Location: The North Amherst Community Farm is located at 1089 N. Pleasant Street in Amherst, roughly a mile north of the UMass campus, in an area surrounded by neighborhoods and apartment complexes.
The farm stretches back in a narrow strip from N. Pleasant St. before opening out into a wide field, presenting a panoramic view along the south side of Pine St.. The farm is outlined in blue in the aerial view at left, which shows strips of roadways and houses running parallel to the farm, indicating the pattern of surrounding farms in an earlier era. A perennial stream is also visible bisecting the farm and the neighboring Barkowski Meadows parcel. Despite being surrounded by people, houses and roads, the interior of the farm feels secluded. The dirt farm road is open for public (non-vehicular) access and is a popular place for strolling and dog walking. The picture at left is a view of the tents set up for the Annual Harvest Festival. The Festival is held each year an a central part of the farm that is rocky and uncultivated.
Farming: Long time neighbors of the farm will remember it as having been a fairly low key operation. For many years, the fields were leased to a Hadley farmer who alternated the fields between silage corn and butternut squash from year to year. There was not much activity, except at planting and harvest times. Things changed dramatically with the 2006 farm season. NACF’s search for farmers who would be good stewards of the land concluded with the lease of the property to Simple Gifts Farm – a partnership of Jeremy Barker-Plotkin and David Tepfer – who operate the farm as an organic CSA. Jeremy specializes in vegetable production, while David manages a modest scale livestock operation that is a source of much needed soil fertility. In addition to pigs, sheep, chickens and cows, the farm now raises a wide variety of produce. Everyday during the farm season, the fields, barns and new greenhouses are a hotbed of activity, including the farmers themselves and a yearly crew of farm interns.
Additional information about the property along with lots of beautiful photos can be found at Steve Dunn’s original NACF Page. This site was developed early on in NACF’s existence to provide information about the property to prospective farmers. It contains interesting things like the soil types present on different part of the farm and pictures of the farm buildings prior to NACF’s acquisition of the property in 2006. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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