Farmers invited to learn about attracting native pollinators

  • A bee collects pollen in a sunflower at the sunflower maze at Our Legacy Farm in Montague. Farmers and others are invited to a free workshop titled “Attract Native Pollinators to Your Farm,” to be held at Just Roots farm in Greenfield on Thursday. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

  • Farmers and others are invited to a free workshop titled “Attract Native Pollinators to Your Farm,” to be held at Just Roots farm in Greenfield, pictured. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Report
Published: 9/20/2022 1:56:27 PM
Modified: 9/20/2022 1:55:48 PM

GREENFIELD — Farmers and others are invited to a free workshop titled “Attract Native Pollinators to Your Farm,” to be held at Just Roots farm on Thursday, Sept 22, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Attendees will hear about what to plant to attract pollinators, tips on maintenance, sources of funding and technical assistance. There will also be pizza and a tour of the 34 Glenbrook Drive farm.

“Building native pollinator habitat is critically important for food production as well as to address the bee, biodiversity and climate crisis,” Nancy Hazard, a member of Greening Greenfield, said in an event press release. “Just Roots, CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture), UMass Extension and NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) joined us to organize this workshop.”

Thursday’s workshop is timed to take place during Climate Change and Farming Week 2022, a new initiative that CISA is hoping to hold annually to draw attention to how farms and farmers are facing and adapting to climate change, according to Stephen Taranto, who was recently hired by CISA to develop climate change adaptation support programs. The CISA program coincides with the United Nations Climate Week NYC 2022, the 15th annual global climate gathering.

Meryl LaTronica, Just Roots farm director, will start the workshop by welcoming attendees and sharing her experience. Two years ago, Just Roots moved its honeybee hives off the farm and added pollinator strips to attract native pollinators.

“We are happy to report that we did not see any drop in food production,” LaTronica said in the press release.

Two Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) staff members — Michelle Cozine, state biologist, and Rose Schwartz, soil conservationist for Franklin County — will talk about NRCS grants and technical assistance for building native pollinator habitat on farms. Dan Pratt, founder of Astarte Farm in Hadley, will then share his decade-long experience with planting pollinator habitat and his experience with working with NRCS.

Hannah Whitehead, an educator with the UMass Extension, said Thursday’s workshop is timely. Last winter, the university conducted a survey that found Massachusetts farmers are eager to learn how to establish pollinator habitat, as well as how to assess bee abundance and diversity on their farms.

“On-farm pollinator habitat has been shown to enhance bee abundance and diversity, and to boost pollination services,” Whitehead said in the release. “It is also a way for farmers to support the health of the broader agroecosystem. When we surveyed farmers, we found that they are excited to learn what they can do.”

To register for the workshop, visit justroots.org/events-workshops. Registration is requested to help plan refreshments.


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