By NICOLE DEFEUDIS for the Daily Hampshire Gazette – Monday, February 06, 2017
CUMMINGTON — When Sara Tower began farming about eight years ago, she worked mostly with vegetables, which is typical of many farmers in the area. Next fall, though, she and her partner will harvest a crop that is new to western Massachusetts — nuts.
Last year, Tower and Kalyan Uprichard, co-owners of Nutwood Farm in Cummington, planted 350 nut trees on their 8-acre farm. By 2026, they expect to harvest 10,000 pounds of nuts, including chestnuts, walnuts and hazelnuts.
We want to congratulate one of our recent Stockbridge alums, Chip Pinder, who is the new farm manager at Vets and Veggies in Athol, MA. Chip completed the Bachelor of Sciences degree program in Sustainable Food and Farming in the UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture just last month.
We hope you will help support this new community building and training operation for Veterans at their GoFundMe link.
Vets and Veggies offers housing to veterans that are interested in learning how to become a sustainable farmer. Through a small scale sustainable farming operation veterans will be guided through the process of planning crops, planting, integrated pest management, and proper harvesting techniques. Veterans will work together and create a local food systems for the residents in the community.
Here are a few resources that may be of use to Veterans interested in farming:
The Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network – www.wsffn.org. Write Clara Duff, Development Associate, WSFFN, email@example.com, to subscribe to their listserv.
International Association of Culinary Professionals. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share opportunity with membership. Check out our newly launched website here: www.iacp.com.
Sustainable Agriculture Listings (National)
ATTRA Sustainable Farming Internships and Apprenticeships List: This directory of on-the-job learning opportunities in sustainable and organic agriculture has been published since 1989 as a tool to help farmers and apprentices connect with each other. It is available for farms in the U.S and its territories (there are a few in Canada and the Caribbean as well). Anyone can browse the listings for free. As a subscriber, you can maintain a personalized listing to connect with internship seekers. The listed farms are primarily seeking interns/apprentices from North America
BackdoorJobs.com has a “Sustainable Living and Farm Jobs Page” that lists employment, internship and volunteer opportunities throughout the country.
Helpx.net “is an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation.”
Local Harvest, though not a job search site, lists many small, local farms. If you’re looking for an internship, apprenticeship, or job in a particular area, you might want to look up farms this way and contact a farm of interest directly.
Orion Magazine lists jobs related to the environment, including some farming and agriculture-related jobs.
WWOOF-USA lists opportunities for “Visitors, or ‘WWOOFers.’” They “spend about half a day on a host farm, learn about the organic movement and sustainable agriculture, and receive room and board – with no money exchanged between hosts and WWOOFers. WWOOF is an educational and cultural exchange program. WWOOFing is a way to learn practical farming skills, be part of the organic agriculture movement, and experience the heart of American agrarian culture.”
North East Workers On Organic Farms (NEWOOF) is a regional farm apprenticeship placement service sponsored by the New England Small Farm Institute. NEWOOF annually publishes an annotated list of farms, primarily in the northeast, seeking apprentices.
Transitions Abroad lists various organizations that provide opportunities or facilitate doing farmwork abroad. Some of the sites listed on Transitions Abroad may already be listed in our international listings.
Creating vibrant public spaces is no easy matter. Parks and other such places require a serendipitous combination of scale, public access and visual appeal to make them come alive.
As Jane Jacobs, the 20th-century journalist and urban theorist who championed city street life, wrote in her highly acclaimed “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” (1961), “The more successfully a city mingles everyday diversity of uses and users in its everyday streets, the more successfully, casually (and economically) its people thereby enliven and support well-located parks.”
Local Harmony, a Pioneer Valley-based non-profit organization, is creating an intimate stone amphitheater and medicinal garden on the small, grassy hillside owned by Smith College that runs from the Hungry Ghost Bakery to State Street in Northampton. Jacobs would undoubtedly give Local Harmony two thumbs up.
Local Harmony is the collaborative creation of Owen Wormser, owner of the Leverett-based landscape design company Abound Design, and Chris Marano, an herbalist who owns Clearpath Herbals in Montague (and teaches at the UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture). Wormser said the organization’s goal is “to harness the skills of professional landscape designers, horticulturalists and gardeners to join forces with volunteers to create beautiful and accessible public spaces.”
Wormser, a landscape designer who is trained in architecture, said the idea for Local Harmony originated in a project he undertook several years ago. After launching his landscape design firm, Abound, he created the public fountain space at Cooper’s Corner store in Florence as a promotion for his fledgling business.
“I found it was really meaningful for people,” he said. “Cooper’s Corner was very successful in terms of people wanting to use the space. People are very appreciative of it. They take pride in their surroundings.”
After Cooper’s Corner, Wormser kept his eye out for other spaces.
“You need to have sympathetic property owners, and I figured that Smith College and the Hungry Ghost Bakery would be supportive,” he said.
A multi-use space
Local Harmony’s garden will have a variety of uses. It will be a place for educational activities and performances as well as a pleasant space for the public, including patrons of the bakery, which overlooks the garden.
“We want this to resonate with the public so they feel it’s theirs and that they want to be part of it,”Wormser said.
Among its functions will be that of a teaching garden; it will be composed only of medicinal plants. Marano called it a “sister garden” to a similar one at Clearpath Herbals in Montague. But the plants also have been chosen for their aesthetic appeal.
“People who don’t know anything about medicinal plants will still find it beautiful,” Wormser said. The herbal plants include commonly known varieties such as catmint (Nepeta) and coneflower (Echinacea) and others including Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus) and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium). Taller perennials will be placed along the border to create a sense of seclusion for the garden.
In addition to the medicinal perennials, the garden will include a border of serviceberry trees (Amelanchier) along the edge where Bedford Terrace curves into State Street. Serviceberry, also known as shadbush or shadblow, is a small tree that’s well-suited to the garden. It has delicate white blossoms in spring and colorful fall foliage, it’s drought tolerant and attracts birds.
According to Wormser, Smith College, which owns the property, has provided generous funding for the project.
“Smith and Roger Mosier, the college’s associate vice president of facilities management, understand that this was an extremely valuable offer and that Smith, the Hungry Ghost and the entire community will gain from it, Wormser said. “The project wouldn’t happen without Smith’s level of support.”
The Hungry Ghost Bakery also has donated to the project, and will take on a major role in maintaining the garden.
In his role as owner of Abound Design, Wormser provided the professional landscape design, while Marano of Clearpath Herbals has provided expertise and advice about suitable medicinal plants for the garden beds. Ashfield Stone donated the Goshen stone for the amphitheater and pathways. Local Harmony will provide plants and materials at cost. Wormser estimates that $40,000 has been contributed to the project in terms of materials, time and labor. He noted that this is less than half what such a project would cost on the open market.
Another cost-cutting feature of the project is that, with the exception of some of the stonework, volunteers will install it. Wormser projects that between 400 and 600 hours of work will be donated in total.
“We have a large population of younger people in the Valley who want to work, grow food and gardens,” he said.
Enclosed in color, texture
Kevin Potter, 27, was one of the volunteers who helped excavate the site when the project broke ground Oct. 17. He has worked for Abound and studies herbalism with Marano at Clearpath Herbals.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to create a high-visibility community garden,” he said. “It’s huge to have a place to plant herbs and learn about them. It’s a great resource for people. And it’s accessible by foot and by public transportation.”
Wormser and Marano say they plan to have 70 percent of the plants in place this fall, with the remainder to be planted next spring.
“Once it’s completed and the plants are growing, it will feel enclosed with color and texture,” Wormser said. “It will feel like a sanctuary.”
Wormser said he is pleased with the garden’s size and location.
“It’s just manageable. We are able to do most of the work by hand,” he said. It’s not exactly in the middle of the city; it’s a little quieter here. It’s a good spot to watch the city go by.”
The State Street garden is one of several Local Harmony initiatives. The non-profit recently renovated five large concrete planters in downtown Turners Falls, with help from students at the Franklin County Technical School. Local Harmony is also working with the Hitchcock Center for the Environment in Amherst to create an extensive teaching garden that will be installed next spring at the center’s new site on the Hampshire College campus.
“We went through a great design process with Local Harmony that involved thorough thinking about all aspects of the project, including community collaboration, accessibility and the teaching function,” said Casey Beebe, community programs and special projects manager at the Hitchcock Center.
Wormser said he hopes the State Street amphitheater and garden will inspire people to launch similar projects.
“I want people to come here and say, ‘I could do that,’ because anyone can do this,” he said. “I want this to be a model that’s sustainable over time and that can work in any community.”
Inspiration is an important part of the work, he added.
“Our long-term goal is to remind people that our planet is a garden and we’ve wrecked it. But that we can rejuvenate it, make it beautiful and productive again for all living things.”
Mickey Rathbun can be reached at email@example.com
How many care farms are there in the UK and where are they? 115 care farms took part in a survey in 2012, representing 66% of the 180 care farms that are currently operating in the UK. Care farms are located mainly in England but also in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; at the present time the South West, East Anglia and the West Midlands contain the largest number of care
What sort of farms are care farms? The majority of care farmers (78%) describe their care farm sites as farms or smallholdings and the organisational type as a farm, charity and/or company. Care farms have a mix of field enterprises and livestock, typically grazing, vegetables and woodland with chickens, sheep, pigs and cattle. Care farm size ranges from 0.4 to 648 ha – average care farm size 49
This course is an introduction to food waste, and the impact waste has on our food system. We will introduces the current food recovery hierarchy, and examines how consumers, producers and distributors waste food. We will explore the environmental and social impact of food waste in our food system, and introduce social and policy initiatives employed to recover food. Students will read, reflect and discuss the actionable steps being taken to shift our local food system’s food waste into food recovery.
Prerequisites: Open to all UMass students interested in food recovery.
Required Course Materials:
A blank notebook should be brought to every class. This notebook will be used for notes, reflections and homework assignments. It is a vital part of your grade. Laptops will be permitted as a note taking tool ONLY if students elect to create a digital journal.
There will be no formal text book for this course, readings will be distributed via .pdf
Pre-Course Self Assessment
· Interview Project
· Case Study Notes
· Weekly Homework
· Technology Tools
Case Study Presentation
Post-Course Self Reflection
Week 1, 1/24/17, Course Introduction
Based on current knowledge and assumptions students will build EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy in small groups
Self-Assessment Survey & Learning Styles Quiz
Students will complete initial self-assessment survey
Write about two new things you learned from the Mass Local Food Action Plan
How are these ideas actionable in your local or regional food system?
Are any of these ideas being implemented in our local food shed?
Week 12, 4/11, Mass Local Food Action Plan
Discuss Mass Local Food Action Plan
Legal Fact Sheet for Massachusetts Food Donation: Liability Protections, Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, July 2015
Federal enhanced – Tax Deduction for Food Donation – a legal guide, Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, April 2016
Week 13, Patriots Day: Monday Schedule
Week 14, 4/25, Self Assessment and Course Review
Students will complete a final self assessment
Students will complete an exit survey
Meet with group to work on final presentations
Week 15 & 16, 5/2-5/9, Final Presentations
Final Presentations of Case Studies
Attendance at all presentations is mandatory to receive a passing grade
Case Studies in Food Recovery
◦ A Perfect Loop – Food Recovery in San Diego, BioCycle 2013
◦ The Good Food Fight for Good Samaritans: The History of Alleviating Liability and Equalizing Tax Incentives for Food Donors, Stacey H.Van Zuiden- 2012 Drake University
◦ 3rd Case Study TBD
1. Students will review one of three case studies of a food recovery project in our local/regional food system assigned by instructors
2. Case studies are designed to address our three themes: farm/environmental impact, food security/food justice, and food policy
3. Students will record main ideas from the reading in their reflection journal
4. Students will generate a list of 3-5 ideas for addressing the thematic nature of the case study and record them in the reflection journal
5. Students will work in small groups assigned by instructors
6. Using case studies students will generate an actionable idea for addressing food waste and recovery at a campus, local or regional level
7. Students will prepare a presentation of their main ideas and actionable steps to address food waste using Prezi or Power Point
1. As a class students will compile interview questions
2. Instructors will generate a survey based on student input and distribute digitally via Google Forms
3. Students will interview 3 people in their communities about their food system experience: one consumer, one producer, one retailer or distributor
4. Students will reflect on their findings in reflection journal
5. Findings will be shared in class and discussed
1. All weekly reflections and writing assignments MUST be kept in one reflection journal
2. The journal will be collected on the last day of class
The success of this course depends on student participation. Everyone is expected to arrive on time, ready to comment, answer questions, and actively contribute. Cell phones, iPads, etc should be turned off during class unless you have requested accommodations from the instructor prior to class. Please bring all reading materials to class. Laptops will be permitted as a note taking tool ONLY if students elect to create a digital journal.
Written work is to be handed in on time. Late work will not be accepted. We will make exceptions to this rule only in the case of serious emergency, and only if contacted via phone or email within 24 hours of missing the scheduled deadline.
Students are responsible for course information sent to their UMass email accounts. We will respond to your email within 24 hours, please plan accordingly.
Office hours will be by appointment, if a question or concerns arises
Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Use care in written work to avoid the appearance of cheating/plagiarism. Please discuss questions with us if you have a concern.
If you are in need of learning accommodations, please come speak with one of us at the beginning of the semester so we can guarantee your needs are fully met throughout the course.
While it is true that the Stockbridge School of Agriculture has been offering courses in food production and marketing since the beginning, our students today are engaged in many learning activities that include farming but also focus on necessary changes to the larger food system.
Here are a few of the things Stockbridge and other UMass students have been up to in October….
UMass Permaculture gleaned 900 lbs. of butternut squash from Plainville Farm in Hadley. Thanks to Stockbridge Alum Xochi Salazar and her team for providing food to a local shelter, the Student Farmer’s Market, and “Pledge” a program supporting sustainability, the use of “ugly” vegetables, and less food waste!
Our Stockbridge Community Food Systems and our Food Justice and Policy classes collaborated with Nuestras Raices to provide high school students with the tools to conduct a school food survey at Paulo Freire Social Justice High School, as well as a community visioning session about a new community garden; and designed production tracking systems with urban farmers. Here are a few of the high school students during a visioning session. Thanks so much to Stockbridge instructor Catherine Sands for connecting our UMass students to students in Holyoke!
The SERSI student RSO is interested in helping with the Food Recovery Network and will focus future efforts in this direction. Here are some of the SERSI members from last year. We look forward to see what 2016-17 will bring!
The Food for All Garden at the Agricultural Learning Center is having a FALL HARVEST CELEBRATION preceded by GARLIC PLANTING on Friday, October 28th @ 4:30pm (garlic plant) and 5:30 is our Community Potluck. Bring a food or non-alcoholic drink to share or just come hungry. Hope you can join us!
Stockbridge will offer a one credit seminar in the spring titled How to Recover a Truly Sustainable Food System – A Look at Food Waste and Recovery, on Tuesday afternoons at 4:00-5:15pm.Thanks to Mary Bell and Angela Roell who will be the instructors!