The following text was taken from a document prepared for the Town of Amherst Historical Commission by Bruce Coldham, President of the North Amherst Community Farm Board, and Gregory Farmer of Agricola Corporation dated January 8, 2018. It reviews the historical context for the proposal to restore the Ingram-Dickinson farm house pictured here, which has housed farm families since its construction around 1833.
A rather well off, livestock farm with sheep and cattle (Edward Hicks, 1780–1849, Leedom Farm, 1849. Oil on canvas. )
The Connecticut Valley region in the early 19th century was in the midst of a gradual transition from subsistence farming with mixed grain and livestock to more market-oriented farming. The opening of the Erie Canal (1825) and access to the extensive farmland in upstate New York and Ohio had made New England’s small farms less (more…)
North Amherst farm house today (left) and circa 1890 (right)
This past year, NACF retired the debt on the purchase of 32 acres of prime farm land in North Amherst, MA with the support of local citizens, the town of Amherst and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Following a brief celebration, the NACF Board of Directors made a commitment to the next phase of development for this historic farm property at 1089 North Pleasant St. – that is, restoring the home of the farmers!
The historic farm house on North Pleasant St. is a two-story wood and timber framed structure built by the Ingram family in the early 19th century; later purchased by the (more…)
Something is happening in North Amherst, MA…
We know the U.S. food system is changing fast in response to consumer demand for fresh and healthy local food. Western Massachusetts particularly is among the national leaders in direct farmer to consumer sales, estimated at being 10 times higher in our region compared with the national average. The food conscious and progressive nature of the area means that we are blessed with local farms, farmers markets, food cooperatives, and neighborhood farm stands. In fact, the Food Solutions New England vision called “50 by 60” …. is to grow 50% of our food in New England by 2060!
And if that happens, North Amherst will likely be among the leaders of the local food movement – thanks to the creativity of one of our local farms and the surrounding community which is busily inventing a more sustainable agriculture right here in our own backyard!
One of the current four-legged residents of the property owned by the North Amherst Community Farm and managed by Simple Gifts is….
You can see Pig Floyd if you stop by the new Simple Gifts Farm Stand at 1089 North Pleasant St. from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm weekdays and 8:00 am – 7:00 pm on weekends. You can also buy local meat products and much more at the new Farm Stand!
But did you know that raising animals to sell as local meat products is by no means a new venture on this property? In fact, if you were to transport yourself back to North
Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez was tying grape vines at a farm in Central California, when the temperature soared well above 95 degrees. Only a few days in the country, this undocumented field worker, who didn’t have easy access to water, shade or the work breaks required by law, passed out from the heat and died two days later.
Maria was 17 years old. The Center for Disease Control reports that heat-related deaths of farm workers are on the rise in the U.S. This deadly trend is unfortunately one of the costs of cheap food. When you buy cheap food at the big box stores, you also invest in this deadly system of industrialized food.
Compare this experience with that of working at a local farm like Simple Gifts in North Amherst. Here the farm workers work hard but are treated fairly. As apprentices who live on the site, they are gaining a valuable
Jeremy Barker-Plotkin, who is a co-owner of Simple Gifts Farm in Amherst, drives a pedal-powered tractor called a Culticycle at the farm, Wednesday. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS – Buy this Image
AMHERST — Weeds are a major cause of crop failure at organic farms, making the equipment used in controlling their growth important to the successful production of fruits and vegetables.
“After harvesting, it’s our biggest labor,” says Jeremy Barker-Plotkin, who runs the 50-acre Simple Gifts Farm in North Amherst. “Everything we do is with weed control in mind.”
Take a walk at Simple Gifts Farm in North Amherst with edible plant (and weed) expert John Root to learn about finding “wild” food in our own backyards! ‘
Free workshop and everyone is welcome (especially kids)!
Saturday, June 17 – 10:30am – 12:00 noon
1089 North Pleasant St.
North Amherst, MA
For more on John Root, see: http://www.johnroot.net/edible_plants.html