News & Views

North Amherst farm continues a tradition of creativity and change

Something is happening in North Amherst, MA

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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 50x60cooperatives, 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!

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“Pig Floyd” continues a tradition in North Amherst

One of the current four-legged residents of the property owned by the North Amherst Community Farm and managed by Simple Gifts is….

Pig Floyd  

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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

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Buying local is an investment in a better quality of life… for all!

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-Isabel

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

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Why we support local farming…

Those of us who support local farming in general and the work of the North Amherst Community Farm non-profit specifically are concerned about the long term impact of industrial farming.  This story from England suggests that “As long as society sees farming only as a business and food as just a commodity, we’re all headed for ruin.”  We agree….. do you?   Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!

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MATTERDALE, England — I am a traditional small farmer in the North of England. I farm sheep in a mountainous landscape, the Lake District fells. It is a farming system that dates back as many as 4,500 years. A remarkable survival. My flock grazes a mountain alongside 10 other flocks, through an ancient communal grazing system that has somehow survived the last two centuries of change. Wordsworth called it a “perfect republic of shepherds.”

It’s not your efficient modern agribusiness. My farm struggles to make enough money for my family to live on, even with 900 sheep. The price of my lambs is governed by the supply of imported lamb from the other side of the world. So I have one foot in something ancient and the other foot in the 21st-century global economy.

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Local entrepreneur leads the way to post-carbon farming in Amherst, MA

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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.”

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Wild Edible Plant Walk – June 17

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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

We burned the mortgage!

We “burned the mortgage”

September 20, 2016 was a big day! Having paid off the mortgage on the farm (thanks to all of our many donors), NACF celebrated!