERLAND

HATFIELD — Bicyclists will be able to savor the local scenery while learning about the struggles farmers in the Connecticut River Valley are facing as they pedal a flat 12-mile loop on a guided tour of three different farms.This is the first year that...


Extreme weather forces Pioneer Valley farmers to adapt
05-13-2024 5:08 PM

By TANISHA BHAT

Ben Clark, the owner of Clarkdale Fruit Farms in Deerfield, received $120,000 from the $20 million Natural Disaster Recovery Program created last year after he lost the entirety of his peach crop and 70% of his apples and pears due to sudden cold...


Regional farming alliance strengthens educational, networking opportunities for apprentices
04-21-2024 10:19 AM

By CHRIS LARABEE

In 1994, a new movement began to grow out of the Pioneer Valley, Berkshires and Hudson Valley, as a group of organic farmers banded together to form a cooperative educational program for farm apprentices. That year marked the birth of the...


‘Bringing harvest to the community’: Shelburne Falls Community Orchard on the move
04-15-2024 11:47 AM

By VIRGINIA RAY

Though her original idea to start a small community orchard at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School doesn’t appear to be in the cards, Julia Godfrey will instead donate and move most of her fruit trees and bushes to the Demonstration Permaculture...


Farming challenges aired at state hearing
03-29-2024 5:18 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Climate change’s impact on farming, as well as emerging areas like urban agriculture, soil health and pollinators, are a focus for the University of Massachusetts Extension Agriculture Program, which continues to help farmers adapt and...


Pioneer Valley farmers spotlight agricultural drainage ditch troubles
03-27-2024 8:38 AM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

HADLEY — During a summer in which area farms dealt with significant rainfall and flooded fields, keeping agricultural drainage ditches cleared became essential to protecting crops by ensuring excess water could be removed.Often, though, farmers found...


Conway Planning Board OKs fee reduction for potential solar array on Roaring Brook Road
03-21-2024 4:35 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

CONWAY — As BlueWave Solar prepares to potentially expand its list of Franklin County projects by filing site plan review and special permit applications for an agrivoltaic solar array on Roaring Brook Road, the Planning Board approved a request to...


PHOTOS: Maple Month marches on
03-18-2024 5:04 PM


Talking up state’s farmland protection program: Farmers on board, but effort faces housing headwinds
03-18-2024 2:49 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

HADLEY — The owners of a Shelburne farm have permanently protected 100 acres through the Agricultural Preservation Restriction program, ensuring that the fertile land won’t be turned into a large, upscale housing estate or put to other uses.“That’s...


Farmers in the spotlight: CISA’s annual ‘Field Notes’ zeroes in on theme of resilience
03-15-2024 3:54 PM

By SAMUEL GELINAS

NORTHAMPTON — From flooding to fires, few people are as resilient as farmers.So it’s only fitting that Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture’s annual “Field Notes” event earlier this month included a host of local farmers sharing stories of...


As new season approaches, Pioneer Valley farmers plagued by streak of hardships
03-15-2024 3:29 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

Farming is already a tough field to make one’s living. Throw in three consecutive years of extreme weather and personal burnout and you’ve got a recipe for what is shaping up to be another difficult year for local farmers.With the weather whiplash of...


BlueWave pitches another agrivoltaic solar array in Northfield
03-14-2024 6:43 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

NORTHFIELD — Town residents got one of their first looks at a new proposed solar array on Pine Meadow Road while also getting an opportunity to talk to the developers on Wednesday during a Planning Board information session.BlueWave Solar is returning...


Greenfield’s Agricultural Commission springs back to life
03-09-2024 3:11 PM

By ANTHONY CAMMALLERI

GREENFIELD — More than four years since its dissolution, the Agricultural Commission is back from the dead with three new members.The newly appointed commissioners — Elizabeth Nett, David Johnson and Denise Leonard — were sworn in at City Hall on...


PHOTOS: The sweetest season
03-09-2024 3:10 PM


Longtime employees buy Kitchen Garden Farm in Sunderland
03-07-2024 10:47 AM

By CHRIS LARABEE

SUNDERLAND — The change of the seasons, as farmers know, often brings a slew of other changes along with it, and at Kitchen Garden Farm, this spring brings the largest change of all.Soon, the farm will change hands for the first time since its...


A ‘privilege to preserve’: Shelburne’s Kenburn Orchards placed in conservation restriction
03-03-2024 12:04 PM

By BELLA LEVAVI

SHELBURNE — Susan and Larry Flaccus, owners of Kenburn Orchards, have placed a conservation restriction on their land, ensuring no development will occur on the 152-acre property.“It really is the first significant farm on the Mohawk Trail coming up...

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