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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...

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‘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...


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...


Massachusetts Maple Month ushers in ‘spring’s awakening’
03-01-2024 3:36 PM

By BELLA LEVAVI

NORTHFIELD — Tree sap being boiled down into maple syrup filled the air with a sweet aroma on Friday as Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner Ashley Randle celebrated the kickoff of Massachusetts Maple Month by ceremonially tapping a maple...


Area sugarhouses start tapping season early after warm winter days
03-01-2024 2:58 PM

By DIANE BRONCACCIO

The groundhog predicted an early end to winter: did that also mean an earlier start to maple sugaring? Apparently so, according to several maple sugarers in the Pioneer Valley.“This is the earliest we’ve ever started,” remarked Chip Williams of the...


Valley Bounty: CSA season gets jump on growing season this week
02-20-2024 4:06 PM

By LISA GOODRICH

Though more weeks of winter lie ahead, National Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) week — Feb. 19-25 — marks the symbolic start of the CSA cycle, when member sign-ups start rolling in and participating farmers begin planning for the coming growing...


Close-up on farm workers: LAVA Center launches touring exhibit celebrating agricultural workers, on view at GCC through Feb. 16
02-02-2024 12:00 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

With a full body of work compiled over 2023’s farming and harvest seasons, Local Access to Valley Arts (The LAVA Center) is launching a touring exhibit for “indiVISIBLE: Seeing and Celebrating Indispensable Agricultural Workers” this week at...


PFAS, slew of other agriculture-related bills on the move on Beacon Hill
02-01-2024 3:33 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

NORTHAMPTON — Prohibiting PFAS from consumer products sold in Massachusetts remains an objective for Sen. Jo Comerford, who sees a recently advanced legislative bill to protect soil and farms from such contamination as an important first step to...


Regional agricultural conference set for Saturday in Northampton
02-01-2024 10:59 AM

By EMILEE KLEIN

NORTHAMPTON — The Pioneer Valley Regional Agricultural Conference planned for Saturday will present three guest speakers on low-impact forestry, cheese making and small-scale maple syrup production for agricultural professionals looking to diversify...


‘We’re just going to keep growing’: Peila family opens creamery at Sunrise Valley Farm in Gill
01-21-2024 1:42 PM

By DOMENIC POLI

GILL — From the outside looking in, not much has changed at Sunrise Valley Farm recently. But, for the past month or so, owners Brian and Keri Peila have had one major addition to their to-do list.With help from their three children, the couple has...


Rare Kerry heifer joins Hawlemont, Agriculture and You program
01-12-2024 2:37 PM

By BELLA LEVAVI

CHARLEMONT — The Hawlemont, Agriculture and You (HAY) program has welcomed a rare breed of cow to their barn, giving students a lesson on biodiversity this school year.The school welcomed the 6-month-old, yet-to-be-named Kerry heifer last week. She is...

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