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Enter to Win a 2016 Summer Farm Share from Crimson & Clover Farm! Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a fabulous way families can support local farmers.  By purchasing a CSA share for your family, shareholders pledge their support of a local farm and receive weekly shares of fruits, vegetables, herbs, cut flowers, honey, eggs, dairy and meat products.  CSA’s are also great opportunities for community-based learning! Here on Hilltown Families we highlight… Read More

Agricultural fairs, primarily established by agricultural societies for the purpose of agriculture promotion, science and education, celebrate New England history and local culture in communities all over western Massachusetts throughout late summer and early fall. These generations-old traditions of agriculture, self-sufficiency, and resiliency in rural communities afford families opportunities to participate in intergenerational community-based traditions while offering a myriad of entertainment and learning experiences through the lens of culture and food.

We’re giving away a Small CSA Farm Share from Crimson & Clover Farm this spring, a $420 value! Enter for a chance to win by sharing ways your family engages in our local food culture and the learning you glean from your experiences.

The insightful person who said that Western MA was the bread basket of Massachusetts absolutely nailed it! There are incredible things happening in agriculture in the western part of the state, in the areas of sustainability and organic growing- all stemming from a strong agrarian tradition. Western MA agriculture is showcased broadly across the many late summer events that occur in the region. Here families can celebrate the local agri-culture and local food through learning opportunities, where children are afforded opportunities to exhibit projects and develop their multidisciplinary learning.

When community-based learning works, it REALLY works. The diversity of educational programs run by Just Roots Community Farm in Franklin County provides experiential learning for youth of all ages. There are also volunteer workdays that invites families to take ownership of impact that fosters greater youth collaboration, and ultimately building a stronger community!

Pothole Pictures presents “Root Hog or Die” May 17th & 18th in Shelburne Falls, MA Nearly forty years after its first release, “Root Hog or Die,” the Franklin County documentary film on the last of the old time horse farmers in Western Massachusetts, re-appears on the big screen in Shelburne Falls. On Friday and Saturday, May 17th & 18th at 7:30pm, Pothole Pictures presents two screenings of “Root Hog or Die” in… Read More

Learning on the Farm There is no better place to learn than your neighborhood farm and no better time than the spring and summer! Whether you are looking for a place to go with your family on the weekend, your home-schooling group during the weekdays, or a summer camp for your kids, the following list of farm based learning opportunities are great places to check out. Many of them even have programs… Read More

7th Annual North Amherst Harvest Festival Sunday, September 23rd When was the last time that you enjoyed a bike-power-blended smoothie?  Have you ever made your own cornmeal, or dyed your own fabric using wildflowers?  Families can do all of these things and more at the North Amherst Harvest Festival! The harvest festival takes place on Sunday, September 23rd from 12noon-5pm at the North Amherst Community Farm (NACF), a farm run as a… Read More

Farmers’ Market Season At the beginning of the summer we invited our readers to share a family recipe using fresh local produce.  Below we’re highlighting 13 submissions our readers posted, featuring local produce often bought fresh from our farmers’ markets and road side stands!  Get inspired and thinking about how you can use locally grown fresh produce for your family dinner! Kat Allen of Northampton writes: I’m not a great cook, and… Read More

Enter to Win a CSM Share from Goldthread Herb Farm in Conway This summer Goldthread Herb Farm in Conway, MA is embarking on their fifth season of providing Community Supported Medicine (CSM) Shares to the community… and Hilltown Families has a large share (enough for a family of 3-4, valued at $250) to giveaway to one lucky family! Details on how you can enter to win are below and deadline to participate is… Read More

Maple Sugar Season At the beginning of Maple Sugar Season we invited our readers to share with us how Maple Sugar Season gets their family outdoors and participating in the harvest with their community. We also invited them to share their favorite recipe that they like to make for/with their family breakfast/brunch hour. The feedback was warming and the recipes delicious and inspiring!  Here are recipes our Western MA friends and neighbors… Read More

Enter to Win a Farm Share from Crimson & Clover Farm this Summer! Locally grown food is a great community connector! This past winter families could enjoy Winter Farmers’ Market all throughout Western MA while connecting with friends and neighbors during these often festive weekly markets.  And during the growing and harvest season Farmers’ Markets happen nearly every day of the week and have quickly become places the community not only shops… Read More

Farmageddon: The Unseen War on American Family Farms Screenings in Western MA Kristin Canty, a small farm advocate and mother of 4 kids from Concord, MA, is the Director/Producer of Farmageddon; The Unseen War on American Family Farms.  When one of her children was sick with asthma and multiple allergies as a preschooler, and medications offered no relief, she turned to raw milk and helped her young child recover. Since that time… Read More

Local premiere of Fresh to benefit the Northampton Community Farm! The film Fresh celebrates the innovative farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Grow Food Northampton hosts the area premiere of this inspiring film at the Academy of Music Theater in Northampton, MA on Friday, November 5th at 7pm.  All proceeds go to buy prime farmland in Florence, MA for the establishment of the Northampton Community… Read More

Vision for a Community Farm in the Pioneer Valley Grow Food Northampton envisions a community farm to include CSA’s, microdairy, farming microenterprises, farm store, community garden plots, apprentice trainings, workshops, community celebrations, school programs and camps right in Northampton, MA. You can help to make this happen! Grow Food Northampton plans to purchase 117 acres of prime farmland in Florence (walking distance from town center, near Meadow and Spring Sts.). Read more… Read More

Head for the apple orchard this weekend to PYO apples with your kids! It’s a fun way to learn about local food systems and a great excuse to follow up in the kitchen for lessons in the culinary arts! Here our reader recommend their favorite apple orchards in Western MA…

Meg Taylor of Williamsburg, MA writes: Some of you may already know about the local nonprofit, Grow Food Northampton, and their plan to purchase 117 acres of prime farmland in Florence (walking distance from town center, near Meadow and Spring Sts.). If you read the Gazette, it is starting to get some press and you will see more in the upcoming months. The vision is to create the Northampton Community Farm on… Read More

The Future of Agriculture: Forum & Film FARMING FORUM On Thursday, May 13th at 7:00 pm, CISA is hosting a Local Food and Agriculture Forum at the Northampton Senior Center (67 Conz Street) to discuss the important role consumers, farmers and local government play in supporting a healthy, sustainable and thriving local food system. Please join CISA staff, Rep. Steve Kulik (D-Worthington), Rep. John Scibak (D- South Hadley), Cris Coffin of American… Read More

Food, Inc.: Discover What “Big Agriculture” Doesn’t Want Farmers to Tell You Tomorrow, Monday June 29, at 7:00pm at the Amherst Cinema there will be a special screening of Food, Inc. to benefit Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), followed by a discussion panel. In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with… Read More

Winton Pitcoff of Plainfield, MA writes: Growing the Valley is a new online forum for farmers and gardeners in the Pioneer Valley and Hilltowns to share ideas and resources. It’s a place to go to ask questions, help others find solutions Divided into categories – livestock, crops, classifieds, events, etc. – users can post questions or ideas, and other members can respond. The sky’s the limit as to what can be discussed…. Read More

Good Food: Sustainable Agriculture for the 21st Century The public is invited to attend a series of 12 free Green Living seminars and workshops at the Berkshire Environmental Resource Center (BERC) at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) in North Adams, MA.  The series is titled, Good Food: Sustainable Agriculture for the 21st Century. and is aimed to inform students and the community about why and how to increase the sustainability of… Read More

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