You are invited to help us finish restoring this historic farmhouse! Click here:
The North Amherst Community Farm is in the process of restoring the original farmhouse that has been part of the property since the 1830’s. The history of the farm house offers an interesting view of how farming in the Pioneer Valley has changed over the past 200 years. Initially a grain and livestock farm, after the Civil War the farm shifted to raising meat and vegetables for local sales and shipping. In the 20th century ownership of the farm passed from the Ingram-Dickinson’s to the Dziekanowski’s, with the latter developing a dairy operation.
In 2005, the Dziekanowski’s sold the property to the North Amherst Community Farm, a non-profit entity formed to protect the land from development. NACF now leases the property to Simple Gifts Farm, managed by Jeremy Barker-Plotkin and David Tepfer. Simple Gifts is a leader in the local organic farming sector, growing food for the local community and maintaining the land and buildings in active farm use.
The restored farmhouse will serve as affordable, comfortable housing for farm apprentices and future farm managers for many years to come.
Almost one-third of New England farms are managed by farmers over 65 years of age. To preserve the distinctive character of our region, strengthen local food security and continue our farming traditions, we need to cultivate the next generation of farmers! The state of Massachusetts, and the town of Amherst, have done a good job of preserving farmland, but housing costs can be another major barrier for young people seeking to get into farming. This project will help address that need.
The restoration of the NACF farmhouse is being completed with the help of Community Preservation Act funding from the Town of Amherst. A critical first step was to hire a historic buildings consultant, Gregory Farmer, to assist us in researching the previous 180 years in the life of this important farm structure.
We then developed detailed plans for the restoration and remodeling of the farmhouse. It is a major undertaking, with a total budget of around $400,000. When finished it will:
– provide a functional, affordable farmhouse able to accommodate multiple occupancy scenarios (two separate living units with a total of four bedrooms
– achieve full compliance with all building codes
– reduce future maintenance expenses to a manageable level
– restore the building to its rightful place as an attractive presence on North Pleasant Street.
For more on this story and pictures of the progress we are making, please continue to look at additional blog posts below!
Existing community support for this project includes:
• The Town of Amherst
• The Dziekanowski Family
• Interfaith Housing Corporation of Amherst
• Kestrel Land Trust
• Habitat for Humanity
• Smith Vocational High School
• + more than 700 individual members of the local community
Through both financial gifts, in-kind donations, and volunteer labor from these groups, we are on track to complete this project by the spring of 2019.
We need to raise $10,000 to finish the job and you can help!