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The Conway School of Landscape Design is the only institution of its kind in North America. Its focus is sustainable landscape planning and design. Each year, through its accredited, ten-month graduate program just eighteen to nineteen students from diverse backgrounds are immersed in a range of applied landscape studies, ranging in scale from residences to regions. Graduates go on to play significant professional roles in various aspects of landscape planning and design.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE BY DESIGN. Conway School of Landscape Design 332 South Deerfield Road, Conway, MA 01341 www.csld.edu

Almost all food consumed in the United States moves through a large-scale, industrial agriculture system, where an average meal can travel 1,500 miles and change hands half a dozen times before reaching the dinner table. This global system supplies a tremendous amount of food and has remained affordable to Americans for over fifty years; but, it is wrought with unseen costs such as environmental degradation and dependence on precarious fossil fuel availability. The global supply of non-renewable fossil fuels cannot last forever, and higher fuel prices will jeopardize food supplies. Communities across the globe are seeking solutions to the pressing question: What does it take for a community to grow food locally and sustainably, relying less on fossil fuel inputs? A team of students from the Conway School of Landscape Design investigates this question for the city of Northampton, Massachusetts. This report outlines the social, political, economic, and environmental challenges to creating a local food system, and goes on to recommend a model that responds to these challenges. Tools are offered for inventorying land and community assets, and for envisioning what is possible in Northampton.

Prepared for the Northampton Food Security Group, Northampton, Massachusetts Abrah Dresdale, Tom Jandernoa, Josiah Simpson, Michael Yoken Conway School of Landscape Design April 20, 2010


contents executiVe Summary

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the Global Food SyStem

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the FuNctioNS oF a Food SyStem

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the opportuNitieS oF a local Food SyStem

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clieNtS, GoalS, StakeholderS

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challeNGeS to a local Food SyStem iN NorthamptoN

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critical iNFraStructure: FROM SITES OF CULTIVATION TO HUBS

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a proceSS For uNderStaNdiNG laNd capacity

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coNtext

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iNVeNtory aNd aNalySeS

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diStrictS

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RURAL DISTRICT

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SUBURBAN DISTRICT

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URBAN DISTRICT

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AGRICULTURAL DISTRICT

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TAKE A TOUR...

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cultiVatiNG poSSibilitieS: HOW MANY COULD BE FED?

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SyStem-wide hubS

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ViSioN NorthamptoN 2015

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workS cited

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appeNdix a: NEXT STEPS TOWARDS A LOCAL FOOD SYSTEM

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appeNdix b: NORTHAMPTON RESOURCES

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appeNdix c: SURVEY

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appeNdix d: GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

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appeNdix e: CROP PALETTE AND YIELDS

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appeNdix F: LEAD REMEDIATION

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Wild Forces There are beautiful wild forces within us. Let them turn the mills inside and fill sacks that feed even heaven. —St. Francis of Assisi

Acknowledgements We would like to thank the Northampton Food Security Group, the core group of clients who raised funds and devoted their time and energy to help make this project possible. Many thanks to the community leaders who attended the stakeholder meeting and helped brainstorm, and also to the residents of Northampton for attending the public presentation and offering valuable feedback, insights, and important ideas for next steps. Your collective vision, insight and collaborative action will be instrumental for taking this initiative forward. We have much gratitude for the Conway School of Landscape Design faculty, staff, and students, for their continual guidance, interest, patience, and support.

Š 2010 Conway School of Landscape Design


Executive summary The food that arrives at the typical American table has gone through a long, energy-intensive process. It is grown using highly mechanized agricultural methods, is shipped to centralized plants for resource-intensive processing and packaging, and travels on average 1,500 miles to reach the U.S. consumer. The waste associated with this process is also often shipped—to overflowing landfills. This global food system is dependent on fossil fuels. From the petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides needed, to the fuel running farming, processing, and packaging equipment, to the gasoline used for air, water, and ground transport, these non-renewable resources are integral to every step. A food system that depends on such limited non-renewable resources is highly precarious and vulnerable to the unstable prices and uncertain supply of those resources. Since 1988, the price of oil has risen from $12 per barrel to as high as $140 per barrel in 2008, and many have suggested that fossil fuel supplies have already peaked. Moreover, there are significant costs attached to this conventional large-scale, global food system. The extraction and consumption of fossil fuels contribute to environmental degradation and climate change. Conventional agriculture practices may also cause major environmental damage, eroding precious topsoil, wasting increasingly scarce water resources, and poisoning waterways with fertilizer runoff. Large-scale, centralized processing and distribution systems, furthermore, are vulnerable to pathogen contamination. In addition, food that travels long distances may lose its nutritional value over time, and is often treated with chemicals to either speed up or slow down ripening before being sold. In Northampton, there is a growing awareness of the overreliance on the global food system. The Northampton Food Security Group, an organization of local farmers and activists concerned about the future of Northampton’s food supply in the face of diminishing oil availability, climate change, and loss of farmland, asked the Conway School of Landscape Design to help them develop a comprehensive vision for local food that promotes food security, sustainable practices, small-scale farming ventures, and increased vitality in the local economy. Northampton historically was able to grow much of its own food. Today there are several challenges that may inhibit Northampton’s ability to do so again. In the past fifty years, the amount of developed land within the city limits has increased

by 50%. Much of this development has been on flat, cleared land that was well-suited for food cultivation, most of which housed former farming operations. People interested in starting new farms are challenged by a lack of affordable land that is appropriate for food production. Homeowners are restricted by zoning laws that prohibit certain agricultural practices, notably raising livestock of any type on small parcels. Lastly, Northampton’s temperate climate has a shorter growing season than places like California or Florida, and consumers have come to expect an assorted selection of produce throughout the year. These social and economic challenges pose obstacles to boosting local cultivation efforts. The specifics of Northampton’s natural and built environments pose additional constraints to agriculture. Soil fertility, topography, and urban form all help determine what can be grown or raised, with what strategies and yields, and where. This report identifies alternative land and strategies for growing food in the agricultural, urban, suburban, and rural areas of Northampton, using unconventional sites, small spaces, and cooperative efforts that reduce fossil fuel input. The project suggests how more of the city’s food could be grown within its boundary and makes recommendations for supporting diverse local cultivation methods, the particular focus of this report. Looking beyond cultivation, there are limited distribution systems in the Northampton that serve producers, distributors, and buyers. There is a lack of food system infrastructure such as processing centers, storage facilities, and waste management sites. Existing and potential sites in Northampton are suggested to serve as infrastructure nodes, supporting the various types of local food production recommended in this report. This report does not attempt to envision the complete replacement of a complex global food system with local ones. However, the findings of this report may help Northampton initiate cultivation and post-cultivation efforts to reduce residents’ dependence on the centralized food system in the transition towards greater participation in and reliance on its own local food system. While the focus of this project is on Northampton, the tools used here to engage the public, analyze the land, and develop concepts for a local food system may be helpful to other communities that have similar goals of increasing self-sufficiency through local food production and consumption.

Feed NorthamptoN eXecuTive summary

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the global food system the Global Food SyStem Liquid fossil fuels have transformed the way we have grown, processed, distributed, and consumed food over the past 150 years. They have made possible the creation of an industrial agriculture capable of feeding millions of people by transporting food over great distances, and offering the seeming ability to surpass constraints to farming posed by the natural world. But the food system that has developed, depending on such limited non-renewable resources and resulting in environmental degradation, is highly precarious and vulnerable to unstable prices and uncertain supplies. Though there are many cultivation strategies practiced in the U.S., industrial agriculture has become the most widely used strategy for feeding North Americans (Berry 1977). It is largely made up of agribusiness conglomerates, centralized and highly productive food producers that grow and process in a few key locations but distribute across the country. For example, four companies process 80% of all pork slaughtered in the U.S. (Pollan 2007). This situation has economically

Global Food System; international food imports supplying Northampton

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Feed NorthamptoN The glObal fOOd sysTem

discouraged small-scale regional food production. In Massachusetts, farmland dropped from 1.1 million acres in 1959 to 518,000 acres in 2007, a loss of over 50% in 51 years (USDA 2007). Loss of small farms across the country leaves a greater share of the market to giant agribusinesses using the industrial model. This situation is concerning when we recognize that fossil fuels are a finite resource. All indicators show that the global appetite for fossil fuels is rapidly increasing each year. The amount of oil produced every year since 2005 has remained roughly between 84 and 87 million barrels per day, yet global demand continues to increase (Hopkins 2008). The discovery of new viably extractable deposits has consistently lessened since the late 1960s. In 1981, global oil consumption started to outstrip the amount of new reserves being discovered. Most oil discovered today includes very deep underwater deposits and tar pits, both of which are extremely expensive, energy-intensive, and environmentally destructive to tap. We presently consume four barrels of oil for every one barrel that we discover (ibid).


Anacortes oil refinery: photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Hedberg Conference on Understanding World Oil Resources in 2006 estimated the amount of oil reserves available to be approximately 250 billion barrels. This figure differs from the data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which estimates a much larger figure—650 billion barrels. If we were to maintain our current global use of oil, the Hedberg Conference estimates that supply would last 7-10 years, while USGS estimates that figure to be 18-21 years (Hopkins 2008). Greater demand and limited availability increases price. Since 1988, the price of oil has risen from $12 per barrel to as high as $140 per barrel in 2008. Some suggest that fossil fuel prices can only increase in the future, increasing the costs of goods and services people have come to rely on (Steiner 2010). Food is not excluded from this equation. As fuel prices rise, fossil-fuel-dependent industrial food systems will likely become unable to fulfill their current role of producing cheap and abundant food for millions.

Industrial-scale chicken production, Florida: photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

transition communities away from oil dependence by re-localizing key provisions people and communities need to survive and flourish. The primary strategy is to organize the local production, processing, and distribution of staple foods and eventually all foods by using minimum fossil fuel inputs, reducing reliance on food that is grown far away (Hopkins 2008). When the functions of a food system—cultivation, processing, distribution, waste management, and education— are rooted in the natural, historical, and cultural conditions of its locale and carefully integrated, it has the potential to be an effective local food system. This Feed Northampton report provides background and suggests steps for developing such a local system, one whose functions are configured to a scale and organization appropriate to Northampton.

Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute argues that communities will eventually be forced out of necessity to find new fossil-fuel-free solutions to satisfy the most basic needs (Lovins 2010). Some communities have already begun to explore fossil-fuel-free solutions for supporting the basic needs of individuals and civic society before energy prices become prohibitively expensive. One notable approach to such planning is the Transition Town model that aims to help

Feed NorthamptoN The glObal fOOd sysTem

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the functions of a food system As central as cultivation is to providing food, a food system involves much more. Typically before they can be consumed by people, crops must also be processed, stored, and distributed. Any wastes that develop along the way must be dealt with, and there are certain cultural activities, like advertising and schooling, that are needed to support and perpetuate the system. Together these broad functions—cultivation, processing, distribution, waste management, and education—make up a food system. As suggested above, conventional food systems are problematic for numerous reasons:

coNVeNtioNal cultiVatioN

coNVeNtioNal educatioN

In the U.S. today, the conventional model for cultivation is a large-scale, private venture where industrial methods have in many ways replaced human labor. Most farms currently in operation have become specialized factory-oriented monocultures at war with pests, diseases, and weeds, needing large machinery to operate (Imhoff 2003).

People’s knowledge about conventional agriculture has proven insufficient on many levels. Studies cited in Dan Yunk’s book Milk Comes From A Cow? show that most schoolchildren think milk comes from supermarkets rather than from cows. Yunk suggests that children lack an understanding of where food in general comes from, but adults also tend to have misinformation about where and how food is produced (Yunk 2007). Education about food production is important because there are real environmental and social costs related to agriculture that are otherwise hidden from consumers who are taught to care only about cost.

coNVeNtioNal proceSSiNG Almost all farms supplying the conventional food system send their raw products (from milk to meat to maize) to centralized processing hubs, managed almost entirely by large-scale corporate conglomerates. They are usually massive facilities that clean, prepare, and package enormous amounts of food for distribution (Pollan 2008).

coNVeNtioNal diStributioN The conventional processing hubs and the farms that feed them are coupled with a global economy where food, among many other things, is distributed from across the world to meet consumer demand. This distribution of food from the far corners of the earth via air, sea, and land has allowed consumers to eat almost any kind of food regardless of season or climate.

coNVeNtioNal waSte maNaGemeNt Wastes are generated as by-products of each step of the conventional food system. Farms, processing hubs, and distribution networks all produce a variety of wastes, in quantity. The conventional strategy for managing some agricultural waste is generally to remove it and send it away. “Away” can sometimes mean waste goes into holding ponds, waterways, air, or landfills. 4

Feed NorthamptoN The funcTiOns Of a fOOd sysTem

Figure 1. The five functions of an effective local food system are rooted in a particular locale. The emphasis of this report is on the most central function—cultivation.


the opportunities for a local food system Because of all the challenges of a conventional approach to agriculture, it doesn’t make sense to try to duplicate those methods and strategies in creating a smaller, local food system for Northampton. For example, large-scale conventional farming methods by design do not work at smaller scales, and the large-scale processing facilities are intended for large inputs from mechanized farms. In this report we look to models outside the conventional industrial agriculture system for strategies to support the functions of a future local food system, one that responds to the unique site conditions of the town, including varied soils, slopes, microclimates, and development patterns. This re-localization strategy is supported in Shemariah Blum-Evitts’ 2009 University of Massachusetts at Amherst graduate thesis, Designing A Foodshed Assessment Model: Guidance for Local and Regional Planners in Understanding Local Farm Capacity in Comparison to Local Food Needs. Blum-Evitts projects that a future of higher fuel prices will necessitate a food system that consumes less energy. A low-energy food system, she argues, will be more viable if conducted at a smaller scale, using smaller, more widely distributed pieces of land in and around population centers. She suggests that community gardens, urban and suburban agriculture, residential backyard gardens, and other diverse citizen-based local food production, processing, and distribution schemes could become the norm. Blum-Evitts notes that these local schemes are not

adequately incorporated into governmental and non-governmental foodshed studies, studies that analyze the land resource that supports the food production for a community. The biggest weakness of viewing foodsheds only in terms of conventional farmland is that it disregards the potential food that could be produced within urban and suburban areas. Future foodshed studies that look at these less conventional lands may find that a significant amount of food could be viably produced for a local region, using alternative small-scale methods (Blum-Evitts).

“The biggest weakness of viewing foodsheds only in terms of conventional farmland is that it disregards the potential food that could be produced within urban and suburban areas.” How can more food be produced locally on unconventional lands like backyards, and how can such a cultivation program get started? This report, produced at the request of the Northampton Food Security Group, explores the constraints and opportunities of a local food system for Northampton, exploring the relationships of the five food system functions— cultivation, processing, distribution, waste management, and education—to present one possible vision for a food system designed for the particular natural, historical, and cultural conditions of Northampton.

Feed Northampton The Opportunities for a local food system

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clients, goals, stakeholders The Northampton Food Security Group The Northampton Food Security Group, composed of farmers and local food activists, is concerned about the future of Northampton’s food supply in the face of peak oil, climate change, and diminishing farmland. They approached the Conway School for assistance in further developing a local food system. Represented by urban farmer Lisa DePiano, the group includes eight residents, all of whom are involved with Grow Food Northampton, an organization whose mission is to increase local food production. Several of the clients are also part of a recent Transition Town initiative based on a model that attempts to empower communities to create a thriving society on a local level, considering economy, health care, energy, education, and the focus of this report, food. Related groups the clients are affiliated with include Pedal People, a worker-owned human-powered delivery and hauling service; Valley Time Trade, an organized exchange system through which members earn Time Dollars for time spent helping other members; and Western Massachusetts Permaculture Guild, a network of individuals practicing agriculture modeled after natural ecologies. An initial meeting with the Northampton Food Security Group determined their intentions and goals. A second meeting determined the scope of the project. Because the present project aims to benefit local food activists, farmers, and Northampton residents in general, a stakeholder meeting was held with individuals and organizations that could directly serve or be served by a local food system. The public process culminated in a presentation for Northampton

residents to inform them about the movement towards food security in their community and to solicit public feedback about the project. In addition, the client group composed and distributed a survey to identify needs and resources in the community. Approximately 100 residents responded. (See Appendix C for survey questions and results.) Because they accessed the survey through the Grow Food Northampton website, it is perhaps not surprising that respondents had a strong interest in cultivation and local food issues. A majority of respondents said they intentionally purchase from local producers, support local food stores, shop at farmers’ markets, or cultivate gardens. However, many obstacles to accessing and cultivating food locally still exist.

“It would be great if it were easier to buy local produce at grocery stores! I’m sometimes astonished when a store like Stop and Shop has no local options for a vegetable that is in season.” —Northampton Resident responding to a project survey Respondents stated that the biggest obstacles are cost, lack of land, and lack of knowledge about cultivation techniques. Still, 40% of respondents “somewhat” have trouble and 7% “often” have a problem obtaining “healthy, nutritious food.” A number of people who responded said they would like to, but currently do not (a) have a community garden plot; (b) have a garden at their own home; (c) work on or manage a small farm; (d) raise chickens; or (e) hunt or fish. There is a clear interest in the community for education; 95% of respondents wish to be contacted about future local food focus groups and local skill-sharing opportunities. Many

Photos from the Feed Northampton stakeholder meeting and public presentation

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Feed Northampton Clients, goals, stakeholders


towards creating a local food system as a means to achieve food security in Northampton. The objective is to identify the kinds of land in Northampton on which food could be cultivated and the existing resources with which to build future infrastructure for food processing, distribution, waste management, and education. The emphasis of this report is on one of the five functions of a food system—cultivation— because of its centrality in the overall process. Next steps beyond this current effort will need to address in greater detail food processing and distribution, waste management, and education. Residents at the Northampton farmers’ market

people said they could offer education, advice, and help with small-scale gardening, sustainable farming, herbs, herbal medicines, and food preservation. A few said they would like to contribute land, while others said they needed land.

Feed NorthamptoN proJect Goal The Northampton Food Security Group’s goal is to help create a more cohesive local food system. In addition, they are interested in collectively improving community outreach, networking, and education, and including marginalized groups, such as those with lower incomes, in the process. Understanding that one of a community’s greatest assets is the wisdom of its members, the Northampton Food Security Group would like to see more skill-sharing among residents, including mentoring by the older generation of farmers in the Meadows. In support of these broader goals, the overarching goal of this Feed Northampton report is to identify first steps

It is hoped that in time, with the creation of a more robust, local food system, more food will be available for distribution to marginalized populations, organizations will be networked in a large-scale community effort, and educational opportunities will become increasingly integrated with food production.

Scope The geographical scope of the report was defined as the area within the incorporated town boundary of Northampton, including downtown Northampton and the villages of Florence and Leeds. The Northampton Food Security Group believes that Northampton cannot continue to rely on other people and remote lands for food supplies; residents must start looking within. Therefore, by examining the land inside Northampton’s boundary, residents can learn how to make the best use of what is—literally—already in their backyards, and begin cultivating self-reliance and curbing outward dependence. However, the town’s political boundary is an arbitrary limit for this project and is not intended to be insular nor exclusive. By imagining possibilities for local food production and consumption that could exist within a single township, the project uses Northampton as a model of how change can happen on a town-by-town basis in other places. To some degree, Northampton is a microcosm of national trends: loss of farmland, loss of topsoil, sprawling development, and dependence on food imports from across the nation and world. Other communities can learn from the trials and triumphs that Northampton may experience in establishing a local food system within its own municipality.

Feed NorthamptoN clienTs, gOals, sTakehOlders

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Challenges to a local food system in Northampton Food security, as considered here, is a condition in which all community residents can obtain abundant, reliable, safe, nutritious, local food that comes from an ecologically and socially responsible system in which residents are involved, educated, and empowered. In Northampton, as in communities nationwide, the general reliance on food delivered from a global foodshed supplied by an industrial food system has come at the expense of losing the ability to provide food on the home front. Since the middle of the twentieth century, farmland has steadily declined in the Pioneer Valley and in some cases has become permanently altered by residential and commercial development. Many of

There are few remnants of the past local food system that once fed the Pioneer Valley. The gaping holes pose several challenges to the creation of an effective food system that builds on the past while responding to the current climate of twenty-first-century conditions. The chart below outlines some of the immediate challenges to creating a condition of food security in Northampton.

spatial challenges

cultural challenges

Diminishing Agricultural Land

Negative Cultural Attitudes

Growth patterns in Northampton reflect developers’ preferences for land that is flat and cleared. However, land that is optimal for most types of residential and commercial development is sometimes also optimal for food cultivation. In the past fifty years the population of Northampton has shrunk by 1,500, from 30,000 in 1960 to 28,400 in 2007 (U.S. Census Bureau), yet the amount of developed residential land has increased by 50% (Russell 2010).

Voids in Infrastructure In Northampton and the greater Pioneer Valley, the food distribution system that provides local food to producers, distributors, and buyers is limited. There is also a lack of infrastructure, such as processing centers, storage facilities, and waste management sites. These infrastructure pieces are important for an efficient and effective food system, and need to be planned carefully to support more types of agriculture than the industrial model.

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the sites for food processing and distribution have dwindled or been re-appropriated for other uses. Large numbers of people have lost the knowledge of food cultivation that their ancestors once knew out of necessity for survival.

Some people have a negative view of farming as a profession because of the immense amount of work it entails and the low financial returns it often provides. There is a lack of awareness in the general public about many new and innovative approaches to growing food that can be sustainable and financially lucrative.

Legal Barriers on Raising Livestock Zoning restrictions in Northampton require a minimum area of 30,000 square feet for raising three animals of any type, and 10,000 square feet for each additional animal. This limits the amount of potential protein sources (eggs, meat, dairy, etc.) that can be produced by residents on small lots.

Education Many people do not know how to farm or start a garden. People who do garden and even some farmers may lack the business knowledge to effectively sell their products. Sustainable agriculture methods like food forestry, no-till gardening, cover crops, and permaculture design are not well understood by the general public.

Feed Northampton Challenges to a local food system in northampton


To create and sustain food security, these challenges will need to be overcome, at least to some degree. One of the biggest obstacles may be how residents conceive of possible solutions. This includes many assumptions about what can and cannot be grown, the methods of cultivating or raising food, the restrictions of climate or topography or law, or the availability of land. Although a sizable number of Northamptonites are interested in growing their own food in urban and suburban settings, many people view conventional agriculture as the primary—if not the only—means to grow enough food for their community to be more secure and less dependent on the global food system.

eNViroNmeNtal challeNGeS

This project addresses the obstacles facing local food security in Northampton, in part by (a) looking for existing opportunities that can be expanded, (b) highlighting new opportunities for initiating the critical infrastructure needed for a local food system, and (c) looking past pre-conceived notions about agriculture that could limit the adoption of innovative ideas.

ecoNomic challeNGeS

Restricted Growing Season Consumers have come to expect an assorted selection of produce throughout the year and enjoy products imported from abroad. Local growers and distributors have trouble competing with suppliers from the West Coast and the southern hemisphere because of the cooler climate and shorter growing season here. Northampton’s outdoor growing season for most crops is no more than 120 days and as short as 90 days at higher altitudes. Indoor growing can prolong the growing season, but with conventional methods often at an added financial and energy cost.

Little Economic Incentive to Become a Farmer Over the last fifty years in the U.S., agribusiness has expanded to become a $1.5 trillion business annually, but farmers are receiving an increasingly smaller percentage of that figure (Pretty 2001).

Land is too expensive to farm Finding affordable land to cultivate as a start-up farmer can be a considerable barrier.

Lead-contaminated soil in urban environments Lead contamination in urban soils associated with old factories, gas stations, coal ash from late-twentieth-century residential coal-fired heaters, and buildings that once had or currently have lead paint poses a potential health hazard. Other unseen contaminates may also make food cultivated at polluted sites harmful (Nordahl 2009).

Wildlands versus Agriculture Wildlife need intact habitat, and farming and development can overlap with that habitat and destroy it. Agriculture may have to be kept from certain areas to respect wildlife.

Feed NorthamptoN challenges TO a lOcal fOOd sysTem in nOrThampTOn

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Critical Infrastructure: from sites of cultivation to hubs Identifying appropriate non-conventional sites for cultivation and exploring alternative agricultural practices are two important components of this study. In addition to these, however, Northampton’s local food system will also need special facilities or hubs to support functions like processing, distribution, waste management, and education. The hubs’ functions will be specific to the types of foods being supplied by producers and will need to be specifically designed to support local consumption and niche needs within Northampton. The sites of food cultivation supplying the hubs are referred to here as feeder farms or just feeders (a term not to be confused with conventional livestock feeder facilities or feed lots). A hub, as conceived here, may provide several functions or only one. It may support single or multiple food products; for instance, a processing hub may process several types of foods that come into season at different times to stagger operations and remain in production for longer periods of the year. To reduce transportation costs, a hub may be located close to the farms that supply most of what is processed and distributed, though it should be accessible to other feeder farms regardless of size or location. If equipment—for processing and packaging food, preserving through dehydration and canning, and for slaughtering animals—is made available for a fee within a hub (whether cooperatively or privately owned), the financial costs of starting and maintaining a farm may be reduced. Outsourcing post-cultivation tasks to such specialized hubs that meet health and other codes means processing can occur more efficiently and more affordably than on independent farms. Once established, community supported agriculture (CSA) relieves some of the financial uncertainty of farming by guaranteeing a farm’s income for the season. A CSA typically provides a diversity of crops to its shareholders, but not all food producers in Northampton will be able to produce the diversity of crops required to establish a CSA (due to particular site conditions in unconventional urban or suburban locations, for example), and not all producers will be interested in managing the various demands of this kind of business. A hub business that offers food collection and distribution, such as

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Feed Northampton Critical infrastructure

the service provided by Valley Green Feast in Northampton (which currently distributes food to consumers from fifteen farms in the region), could deliver for a fee food from multiple sources to private homes or to grocery stores in bulk, allowing large and small producers to specialize in crops suited to their particular conditions. The concept of the hub is not new; in fact, looking back to nineteenth-century agrarian New England we find that many farms did not have their own cider house, mill to grind flour, or boiler for maple sugar. There were independently owned local hubs that offered a niche service to farms for processing crops into enhanced food products. This allowed for specialization, whereby one individual could focus on growing while the other focused on processing. This was often the most affordable way for farmers to process their harvests, and the most efficient way to process food in terms of both energy and resources. It also centralized food products on a local scale, which made it easier to distribute to various markets (Hayden 1982). Hubs can also help farmers share knowledge and resources with one another. Communication between farms can help reduce waste, among other things. Farmers who raise livestock, for instance, might accumulate more manure than they can use, so it becomes waste. Waste products from one farm may be a resource for another. Creating these relationships can supply some farmers with free or cheap resources and materials that they would otherwise buy, reduces waste, and fosters community relationships. The function of connecting farmers to one another into a regional community of support was a function of the local Grange. Until recently most farming communities had a Grange, which served as a meeting place to discuss common difficulties and potential partnerships; a place for exhibiting choice crops; and a seed exchange. Looking back to earlier precedents does not mean social regression; it is a chance to repurpose old strategies into a twenty-first-century model. The abandoned hub strategy from the nineteenth century and the Grange concept can be applied to Northampton but realigned to meet today’s needs, challenges, and opportunities.


A Process for Understanding Land Capacity In Northampton, as in many towns, the landscape is a mosaic of mixed uses and diverse topography. If only existing agricultural lands were considered for the purposes of food cultivation, then just a portion of the town’s potential cultivation would be visible. Sites other than traditional farmland can be cultivated too, and much opportunity is lost when these less traditional opportunities are disregarded. Examining features of a town’s natural and built environment—for this study these include topography, hydrology, soils, conservation open areas, development patterns, zoning, transportation, and existing farmland (see figure 2)—can reveal otherwise unseen cultivation potential.

In this report, each of these layers of information is first studied in isolation for Northampton as a whole, to reveal distinct characteristics that could shape cultivation. The layers are then recombined to show interrelationships, including possible opportunities or obstacles. The maps of topography, hydrology, and impervious surfaces have been selected to form a composite analysis (see figure 3): changes in topography offer different constraints to cultivation strategies; hydrology affects soils and legal buffers; impervious surfaces point to density and zoning restrictions. Finally, boundaries have been drawn between broad areas with different characteristics. These boundaries occur when the topography, hydrology, or development patterns change significantly. The contiguous swaths of land with similar characteristics in Northampton are grouped into four zones or districts—rural, suburban, urban, and agricultural (see figure 4). Recommendations are then made for particular food cultivation strategies appropriate to each district.

Figure 2. Layers of Northampton analyses

Figure 4. Northampton districts

1 mi

2 mi

4 mi

A'

A

1 mi

2 mi

4 mi

Figure 3. Northampton composite analysis Feed NorthamptoN a prOcess fOr undersTanding land capaciTy

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context Northampton stretches between the floodplain of the Connecticut River in the east into the rolling foothills of the Berkshires to the west. The floodplain along the Connecticut River was one of the key reasons John Pynchon bought the land in 1652 from the people of the Nonotuck tribe. The forested western hills provided the first settlers, who arrived two years later, with valuable timber, wild game, and, eventually, pasturelands. The economy of Northampton was based on farming for the first 140 years of its existence. Initially, the settlers were subsistence farmers, but soon after their arrival they began to produce goods to export, using the river for transportation. Later, as local demand increased and local urban markets arose, farmers were vending fruits, dairy products, meats, and vegetables locally. This trend accelerated with the industrial revolution, during which the population of the Pioneer Valley’s towns doubled every decade between 1820 and 1860 (Pabst 1941). During this time Northampton’s economy shifted from one based on agriculture to one based on industry powered by the Mill River (Paynter 1979). While industry was the new engine fueling Northampton’s growth, farming remained a significant component of the economy not just in Northampton but also in the entire fertile Connecticut River Valley (Pabst). This trend remained fairly constant until the end of World War II. After the war, farms in Northampton and elsewhere in Massachusetts began to disappear due to competition from larger farming operations in the West and a changing economic climate in which selling land for development became more profitable than farming (USDA 2007). Farm acreage in Massachusetts fell from 1.1 million acres in 1959 to 700,000 acres in 1969, and to 526,000 acres in 1992. However, from 1997 to 2007, the farm acreage remained constant at about 518,000 acres (USDA). One possible reason why the loss of farmland has slowed is the increased demand for local and organic produce. At this time many small local farms report that they cannot keep up with public demand for CSA shares and there is a long waiting list to join the city’s community gardens (Lombard 2010). By population, Northampton is a small city (with just 29,600 residents), but it serves as the cultural center of the Pioneer Valley. Strong support for the arts, many non-profit organizations, commitment to local agriculture, prestigious venues of higher education, and successful businesses all contribute to the city’s culture. Many residents characterize Northampton’s culture as progressive, citing residents’ civic-mindedness, embrace of diversity, and tolerance. 12

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Northampton serves as a commercial center for the surrounding towns of Easthampton, Hadley, Hatfield, South Hadley, Southampton, Westhampton, and Williamsburg, which taken together have 25,256 households with a total population of 63,498. Residents of towns in Franklin and Hampden Counties also favor Northampton for its stores, restaurants, and cultural amenities. Food expenses are a large part of Northampton residents’ budget. After transportation, the largest spending categories within Northampton were for food at home ($114 million), and food away from home ($75 million) (Seidman 2003). The average Hampshire County resident eats 684 to 760 pounds of fruit and vegetables and 124 to 240 pounds of meat and poultry every year. These figures include food eaten at home and at restaurants (USDA 2010). If the population of Northampton (29,600) were to be multiplied by the USDA-recommended daily consumption of 2,000 calories then the daily calorie consumption for Northampton would total 59,200,000 for all residents. (To put that in perspective, that is 845,714 eggs or 100,338 Big Macs.) Actual calories consumed is likely larger; many people eat many more calories than what is recommended.

“If the population of Northampton (29,600) were to be multiplied by the USDA-recommended daily consumption of 2,000 calories then the daily calorie consumption for Northampton would total 59,200,000 for all residents. That’s is 845,714 eggs or 100,338 Big Macs.” There is little data showing how much local food is currently consumed in Northampton. The manager of the Big Y supermarket in Northampton reported that just 1% of all food stocked there comes from within 100 miles (Big Y manager, Northampton, MA). Thirteen CSAs from Hampshire County provide food to Northampton seasonally (www.mass.gov/agr/ massgrown/csa.htm), each possibly supplying fifty shares to Northampton homes feeding 650 families with locally raised food (approximately 2,600 people). Drawing form these and other sources, it is likely that a small percentage of all food consumed in Northampton has been grown or raised locally. Over its history, Northampton has gone from an agriculturally based economy to a service economy that produces very little of its own food. While people spend a great deal on food, most of this food comes from distant sources. How could Northampton produce significantly more of its own food?


Map of Massachusetts towns with Northampton highlighted (red) inside Hampshire County (light red)

CONNECTICUT RIVER FARMLAND MA TOWN BOUNDARIES NORTHAMPTON TOWN BOUNDARY

Northampton, MA with Connecticut River in the Pioneer Valley

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Northampton’s landform consists of flat floodplains mainly in the east; gentle rises throughout the municipality; and hills in the west. Flatter areas in the center and east of Northampton are easier to build on and have attracted the most development. Hills in the west are no more than 300 feet tall, with slopes over 8%.

Implications

• Hilly topography in the west has discouraged both agriculture and development. Clear-cutting slopes steeper than 5% for till agriculture in the future is not advised. • Tree-cover on slopes over 15% in the west should be preserved, and could be used for animal forage; if tree-cover is lacking on slopes over 15%, nut and fruit trees could be planted to increase food production and help prevent erosion and damage to waterways. • The current practice of till agriculture is appropriate in the flat Meadows and Mill River floodplains, which have slopes less than 3% slope.

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Silt/clay Loam Sand/glacial till Quarry City dump Lake

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Soils in Northampton are generally in one of three categories: sandy till, alluvial clay/silt, and outwash loam. Sandy till exists on 65% of the land in Northampton, and is concentrated in the hills to the west and north. Alluvial clay/silt makes up 20% of the soil, with the largest deposit along the Connecticut River. Other deposits are scattered along the Mill River and smaller streams throughout the municipality. Outwash loam is the least common of the three soil types, constituting about 15% of Northampton’s soils. It is found mostly in the center of the municipality under suburban development.

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Implications • Sandy till is the least productive soil type for cultivation; however, it can be used for growing perennial crops and well-managed grazing. • Alluvial clay/silt is fertile, yet drains poorly; crops accustomed to wet conditions can be successfully cultivated in this soil type. • Outwash loam is less fertile than alluvial clay/silt, but drains well, which allows for greatest crop variety. • Northampton’s three soil types can each support different types of food cultivation, and thus constitute an important natural resource for supporting local food security. Feed NorthamptoN invenTOry and analyses

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inventory and analyses (cont’d) 100-year floodplain River Lake Roads

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The two prominent rivers in Northampton are the Connecticut River, which runs along Northampton’s eastern boundary, and the Mill River, which runs diagonally across the municipality from the northwest to the southeast where it meets the Connecticut. Currently most of the farming in Northampton occurs along the floodplains of these rivers; the largest floodplain area is a 4,000-acre swath along the Connecticut, known as the Meadows. Most streams and brooks in Northampton feed into either the Mill or Connecticut Rivers. Some of these streams and brooks originate as wetlands that are tucked between hills. Flood control for most rivers, streams, and brooks has been implemented with dams and reservoirs, including Upper Reservoir and Robert’s Meadow Reservoir near the village of Leeds.

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Implications • Floodplains are ideally suited for agriculture and should be preserved. • Farming operations located on floodplains should employ practices that reduce chemical and soil runoff into adjacent streams, brooks, and wetlands. • Built dams and reservoirs at the top of watersheds reduce flooding—the process by which nutrients and minerals are deposited into alluvial soils. In the absence of flooding, re-building soil fertility in these areas is critical.


Crop land Pasture Orchard Development River

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According to the 2007 Massachusetts agriculture census, in recent years Massachusetts has seen a slight increase in land under cultivation and in the number of operating farms. While the number of farms in the state has increased, their average size is much smaller than in 1959. Between 1959 and 2007, Northampton’s farmland shrank by 50%. Half of the previous farmland has been developed into suburban lots; the other half has succeeded to young forest. The greatest area of remaining farmland is the Meadows, which lies within the 100-year floodplain of the Connecticut River and the Oxbow. Land here is difficult to acquire because few farmers want to sell, and if they do sell, it is usually to existing farmers—many of whom export their produce out of town (Smiarowski 2010). Primary crops produced in the Meadows are silage corn, potatoes, and soybeans. Smaller areas along the Mill River and within its floodplain continue to be farmed.

Implications • Northampton has farmland that could be managed for cultivating food locally, especially in the Meadows. • Old, undeveloped farmland can be reclaimed, and existing farmland in the Meadows and along the Mill River can be the sites of concentrated efforts to grow food for Northampton. • Former farmland that has not been developed can be re-cultivated, but may require additional resources to return it to agriculture if it has reforested.

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inventory and analyses (cont’d) Analysis Open space/ conservation areas Critical habitat Contiguous forest

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Approximately 5% of the land area in Northampton is legally protected for nature conservation, public parks, municipal water supply, or state and federal fish and wildlife refuges. Each protected area has its own set of rules about which activities are allowed and many probably restrict agriculture. The city is considering protecting a wildlife corridor in the western part of town, which may limit all forms of agriculture there.

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Implications • Agriculture potential may be limited in and around protected areas. Nontraditional forms of agricultural cultivation compatible with conservation goals should be considered for these areas.


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Downtown Northampton is the oldest part of the city and consists of mixed-use buildings no taller than five stories. Florence and Leeds are two separate villages within the town of Northampton, with concentrated centers composed of mixed-use buildings and factories of various ages along the Mill River. The adjacent neighborhoods around village and city centers were built primarily around 1900 and are the densest neighborhoods with the smallest yards. Homes built before World War II form the slightly less dense neighborhoods that connect Northampton with Florence. In the last fifty years, suburban development has sprawled around the edges of Northampton, Florence, and Leeds, generally along arterial streets, flat areas, and old farmland. While this area is nearly the same size as the area of downtown Northampton and its village centers, it houses only 2,000 of the city’s 29,600 residents.

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Implications • Northampton’s built environments limit conventional agriculture. • Urban cultivation strategies could be implemented to increase the agricultural capacity in areas with high density and impervious surfaces. • The loss of flat agricultural land to development has reduced traditional farmland, leaving lawns and public margins as possible sites for increasing cultivation capacity in suburban areas.

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inventory and analyses (cont’d) Urban / Suburban Rural residential Special conservation Commercial Industrial Roads C

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Northampton’s zoning affects the value of land, dictates land uses, and restricts property owners’ ability to raise livestock. Land that is zoned residential is valued at a market rate for residential development, making it expensive to buy for agricultural purposes. In some cases, zoning has protected agriculture lands. The Meadows is zoned as a “special conservancy,” reserving its floodplain for agriculture and making it unavailable to development. Zoning requires a minimum of 30,00 square feet (0.6 acres) to own livestock of any animal type anywhere in the town.

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Implications • Since zoning is a significant factor in determining how land is valued, acquiring land in residential or commercially-zoned areas is usually too expensive for agricultural uses, limiting opportunities for starting farms in these areas. • Minimum land requirement for livestock restricts residents’ ability to raise their own livestock in lots smaller than 0.6 acres. • Chickens and rabbits do not require as much land as other livestock; measures to change zoning can be taken to increase these important sources of protein in the downtown and other properties with less than 0.6 acres.


City street Small road Pioneer valley bus route Arterial road Interstate 91

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The Connecticut River was once an important transportation and trade route for Northampton. Today most of Northampton’s food arrives on Interstate 91, and it is the transportation artery many people use to go and come from the city. Older roads like Routes 5, 9, 10, and 66 are also heavily used, especially Routes 5 and 9. Bus routes are limited to the most urban areas of Northampton. The fewest roads are in the rural areas, limiting vehicle access to many places there.

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Implications • There are no local bus routes outside of the urban core, which makes automobiles necessary for suburban and rural residents to access grocery stores and farmers markets located in the urban core. • Most bike paths are within the urban areas, compromising the safety of cyclists, who must use roads to access and transport food from the urban core. • Dependence on automobiles for acquiring food makes residents who rely on them for accessing food vulnerable to fossil fuel availability.

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inventory and analyses (cont’d) Supermarket Convenience store 1/2 mile radius high density residential med. density residential low density residential commercial institution C

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Northampton’s population (2010) is 29,600. Just under 90% of all Northampton residents (approximately 25,000) live in the urban core and the two incorporated villages. In general the building pattern there is denser than anywhere else in Northampton, with mixed-use buildings, multi-family units, and small lots. The next most populated areas are the suburban neighborhoods built after 1950. Only 7% of all residents (approximately 2,000) live in the suburbs, where there are mostly single-family homes with lot sizes ranging from one-quarter acre to more than 2 acres. Approximately 1,200 residents (4%) live in the rural areas in single-family dwellings with a wide range of lot sizes. The Meadows is home to less than 1% of all residents. All of the supermarkets in Northampton are located in

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the urban area. A half-mile radius around each supermarket represents the maximum distance the average person is comfortable walking to buy groceries. Most of Northampton does not fall within these half-mile radii. Spread more evenly throughout the city are convenience stores, but these tend to sell less healthy food than supermarkets and to charge more. Northampton’s population eats an estimated minimum of 59.2 million calories every day. Based on population, 50 million calories are consumed in the urban core; 4 million calories in the suburbs; 2.4 million calories in the rural area; and 0.4 million calories in the agricultural Meadows. Areas with the largest populations have the greatest demand for food, but these places will have difficulty growing the food they need because there is less open land. In contrast, areas with a lower population have more open land that may be possible to cultivate far more food than that the immediate residents can eat.


Implications • The highest population is in the urban core where the most food calories are consumed, but the least land is available for agriculture. • The Meadows has the lowest population, but the most land available for cultivation. • Residents in rural and suburban areas have to rely on private transportation to get food because of the distance from supermarkets and lack of public transit. • Compared to their respective populations, both rural and suburban areas have a great deal of open space that could be utilized for cultivation. • The varying capacities between the urban, suburban, rural and agricultural areas for producing food for their respective populations means that all these areas will have to support each other to generate the needed 58,000,000 food calories per day. 58,000,000 food calories per day.

Understanding the natural landscape, urban form, and social-political issues within Northampton has helped reveal some of the constraints and opportunities for cultivating local food. Many of the analyses show that large-scale conventional agriculture is not suitable for most areas in Northampton because of steep slopes; lack of undeveloped open areas with fertile soils; poorly drained and rocky soils; and economic and legal barriers. These findings suggest the need to look to unconventional sites where alternative cultivation strategies could help support Northampton’s food security.

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DistrictS In this section, four districts—Rural, Suburban, Urban, and Agricultural (see figures 5 and 6)—are introduced for Northampton and suggestions made for how cultivation could be conceived and implemented that is appropriate to the unique characteristics of each district. Prototypes for feeder farms are identified to model food cultivation strategies that respond to each district’s particular conditions. The preceding analyses reveal Northampton to be a diverse landscape with a variety of assets for and constraints to establishing and sustaining a local food system. Dividing Northampton into districts helps simplify some of the complex relationships between the town, its residents, the land, and food production. The defining patterns for each district follow.

Agricultural • Special Conservancy zoning restricts development and preserves farmland • Rich soils; lies within the 100-year floodplain of the Connecticut River • Many different owners of farm lots, very few residents

• Shares an abrupt boundary edge with the Urban District

Rural • Sparsely populated district, mostly 5 to 8 miles from urban centers • Steep, hilly slopes generally have poor soils and 90% forest cover

• Lot sizes generally greater than in the Suburban and Urban Districts. • Several large conservation areas make up 9% of the district’s area, protecting wetlands and wildlife

Suburban • Low density, non-urban zoning, with poor interconnected residential development inside the Suburban District, and to the Urban District • Largely built in the last 60 years on old farmland, with some remaining farmland pockets • Few areas of contiguous forest (forested areas greater than 30 acres) • No defined town center, central gathering places, or parks

Urban • Diverse zoning types, institutions, and businesses, and the majority of the town’s population • Density of district ranges from 5-story mixed-use buildings to medium light residential neighborhoods • Impervious surfaces, with several concentrated pockets of open land • Lot sizes tend to be small, between 1/8 and 1/4 acres

Figure 5. Photos courtesy of Envisioning Sustainable Northampton (2008) and Wikimedia Commons. Middle column illustration by Leon Krier.

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The districts are not intended to be self-contained food-producing areas, but instead to interact to support a larger town-wide system. While the strategies proposed for each district are most applicable to that district, they may also be adapted to work in similar conditions found in other districts.

Figure 6. Northampton districts

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rural district exiStiNG coNditioNS The Rural District is sparsely populated. This district is the farthest from the urban centers than other districts and is overall less developed. The development patterns are defined in part by a zoning regulation that requires each house lot have a minimum of two acres, causing patchy development that has divided wildlife habitat. Wildlife is common in the Rural District, and populations are especially rich along riparian corridors and wetlands tucked between the hills. The Rural District has several large open space conservation areas protecting wildlife and habitat. Conservation accounts for 9% of the land area in the Rural District. All forms of development

are restricted in the conservation areas and, seasonally, even human access is restricted. There is discussion of protecting a wildlife corridor between the conservation areas, but no plan has been determined at this time. Few roads bisect the Rural District. These roads are small, and weave through hills of varying steepness that are almost completely covered in forest. House lots, fields, wetlands, or reservoirs are the only breaks in the dense forests. The land in this district has historically been logged, cultivated, or grazed. While the young dense forests currently hide this history, the consequences of past agriculture practices have been the removal of top soil, exposing the rocky sub-soils.

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Summary aNalySiS

• High wildlife activity; 9% of the Rural District is conservation land

• Many hills, some with steep slopes

• Low population, largest property lots in Northampton, few roads

• Dense young forests cover over 90% of the Rural District • Soils are composed of sandy glacial till, rocky, with thin top soils

Road Lake Conservation area Proposed wildlife corridor Steep slope Mineral hills

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• Low capacity for cultivation—500 acres are flat enough for till agriculture, but only 100 of those acres have potentially productive soils • Large capacity to raise turkeys, chickens, rabbits, and guinea pigs due to small feeding area required by these animals • Large capacity for forest browsing—8,000 acres of forest browsing potential for livestock such as goats and pigs

coNStraiNtS • Hilly topography, and steep slopes • Poor soils • Dense forests

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• 5,000 acres of slopes no greater than 15% that could support grass grazers like sheep and llamas with some clearing— capacity dependent upon clearing • Limited capacity for milk and meat production—less than 1,000 acres appropriate for cattle • Extremely high capacity for tree crops, with 500 acres on south-facing slopes and 5,000 acres on west-facing slopes, both appropriate conditions for tree crops

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rural district (cont’d) implicatioNS Lot sizes are large compared to other districts. This gives landowners more flexibility for carrying out agricultural projects that require a larger land area The Rural District is hilly. Approximately 80% of the area within the district has slopes greater than 10%. Hills with slopes greater than 10% are susceptible to soil loss and erosion. Slopes over 5% are unsuitable for tilling. Most soils in the Rural District have thin top soils with glacial till (sandy and rocky) parent materials. The soils also tend to have an acidic pH. These soil characteristics limit many annual crops. Young upland mixed forests (northern hardwood, oak hickory, and coniferous species) cover over 90% of the Rural District. The young forests can be dense and difficult to

maneuver through. The predominant forest layer is the canopy, reducing available sunlight. One effect of the hilly topography, among others, is that it creates variable solar exposure in the Rural District. The hills tend to run north-south, creating much more easterly and westerly exposure on the hillsides. The effect of this is that few areas will receive full sun and most areas will receive morning or afternoon sunlight. The type of crops that are utilized will either have to be tolerant of growing in part sun or be carefully sited to maximize their solar orientation. Wildlife activity is high in the Rural District compared to the others. This may cause crop grazing, threat to livestock, and damage. While wildlife can affect agriculture, agriculture in turn has its effects on wildlife, chiefly the destruction of habitat and displacement of species.

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Raise livestock using rotational, stacked, and two-story grazing schemes (see descriptions on following pages).

Use no-till agriculture strategies.

Plant hardy varieties and perennial crops and establish tree crops.

Pursue low intensity forage agriculture.

With 6,000 potential acres for cultivation and grazing in the Rural District, how can the district support Northampton’s goal of growing and consuming more local food?

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case study Sepp holzer, krameterhoF

For years, neighbors thought the Holzer family were a bit crazy for not farming the traditional way on their Alpine hillside homestead. But after many decades struggling against the norm, Sepp Holzer transformed his unlikely stretch of family land in the Austrian Alps into a food paradise. Fishponds, thousands of fruit trees, berry-producing shrubs, unusually productive vegetable patches, and herbal varieties thrive for him. Holzer is now producing a wide variety of food, pasture, and livestock without fertilizers, pesticides, weeding or irrigation on steep, high altitude, rocky soil. Holzer’s approach has been to put his trust into Mother Nature, silently and patiently observing her rules and laws. From this he learned to use his pigs’ foraging behavior to till his soils and chickens to fertilize and eat pests; keep a careful eye on microclimates to capitalize on unique growing areas; plant trees for living wind barriers and soil stabilization; use advanced companion planting; and build water-harvesting earthworks like contour swales, check dams, and ponds. These strategies allow Holzer to grow various citrus and other mild-climate fruit trees and food-producing plants at 4,000 feet above sea level. Holzer’s farm Krameterhof is an example of farming oriented

Left. Water harvesting contour swale: courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Right. Food forest polyculture

to the local climate and ecosystem. This strategy uses native and non-native food-producing plants and animals that work like an ecosystem does, where the waste of one individual is food for another, and no individual is introduced into the system without considering its systemic effects. This type of cultivation system is producing enough food to feed the Holzer family and a surplus to sell in the nearby village without compromising the health of the land; indeed it actually regenerates waterways, topsoil, and biodiversity. • Great variety of food without fertilizers, pesticides, weeding or irrigation • Arrangement and management of plants and animals to mimic the local ecosystem • Surplus of food without compromising waterways, soils, or biodiversity

prototype miNeral hillS rural aGriculture park

Mineral Hills Conservation Area is a 240-acre area that could serve as a strategic Rural District agriculture prototype. The land is owned by the City of Northampton, with seven acres currently rented to the Parson’s Family Farm. The municipality has expressed its interest in developing the land into a city-owned farm, but has yet to act, and may be waiting for non-governmental leadership to develop an agricultural vision for the site. The land type within Mineral Hills is common in the Rural District: hilly, thin sandy soils, and densely forested in most parts. Because Mineral Hills has land typical of the Rural District, it is a good place to demonstrate cultivation and animal husbandry strategies similar to Sepp Holzer’s farm Krameterhof. These strategies could be replicated by aspiring feeder sites in other parts of the district.

The Parsons Family Farm currently rents the only flat and open field (seven acres) at Mineral Hills that is adjacent to Sylvester Road. Because this open area is near this well-traveled road, the site is easy to access and visible to passers-by. Additionally, the flatness of this area and the road access offers an opportunity to site a building that could house processing facilities and training workshops. The site’s 240 acres provide ample room to expand and accommodate increasing use into the future. A large swath of land to the west could become a wildlife conservation area that would remain absent of any type of agriculture. An area for wild foraging could buffer the wildlife area from zones with more intensive agriculture to the east. Sharing land with a wildlife conservation area would demonstrate how rural agriculture could coexist and even support biodiversity (Imhoff 2003).

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rural district (cont’d) CULTIVATION STRATEGIES Daniel Imhoff in Farming with the Wild (2003) documents several cultivation strategies that are both productive and a means of enhancing ecological health and biodiversity. The three strategies listed here may be appropriate for successful and sustainable farming in Northampton’s Rural District.

Polycultures

Complex cropping systems in which two or more crop species are planted near enough to result in competition or complementary relationships, enhancing yields.

crops reduces risk for farmers because they are not relying on just one crop for their living. If pests or a cold snap wipes out one crop, farmers who grow a variety of crops are more likely to have at least one crop that will make it to market (NOFA 2010).

Two-story silvo-pastoral agriculture An agricultural system where trees are grown together with animals, resulting in enhanced complementary relationships between components, increasing multiple uses of the agroecosystem. The concept behind silvo-pastoral agriculture is that multiple functions can be stacked in the same place to maximize productivity. Two-story agriculture is well documented by J. Russell Smith in his book Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture (1926). Smith argues that tree crops and two-story agriculture is a favorable strategy for hilly highlands. He documents how mature nut groves and orchards managed by livestock can produce thousands of pounds of nuts and fruit as well as high quality meat. Livestock can manage tree crops by eating plants below that compete with the tree crops, eat fallen nuts and fruit that can attract pests or diseases, and constantly fertilize the soil with their manure.

Figure 7. Farm-yard forest garden polyculture and garden

Polyculture gardens can include a variety of annual crops, perennial crops, or a mix of both. In the Rural District, where soils are thin and rocky, an emphasis on perennial polycultures will likely lead to more successful yields. The promise of polycultures is that they involve a great deal of labor to install but less and less inputs over time. The reduction of labor over time is due to the fact that perennials are planted only once rather than every year, and their crop output increases as they grow. Additionally, polycultures can be designed like forest ecosystems where plants that fertilize, mulch, and dissuade pests can be interplanted with the producing plants to create a self-reliant growing system also known as a food forest ( Jacke 2008). The productivity of food forests is not well documented for temperate climates. In general they produce less volume of an individual crop than a monoculture, but a much greater variety of crops throughout the growing season. Growing a variety of 30 30

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Rotational Grazing

A system of cycling livestock through a series of paddocks to avoid over-grazing. Several animal types and their corresponding grazing habits can use the same paddock at separate intervals to maximize the productive use of the land without exhausting it.

Figure 8. Two-story silvo-pasture and rotational chicken and sheep grazing


pear Tree shagbark hickOry curranT

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raspberry

Canopy Trees: shagbark hickory, American persimmon Mid-Story Trees: pear, plum, quince, pecan, walnut Shrubs: currant, sea buckthorn, blueberry, raspberry Herbaceous: Jerusalem artichoke Ground Cover: American ground nut

sea buckThOrn Jerusalem arTichOke american grOund nuT

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Figure 9. Food forest polyculture

canopy trees

yield

Shagbark Hickory American Persimmon

4-6 lbs per 100 sq ft. (1,742 lbs. per acre) 30-92 lbs. per 100 sq ft. (13,068 lbs. per acre)

mid-story trees Pear Quince Eastern Black Walnut

92-276 lbs. per 100 sq ft. (40,075 lbs. per acre) 30-92 lbs. per 100 sq ft. (13068 lbs. per acre) 8-160 lbs. per 100 sq ft. (3,485 lbs. per acre)

shrubs Currant High Bush Blueberry raspberry

156-625 lbs. per 100 sq ft. (67,954 lbs. per acre) 3-12 lbs. per 100 sq ft. (1307 lbs. per acre) .95-3.8 lbs. per 100 sq ft. (414 lbs. per acre)

herbaceous Jerusalem Artichoke

100-460 lbs. per 100 sq ft. (43,560 lbs. per acre)

(Dave Jacke, E. Toensmeier, Edible Forest Gardens, Ecological Vision, Theory, Design, and Practice for Temperate Climate Permaculture, Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT 2007, & John Jeavons, How to Grow More Vegetables (7th edition), Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, Ca)

Feeding the Average Goat:

Needs 2-3% of body weight in food per day: average area 800 sq ft. grass per day 1,600 sq ft. per day forest forage (Linda Coffey, Margo Hale, and Ann Wells, Goats: Sustainable Production Overview, www.attra.ncat.org, August 2004)

feeding the Average Pig:

9-12 lbs. forage per day: average area 1,000 sq ft. per day (Lance Gegner: Hog Production Alternatives, www.attra.ncat.org November 2004)

Goat Blueberry Images above are courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Pig

Sea buckthorn

Jerusalem artichoke

seeds for future research

• Who are the likely stewards of the prototype: city, non-profit, near-by residents, or all three? • How might the Parsons Family Farm be included in the prototype?

• What is the demand for each food type that can be raised in the Rural District for Northampton? • How much land is necessary for sustaining wildlife habitat, and where will the proposed wildlife corridor go?

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suburban district exiStiNG coNditioNS The Suburban District borders the urban centers of downtown Northampton, Florence, and Leeds, and is zoned suburban residential. Interlaced between neighborhoods are pockets of woodlands and open fields. There is a relatively uniform character to Northampton’s suburban neighborhoods in the

district—large lawns, houses grouped together in pockets isolated from other neighborhoods, and often centered around a cul-de-sac. The type of development that has occurred in this district is representative of national trends over the past sixty years.

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Aerial view of suburban Northampton displaying a residential neighborhood, a pocket of woodlands, and open fields

66 10

Northampton suburban neighborhood with cul-de-sac and expansive lawn space 32

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5

1 mi

2 mi


Summary aNalySiS

The typical suburban neighborhood in Northampton consists of expansive, flat, quarter- to one-acre lawns surrounding residences. The primary soil type in this district is an outwash loam, which is fairly well-suited for cultivating food.

Suburban development Farmland Major Roads

1 mi

2 mi

diStrict capacity For cultiVatioN (The following are estimated figures)

• 5,500 acres of land, of which roughly 850 acres are open fields currently used as farmland or could provide suitable conditions for large-scale cultivation

coNStraiNtS • A culture that values large lawns instead of front yard gardens, with assumptions that food cultivation and residential living are mutually exclusive. • Due to, among other things, the separations large lawns cause and other cultural norms, suburban neighbors tend to interact less than their urban counterparts and have less public space in which they can fraternize, collectively care for, or mutually benefit from.

• 200 to 500 acres of lawn space

• Primary soil type: outwash loam, fairly well-suited for food cultivation • Majority of slopes: 0 - 8%, appropriate for food cultivation

&

opportuNitieS

• Expansive, flat lawns offer optimal conditions for food cultivation. • Over 300 acres of Northampton State Hospital Land is under an Agriculture Preservation Restriction (APR) and could accommodate food cultivation.

• Development has encroached on agriculture land. • Lack of sidewalks, bike lanes, buses, and other alternatives to automobile transportation decreases car-free accessibility to supermarkets downtown. Feed NorthamptoN disTricTs

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suburban district (cont’d) implicatioNS The Suburban District of Northampton once looked very similar to the Agricultural District, but farmland has diminished steadily over the past sixty years as development has spread out from downtown Northampton. Conventional farmland has been lost to residential development, but some features of residential development may create opportunities for food production.

Suburban neighborhoods tend to be miles from supermarkets and commercial urban centers, making automobile transportation necessary to access food. If fuel costs increase drastically as supplies dwindle, the option of driving whenever take-out or groceries are needed may be unavailable, and having food accessible within walking distance will become increasingly important.

Residential development, largely along the main roads and old farm land (see figure 10), has created a patchwork landscape of open spaces, woodlands, and neighborhood pockets. This pattern of development results in neighborhoods clustered together in pods. An opportunity exists to bring residents of these neighborhoods together to cultivate food.

key QueStioN

Figure 10. Loss of farmland to residential housing

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What could Northampton do to begin to produce and consume more food locally in the Suburban District? In other communities, people are reconsidering the way they use their front yards and cultivating them. Although not everyone in the Suburban District will be interested in growing the diversity of foods they currently consume, what types of strategies can residents use that take advantage of the fact following case studies are examples of success stories for cultivation strategies in that residences are clustered together in suburban areas of other municipalities. pockets with other residences? The

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case studies edible eStateS A project called Edible Estates, created by Fritz Haeg, provides an example of the possibilities for food cultivation in the Suburban District. The Foti family of Lakewood, California, has reconsidered how they use the space around their house, and transformed their front lawn into a garden. Not only are they able to feed themselves, they have been able to cultivate enough food that they often can give some away. Everyone who comes in contact with their suburban front yard garden is forced to reconsider how they occupy their own property. Transforming one’s lawn into a site for food cultivation makes food available to residents in the Suburban District. The Foti family has invested in a better quality of life through growing healthy food and growing their community simultaneously.

A similar example is happening in Northampton. Ann Renee Larouche, a Northampton resident, has been growing a highly productive vegetable garden, fruit trees, and berry bushes in her front yard.

“Pure beauty for the sake of beauty is a luxury I’m not certain we can afford any more. What is to say that edibles aren’t beautiful?” —Ann Renee Larouche Ann’s landscape is not only providing food, but is a work of art and has drawn attention from her neighbors who have asked her to grow food on their properties, too. Singlehandedly, she has created over a dozen edible gardens in the neighborhood, making local, healthy food available to the residents via their own front lawns.

The Foti Family has transformed their lawn into a site for food cultivation. Photos courtesy of Fritz Haeg and the Edible Estates project.

laNdShare The basic concept of Landshare, a successful project started in the United Kingdom, is to connect landowners with growers through an online database. If a property owner has an open lawn that they are willing to have cultivated but do not have the time, knowledge, physical ability, or resources, they offer their land through the Landshare network.

1 You

a grower, landowner, or helper

2 Post a listing

tell others where you are, and what you are looking for, or offering

Conversely, people who wish to garden and lack lawns themselves, as in the case of those who live in apartment complexes or rent where gardening is not permitted, or who want to increase the amount of land they cultivate can access the land offered through Landshare. Often, part of the food cultivated on these sites is given to the landowner in exchange for offering up property to the gardener. The project already involves over 46,000 people and is growing.

3 Get responses

use a mail system to send and receive messages

4 Connect

Figure 11. Adapted from landshare.net Feed NorthamptoN disTricTs

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suburban district (cont’d) prototype There are many opportunities for selecting a prototype for the Suburban District. It should be a place that allows multiple strategies to be applied to a single neighborhood. Such a prototype will respond to the district’s primary constraint—the pervasive lawns that surround homes and that were formerly farmland. The prototype takes advantage of the sprawling, flat lawns and turns them into optimal places to implement the cultivation strategies practiced by the Foti Family and Ann Renee Larouche, transforming lawns into oases of abundance. And for those residents who do not wish to garden but want to participate in the transformation of the neighborhood, they could offer their yards through a locally adapted Landshare program. Such a prototype could include the island of greenery found in the center of some cul-de-sacs. This island could become a prototype for a neighborhood central commons. This typically unused circle of land could serve as a micro-hub, housing neighborhood infrastructure needed to support front yard food cultivation, such as a greenhouse for extending the growing season, a shed for storing community tools and resources, and a neighborhood compost structure.

cultiVatioN StrateGieS The ultimate vision for this model neighborhood is shared community harvest, where each resident becomes especially adept at growing quantities of one type of food, and then food is swapped with neighbors to gather a rich variety. This type of practice is efficient because each household only need invest in the learning and resources required for one type of cultivation, although residents may of course opt to grow an annual vegetable garden or have additional berry bushes. In practice,

one neighbor might invest in bee-keeping equipment and skills needed to have an apiary to produce a surplus of honey beyond personal consumption. Another neighbor may take a permaculture course and buy fruit and nut trees to plant a food forest. A third neighbor may invest in a chicken coop and hens for laying eggs. Residents could then take the surplus they generate and share it with neighbors just down the street as an efficient way to achieve a greater variety of locally available foods and foster meaningful social ties.

lawN cultiVatioN Private property can be utilized for: • Growing annual and perennial fruits, vegetables, and herbs • Raising livestock for meat, eggs, and dairy • Raising bees for honey • Sharing with growers through a Landshare program

cul-de-Sac commoNS

Lawn transformed into site for food cultivation. Photo courtesy of Fritz Haeg and the Edible Estates project.

cOmpOsT

greenhOuse

TOOl shed

Cul-de-sacs and public open spaces could be used for: • Greenhouse to extend growing season • Storage space for tools and shared resources • Community compost structure • Rainwater catchment to be used for greenhouse • Demonstration garden beds and open space to hold workshops Figure 12. Cul-de-sac Commons 36

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rainwaTer caTchmenT barrel

demOnsTraTiOn garden beds

bean Trellis


crop palette / yield canopy tree

yield

Chinese Chestnut

86-240 lbs. per 100 sq ft. (37,462 lbs. per acre)

mid-story trees European Plum Filbert (Hazelnut) Peach

64-184 lbs. per 100 sq ft. (27,878 lbs. per acre) 15.7-67.4 lbs. per 100 sq ft. (6,839 lbs. per acre) 88-176 lbs. per 100 sq ft. (38,333 lbs. per acre)

herbaceous Asparagus

6-22 lbs. per 100 sq ft. (2,600 lbs. per acre)

ground cover Strawberry

4-1.6 lbs. per 100 sq ft. (174 lbs. per acre)

( John Jeavons, How to Grow More Vegetables (7th edition), Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, Ca)

Peaches Asparagus shoots Photos above courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Strawberry

Plum

ciVic recommeNdatioN “Nationwide we convert more than one million acres per year for urban sprawl and other development, while the number of farms in America has  declined from 30 million to fewer than 2 million in the past century.” (Growing Together, PVPC) The town of Northampton could change zoning so that new development is clustered, leaving shared open space that could be cultivated (Arendt). This can reduce sprawl’s impact of converting farmland to non-agricultural uses. The city should amend zoning in suburban areas to encourage denser development and infill projects recommended in Notre Dame School of Architecture’s Envisioning Sustainable Northampton (2008).

seeds for future research • Identify farmland that is likely to be sold, assess its vulnerability to development, and consider means of protecting it. • Refer to Envisioning Sustainable Northampton Plan (2008) to direct future development from protected farmland.

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urban district exiStiNG coNditioNS

neighborhoods consist of slightly larger residential properties with larger yard spaces. Along the northern and western urban periphery lie the largest privately owned residential properties, small farmland parcels, the Bean and Allard Farms (with 185 acres combined), and public parks. Interspersed throughout the district are community and educational organizations, some with plots of open land from one to a few acres. To the north of downtown Northampton are the less dense urban areas of Florence and Leeds, which consist of commercial and small residential properties, with adjacent larger-lot residential neighborhoods and open space.

The Urban District consists of the town’s highest density areas centered around the downtowns of Northampton, Florence, and Leeds, as well as the neighborhoods directly surrounding them. The district is a patchwork of many property types and sizes. In most cases, private properties are zoned for one acre or less, with quarter-acre lots typical. Northampton’s downtown consists of large commercial storefronts, high-density residential properties, and office spaces. Most of the downtown area can be traversed within a 25-minute walk or shorter bike ride. The surrounding

Aerial view, Northampton Urban Center

Main Street, downtown Northampton

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2 mi


Summary aNalySiS Open spaces Institutions with open land High density Medium Density Institutions without open land C

T

RI

VE

Hydrology R

Roads

1 mi

2 mi

diStrict capacity For cultiVatioN (The following are estimated figures)

• 500 acres total of open yards • 35 acres total of open land on public school grounds • 62 acres of open land at Smith College and Smith Vocational School • 18 to 25 acres of open land in office parks • 20 to 25 acres of space on large roofs in the downtown area

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urban district (cont’d) coNStraiNtS

&

• In and around the dense urban core, much of the land is built up, leaving only small parcels of land that are unsuitable for conventional agriculture and large livestock grazing. • Zoning, spatial, and sanitation issues limit animal husbandry in this district. For raising chickens, current zoning requires a minimum of 30,000 square feet, on which three chickens are permitted. For every chicken thereafter, an additional 10,000 square feet is needed. These figures amount to a maximum of four chickens for every acre of land, and such open, privately owned acreage is uncommon in the Urban District.

• Soils in post-industrial cities like Northampton may contain toxic levels of lead due to previous industry. Also, lead may be concentrated in sites of old gas stations and parking lots from leaded gasoline, and in soil around older buildings with lead-based exterior paint.

implicatioNS Potential organizational and social connections can be strengthened to create beneficial partnerships that work to build a resilient local food system.

key QueStioNS

In the densely populated Urban District, alternative methods to conventional agriculture will need to be sought out due to

40 40

What can Northampton do to grow more food in the Urban District? Many individuals and organizations in the district are already contributing to food system functions. How, then, can each become better informed of others’ work, and build connections for new opportunities? This section hopes to inform the public about potential connections; it does so by highlighting sites of current small-scale food cultivation, and offers suggestions about how operations might expand. Feed NorthamptoN disTricTs

opportuNitieS

• With diverse land uses, property types, institutions, and residents all in close proximity to each other, there is an opportunity to develop viable social and economic networks organized around food cultivation. Their proximity creates the possibilities to share knowledge, physical resources, and land. • Future dense urban infill development, outlined in the Sustainable Northampton Comprehensive Plan (2007) and in the Envisioning Sustainable Northampton study (2009), offers opportunities to plan for and integrate small-scale cultivation techniques. • An urban heat-island effect occurs when concentrated buildings and pavement absorb heat and radiate it slowly outwards, creating a warmer temperature in city centers than directly outside of them. This warmer microclimate is valuable for cultivation of heat-loving crops, many of which require warmer zones further south.

lack of open land. Urban agriculture can take place in small spaces, including single or shared yards, rooftops, vertical gardens, and planters. Directly outside of the urban core, cultivation can increase with more community and educational gardens and on small farms.


case studies | prototypes The following case studies highlight success stories of cultivation strategies in urban areas of other municipalities. Each section corresponds with possible prototypes suggested later in the Urban District.

There are two types of prototypes for feeder “farms” in the Urban District: sites already used for food production and less obvious places not now used for production that offer some potential. The prototype sites are close to one another so that their stewards could share resources, and the prototypes are visible and accessible to the general public.

a) cultiVatioN iN urbaN NeiGhborhoodS oN Small lotS aNd yardS Case Study

Prototype

• The Food Project, Boston, MA: The Food Project is a not-for-profit organization that has been creating community-centered, productive, educational farms and gardens in urban and suburban areas since 1991, and now farms 37 acres combined. Their work “engages young people in personal and social change through sustainable agriculture.” (http://thefoodproject.org)

• Under the right conditions, and using proper techniques, it is possible to grow much food in relatively small urban spaces in Northampton with hand-cultivation in single-yard or joined-yard gardens, using existing back, front, and side yard space. In these dense urban settings, neighbors are able to combine their resources, knowledge, tools, and land.

Farm run by The Food Project in densely-populated urban area of Dorchester, Boston. Photos courtesy The Food Project

Urban gardens on small residential lots

b) GardeNS For at-riSk populatioNS Case Study

Prototype

• The Homeless Garden Project, Santa Cruz, CA: Since 1990, this unique organization has provided not only nutritious food, but also job training, transitional employment, and marketable skills in farming and gardening to many homeless and low-income people. Even more important is the sense of community, commitment, and renewed confidence that the program instills in participants. (www.homelessgardenproject.org)

• Garden programs at shelters and social service organizations serving at-risk populations could provide produce to service recipients. Additionally, gardens could serve as learning tools to help people develop job skills. For example, the Grove Street Inn is a free, need-based, temporary shelter, with a vegetable garden on the premises that provides produce for shelter residents. Volunteer work or donations could help to maintain and expand the garden.

Photos courtesy of The Homeless Garden Project, Santa Cruz, CA Feed NorthamptoN disTricTs

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urban district (cont’d) C) School Garden Programs Case Studies • City Sprouts, Cambridge, MA: This organization helps schools set up and coordinate educational garden programs with students and teachers. City Sprouts is also a resource for other communities, with online postings of lessons and curriculum that satisfy Massachusetts educational requirements through gardening. It secures public and private funding sources outside of the schools’ financial commitments, making programs economically viable for schools. An enthusiastic young gardener (www.citysprouts.org) in Cambridge, MA. Photo courtesy of City Sprouts.

• Project Sprout, Monument Mountain High School, Great Barrington, MA: This high school garden project, started by students with the help of supportive faculty and administration, has grown to 12,000 square feet of vegetables, an apple orchard, berry bushes, and vocational training program. (www.bethecatalyst.org/hollyaprea/posts/268-project-sproutgreat-barrington-Massachusetts)

Prototype • Not only could school gardens provide fresh food and education, but they could also teach important life lessons about stewardship, ecological processes, natural cycles, patience, and teamwork. Garden programs could be integrated into a wide range of state-mandated curricula. For instance, at the Jackson Street Elementary School near downtown Northampton, the garden program is in its second Jackson St. School Garden, season, and is used by a number Northanpton, MA of classes. The garden currently consists of a few raised beds, but the large school grounds offer the potential for expansion to other areas. The Northampton School District plans to start garden programs at other schools with the help of School Sprouts, a local garden education organization that provides assistance at Jackson Street School.

d) Higher Education Campus Gardens Case Studies

Prototype

• Smith College, Northampton, MA: Smith College students created extensive Victory Gardens on large lawn spaces of the campus during World War II to provide food for the student body and faculty. Present-day gardens have the potential to be just as productive and visible.

• As highly visible leaders in intellectual thought, institutions of higher education all over the country could set examples to help encourage widespread efforts towards food security. Smith College students already operate a community garden on campus. This space is near but not part of the main campus area and out of view of many passersby. With the expansive open lawn areas on the campus, and its history of student-tended Victory Gardens during WWII, Smith may be receptive to expanding the community gardens and turning blankets of lawn into productive plots of beautiful food.

• Hampshire College, Amherst, MA: A Farm Center on campus contains a CSA and educational farm for hands-on learning opportunities. This is a well-established precedent for small-scale food production and education at an institution of higher learning. (www.hampshire.edu/academics/5728.htm) • McGill University, Montreal, Canada: The Edible Campus project is part of the School of Architecture’s Minimum Cost Housing Group. It aims to be a model for urban food production and revitalization. (http://publications.mcgill.ca/reporter/2009/07/vikrambhatt-director-of-the-minimum-cost-housing-group) • Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO: Students maintain a large edible garden on the lawn of the president’s house in downtown Colorado Springs. (http://sustainability.coloradocollege.edu/garden) 42

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Smith College students creating Victory Garden during WWII. Photo courtesy of Smith College.


e) Office Park Properties CASE STUDIES

PROTOTYPE

• Pepsi World Headquarters Campus Employee Garden, Purchase, NY: This multi-national corporation has initiated a garden for its employees at its corporate world headquarters. After just one season the company is planning to create gardens at many of its corporate campuses worldwide. (www.pepsico.com/ PressRelease/PepsiCoOur New Way Garden Opens-Organic-Garden-ateducational garden at office park, White Plains, NY World-Headquarters.html)

• Office and corporate park properties tend to have large lawn spaces that have high maintenance costs and fuel consumption. If companies rented out these areas for food production or converted them to employee garden spaces, they could not only help increase local food security, but could also increase their own economic viability, either directly from land-rental income or indirectly by increasing employee satisfaction and retention. For instance, many large office buildings east of King Street are surrounded by open lawn, and could become sites for food cultivation. As with all properties in a post-industrial urban area, soil needs to be tested for lead and other contamination. Sites in this area specifically may need to be further assessed for contamination from the nearby interstate to the east, from frequent vehicular traffic in the office park, and from chemicals on-site. Possibilities could include community/ employee gardens with individual plots, small farms to supply fresh food to cafeterias, or plots to rent for small CSA or market-garden operations.

• Benerofe Properties, 4 King St., White Plains, NY: A local garden-education organization, Our New Way Garden, has created a garden at this office park for educational and cultivation purposes. The garden currently donates vegetables to local cafés.

f) Cultivation on Rooftops

Figure 13. Edible rooftop garden with tall raised beds

Case Study

Prototype

• Rooftop Farms, Brooklyn, NY: A rooftop farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, grows vegetables for its CSA members and for a public Sunday market. The organization also provides opportunities for local schools in the area to bring students to learn about urban, intensive, small-scale food production. (www.rooftopfarms.org, www.goodegreennyc.com)

• Rooftop cultivation areas could not only provide food, but could also beautify urban areas, help reduce buildings’ heating and cooling expenses, and provide educational and social gathering spaces. There may be potential for rooftop cultivation on large, flat roofs along Main Street and King Street. The large open areas between commercial buildings on King Street could also serve as possible market spaces for distribution. The roof of the municipal parking garage could be an appropriate site for a rooftop cultivation prototype due to its load-bearing potential, accessibility, and visibility, and because it is municipally owned and operated. However, most rooftop cultivation would probably be employed only as a last resort if food shortages become dire because of the large amount of embodied energy and the expense of reinforcing most buildings, importing soil, and accessing rooftops. Feed Northampton Districts

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urban district (cont’d) Due to space constraints, most areas in the Urban District will need to rely on small-scale, intensive cultivation methods. The methods recommended below rely on human-powered hand-tools, rather than on equipment that requires fossil fuels. Hand cultivation techniques are recommended over the employment of machines for several reasons: to decrease dependency on non-renewable, expensive fossil fuels necessary to operate machines; to make a choice that reflects Northampton’s goals towards sustainability; and to have the least impact on delicate soil structure.

reSideNceS with limited yard Space A heat-island effect exists in most densely-settled urban areas with buildings that are close together, or where there is an abundance of concrete, brick, and asphalt from roads and sidewalks. This enables annual, heat-loving crops to be grown more readily (see Appendix E for crop palette and yields).

at the beginning of the twentieth century and was popularized by John Jeavons’ book How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible in Less Space Than You Can Imagine. The Ecology Action Network promotes the techniques and practice of biointensive food production.

Soil teStS aNd remediatioN In most urban areas, soil should be tested for lead contamination before cultivating food. If lead is found, care should be taken with both crops and livestock. At levels above 40 parts per million (ppm), soil is considered contaminated, but fruit crops can safely grow there until 300 to 1,000 ppm. At these higher levels, grazing livestock and cultivating crops grown for vegetative parts should be avoided. All garden surfaces should be mulched to help neutralize and bind lead. Soil remediation may be accomplished by planting and then discarding crops in the Brassicaceae and Asteraceae families, or by removing and replacing the topsoil layer. With raised beds with a 3-foot depth of imported soil, vegetative crops could be raised without their roots reaching contaminated soil. (Appendix F contains complete soil-lead contamination and remediation information.)

raiSed bedS

Figure 14. Urban heat island profile, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

bioiNteNSiVe double-duG bedS This strategy is an organic agricultural method that maximizes crop yields through intensive cultivation of many plants in a small space, while improving soil in the process. The digging of two layers and cycling soil through the beds improves drainage and aeration, which allows roots to grow much deeper and reach more nutrients. This strategy is labor intensive and may not be practical for areas where the ground is excessively hard and the soil is compacted, or in areas prone to be wet. This technique was used extensively in France in small urban spaces

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With raised beds, gardening can happen even on impervious surfaces such as concrete, rooftops, and asphalt. Raised beds are garden beds contained by sides of wood, stone, or metal that hold soil deep enough to grow food over otherwise un-productive growing surfaces. For people who cannot bend to reach the ground or those in wheelchairs, approximately 3-ft tall raised beds can be built to allow access.

Raised garden bed


Sheet mulchiNG

crop palette

Also referred to as “lasagna gardening,” sheet mulching is used for cultivation of annuals, perennials, and tree crops. By layering organic materials on the soil’s surface, soil is built up in a way that mimics the natural ecological process of a forest, cultivating healthy microbial networks, microfauna, soil structure and fertility, and preventing erosion. This re-uses materials such as cardboard, newspaper, animal manures, grass clippings, leaves, and unwanted plants, thus turning waste into fertility. This is an old technique that has become popularized with the advent of permaculture gardening ( Jacke and Toensmeier; Lanza).

• Appropriate crops for Northampton’s climate are outlined in Appendix E, with yields listed per 100 feet of row. • When allowed by law, honeybees, chickens, and rabbits can be raised in urban areas with minimal space. • For urban heat-island environments without cultivatable land, crops such as tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers can be grown in pots on stoops, balconies, or rooftops. Deep-rooted, heat-loving crops that require land to grow include fig and persimmon trees, which without the heat-island effect usually do not survive or thrive in a zone 5 climate.

SuGGeStioN: zoNiNG chaNGeS oN chickeNS

cOmpOsT leaves grass clippings leaves newspaper, cardbOard manure

The Northampton Backyard Chicken Advocates, in conjunction with the Zoning Revisions Committee, is seeking to increase the number of chickens allowed on residential properties from 4 per acre to 8 per acre. Many urban and suburban areas around the U.S. with similar geographic, spatial, and density types have ordinances that allow for more than 8 chickens per acre. In diverse places, urban dwellers are finding creative ways to address the potential problems of sanitation, water contamination, and noise. Benefits to raising more chickens include inexpensive, nutrition-rich eggs, a smaller carbon footprint, money saved on food bills, organic on-site manure for fertilizing gardens, and chickens to eat food scraps, reducing waste ending up in landfills. This website details nationwide efforts and successes with increasing local backyard chicken allowances: http://home.centurytel.net/ thecitychicken/chickenlaws.html.

Figure 15. Garden layering illustrations adapted from Lasagna Gardening, by Patricia Lanza.

seeds for future research

Can the community gardens be expanded or moved closer to downtown? • Many residents living in or near downtown Northampton complained about the inaccessibility of the community gardens because of how far they are from the downtown area. Also, there is no bike path or sidewalk that goes to the gardens for those without automobile access. There is a long wait list of people who want a community garden plot.

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agricultural district exiStiNG coNditioNS The Agricultural District is bounded by the Connecticut River to the east, shares an edge with the Urban District to the west, and has wetlands to the east and southeast. Much of the district is formed by the Meadows, approximately 4,000 acres of rich agricultural land predominantly composed of silty loam, and currently producing a narrow range of fossil-fuel intensive crops, mostly potatoes and crops not for human consumption—corn silage, soybeans, and hay. The Meadows is subject to flooding from the Connecticut River, and vandalism and illegal dumping. The district is almost entirely zoned as Special Conservancy, with many restrictions due to the FEMA 100-year floodplain. Interstate 91 cuts north/south through the center of the district, and is a barrier for pedestrian and vehicular circulation, except for five underpasses. Abutting the Meadows is Ward 3, which comprises several residential neighborhoods within the Agricultural District. The ward has a history of food cultivation, current urban agriculture practices, and is the home of many farmers in the Meadows. The Ward 3 Neighborhood Association initiated the Meadows Land Use Plan (2005) to protect ward residents’ interests in preserving open space, the floodplain, and

agricultural productivity of the Meadows. Ward 3’s culture and values, particularly in its Montview neighborhood, makes it a fertile place for an urban agriculture heart of the city. Furthermore, bringing more agriculture to these neighborhoods could help bridge a gap with the farmers who live there, potentially enlisting their help with local food goals. Furthermore, three of four city-owned farms are in the Agricultural District. The Elwell Conservation Area and Montview Farm are cultivated and already supply food locally; the Bleiman Property is currently hayed and not rented. Three privately owned farms in the district sell produce in Northampton: Town Farm, Green Meadows Farm, and Szawlowski Potato Farms (see details on farms in Appendix B). Another asset that could support food security in this district is the Tri-County Fairgrounds. Its 51 acres are within the FEMA 100-year floodplain and are zoned for agricultural-related businesses by right. It is undergoing redevelopment, currently proposed as a multi-use exhibition center, but could provide additional amenities to house local food-related infrastructure (see proposal in System-wide Hubs).

Floodplains of Connecticut River

C

O

NN

EC

TIC

UT RIVE R

Montview Farm Stand

5

46

NorthamptoN View of theFeed Connecticut River and thedisTricTs Meadows from Mt. Tom

1 mi

2 mi


Food exports out of the meadows Food flow in to city

Summary aNalySiS

Prime Farmland Wetlands Ct. River Interstate 91 Underpass Privately Owned CSA C

O

City-owned farm NN

EC

Town Farm, Northampton, MA

TIC

Fairgrounds UT RIVE R

Approximately 95% of the food grown in the 4,000 acres of rich, alluvial soil in the Meadows is shipped out of town (Snyder 2010).

diStrict capacity For cultiVatioN (The following are estimated figures)

• 4,000 acres of land available for production—most of which is cultivated and has been for decades

• 3,500 acres of the Meadows is endowed with rich Hadley or Winooski Silt Loam; ideal for wet-tolerant crops

• 500 acres of Limerick Silt Loam stretch across the Meadows in bands of relative lowlands; poorly drained soil, characterized by a high-water table and frequent flooding; limited agricultural use here • Much of the district is in the 100-year floodplain and occasional flooding may limit crop diversity

coNStraiNtS

&

• Current market conditions result in the majority of crops being sent out of town

opportuNitieS

• Fertile, alluvial soils in the Meadows

• Demand for soybeans, silage corn, and hay makes the cultivation of this narrow range of crops profitable

• Agricultural District abuts Urban District, making food produced here easily accessible to a majority of Northampton’s residents by a short commute

• Agricultural methods used rely on fossil fuels and other oil- and gas-based resources

• Many Ward 3 residents are enthusiastic local-food supporters

• Length of conventional agriculture’s growing season is limited

• The Fairgrounds is undergoing re-development

• Lack of local processing facilities and distribution system • Storage buildings needed, but zoning restricts construction in the Meadows and on city-owned farms • 500 of the 4,000 acres is poorly drained soil, limiting crop productivity Feed NorthamptoN disTricTs

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agricultural district (cont’d) implicatioNS

key QueStioNS

Urban | Agriculture edge

The Meadows

Exports

Food exports

48

Town

91 Local Food

Distribution to Town

The Meadows is endowed with rich, alluvial soils from the Connecticut River and is well suited for food cultivation. The Meadows has the potential to produce large quantities of food for Northampton residents but current agricultural practices, based on market conditions and the availability of inexpensive fossil fuels, result in the limited seasonal cultivation of a narrow range of crops, much of which is not for human consumption and almost all of which is shipped out of town (Snyder 2010). In the future, a sharp decline in the fuel supply or rise in fuel prices may alter markets so that current practices are no longer financially viable.

Interstate 91 block

What can Northampton do to produce more food in the Agricultural District for year-round local consumption? What models, mechanisms, or incentives might encourage farmers to grow more food for residents? What opportunities are there for processing and storing food in proximity to the Meadows? Should the 500 acres of poorly drained soil in the Meadows be considered for food production or are its ecological functions more important?

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The Agricultural District shares its western edge with the Urban District. Sites such as city-owned farms, cultivated backyards in Ward 3, and the Tri-County Fairgrounds can maximize this unique juxtaposition and become nodes or hubs for educating and connecting the public in the Urban District with food produced in the Agricultural District. Interstate 91 divides the expanse of the Meadows to the east from the majority of Northampton’s residents, who live in areas to the west of the Agricultural District. Except for a few underpasses, the interstate obstructs pedestrians and vehicles from accessing the Meadows, contributing to physical and civic disconnection from this potential resource.


case study Four SeaSoN Farm, harborSide, cape roSier, maiNe www.fourseasonfarm.com At a latitude of 44 degrees north, some 140 miles farther north than Northampton but in a similar plant hardiness zone, the Four Season Farm is an experimental market garden on the central Maine coastline that has become a model of how to commercially grow organic food year-round in a difficult New England climate. Owners Eliot Coleman (author of The New Organic Grower and The Four Season Harvest) and Barbara Damrosch (author of Theme Gardens and The Garden Primer) grow a diversity of vegetables through the spring, summer, and fall, and greens and root vegetables throughout the winter. They are able to grow food year-round because they have learned what cold-hardy plants to grow, how to successionally schedule planting and harvesting, and how to protect crops with simple, inexpensive materials. They began year-round production for the market in 1995. “Our goal,” says Coleman in the introduction to his The Winter Harvest Handbook (2009), “was to find the lowest tech and most economical way to extend fresh-vegetable harvest through the winter months.” They began with glass cold-frames and moved on to 30-by-96-foot mobile greenhouses, with light, self-ventilating fabric to cover the row crops inside the greenhouses. The unheated greenhouses are simple and low-cost. “We followed our minimalist preferences and avoided any space-age materials, complicated technologies, or whizzing machinery with which we are not comfortable” (Coleman 2009, 3). There are no pumps, fans, insulation, or water or stone heat storage systems. They use no supplemental lighting; they discovered that while crops do take longer to grow in the short winter days, they can compensate for this by planting successionally across a wide range of dates. They begin planting for their winter harvest in August and continue through the autumn, so

greens and root vegetables can grow large enough before the December slow-down and short winter days arrive. Some of the greenhouses sit on tracks and can be moved by hand over adjoining fields; others can be pulled over the fields by a tractor. Moveable greenhouses allow Coleman and Damrosch to take best advantage of available light, rain, and sun. They can start some plants in the ground in late summer and then protect them as the temperatures drop. Crops that love the heat can be grown in the greenhouses in the summer as others grow in the full sun and rain. Temporary shelters of galvanized metal and plastic sheeting protect outdoor crops when needed, and fields not in use can be planted with nitrogen-fixing cover crops. Twenty vegetable crops are harvested in winter, including spinach, carrots, turnips, chard, sorrel, scallions, kale, mache, tatsoi, arugula, minutina, and claytonia. The densely planted winter greenhouse beds are draped with gauzy cloth over wickets, creating an extra layer of protection for very cold days. The inexpensive plastic sheeting of the greenhouses and the row covers together create conditions like those three zones to the south. “I realized that under this thin piece of plastic,” says Coleman, “I could create a climate that was 500 miles to the south of Mine. Then I put very light spunbonded polyester fabric 12 inches off the ground, and under that is another 500 miles to the south—now we’re talking about a climate that’s down somewhere around Georgia” (Bodwell 2007, 64). The greenhouses and fields take up less than three acres and all produce is sold (to five to ten restaurants, depending on the season, two markets, and a farmstand) within thirty miles of the farm (Bodwell). Coleman reports that field crops and greenhouse crops together return a gross income of $80,000 per acre annually (Coleman 174). Coleman and Damrosch have kept two-thirds of their 45-acre property in wild woodlots, swamps, and other wildlife habitat. An abundance of foxes, coyotes, owls, hawks, and other predators help keep down the rodent population. In the remaining 15 acres, hay fields are mowed for compost. They hope eventually to plant wheat and wine grapes, and to raise ducks.

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agricultural district (cont’d) prototype Year-Round Cultivation in the Meadows The Four Season Farm has become a commercially successful enterprise that also serves as a demonstration site of new techniques for year-round production for local consumption. A similar prototype in the Northampton Meadows would show how a diversity of crops can profitably be grown

policy suggestion A Local Food Incentive Program The Sustainable Northampton Comprehensive Plan (2007), sponsored by the city government, contains no measures specifically for food security. To boost sustainability, increase self-sufficiency, and decrease dependence on fossil fuels— explicit goals stated in the plan—the city could create programs that integrate one of its most valuable existing resources, the Meadows more fully into food security. With the help of outside grants initially (see grant opportunities, Appendix D), the city could offer subsidies to a few farmers to grow a greater diversity of edible crops and sell them to local food-processing businesses, restaurants, and vendors. The

year-round in a relatively small area, and with little or no fossil fuels. Whether privately or city-owned, leased or purchased outright, funded by CSA shareholders or through grants and loans (see Rural Community Facilities Grants and Loans in Appendix D), this prototype could gradually improve soil health as it experiments with winter crop varieties, planting schedules, crop sequencing, and cultivation techniques.

program might support certain management practices to ensure the long-term productivity of the land, the health of the local environment, and the nutritional content of the food cultivated there (see suggested cultivation strategies below). The goals of the program would also be in concurrence with the Meadows Land Use Plan (2005), sponsored by Ward 3 Neighborhood Association and the city of Northampton, adopted by the Planning Board. This plan states that the City Council, in partnership with the Office of Planning and Development and the broader community, agree to support agriculture by pursuing funding mechanisms that help sustain farming viability—indicating that there is already interest in allocating funds to support farmers.

increasing visibility An Edible Landscape and Farm Tour

to saving heirloom tomato seeds and planting edible landscapes, residents in Northampton can learn an array of food cultivation strategies from the Ward 3 growers themselves.

An edible landscape and farm tour of the Meadows could educate participants about the Meadows and encourage more people to cultivate food.

An edible landscape and farm tour could be replicated in other neighborhoods in Northampton. By bike or foot, these tours would serve multiple functions within the local food system. Residents would have the opportunity to educate each other on various cultivation strategies, social connections centered around local food would increase, and people would have a new two-fold motivation to grow food: to eat and to feature their gardens, food forests, and chicken runs as stops on the tour.

Ward 3’s first annual Garden Tour, scheduled for August 2010, might serve as a model for a Meadows tour. The ward’s residents have a strong interest in growing food, and two CSAs have been formed here in the past five years, Montview Farm and Town Farm.

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The Ward 3 Garden Tour will highlight the abundance of fruits, nuts, herbs, vegetables and small livestock raised in the ward. Each stop on the tour has been selected for its distinctive methods and products. From large-scale farming in the Meadows to growing in small urban plots

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The tour could become a three-season event, held at the same sites in the spring, summer, and fall. If a prototype like Four Season Farm were to be established, the tour could be a truly year-round event that would allow participants to observe a site through all the seasons, learning the cycles involved in food cultivation: garden preparation, tending, and harvest.


alterNatiVe cultiVatioN StrateGieS For larGe-Scale FarmS Even if the densely planted, year-round, low- to no-fossil-fuel techniques of the Four Season Farm were not employed in the Meadows, other strategies could be used to help build soil health, increase yields, and reduce fossil-fuel consumption:

Organic Fertilizers

Manure and/or compost to fertilize soil rather than chemical fertilizers that require petroleum to produce and when applied in excess can run off and pollute waterways.

Crop Rotation

that the soil can replenish the different nutrients taken up by each crop, and avoid the build-up of pathogens and pests specific to one crop.

Cover Crops

While allowing an agricultural plot to lie fallow, a living mulch or green manure such as plants in the Fabaceae (pea) family increase soil fertility, and manage weeds and pests. These crops are grown and then cut and left on top of the soil to help build its nitrogen content.

Integrated Pest Management

An integrated, ecological approach that aims to reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides to manage pest populations through a myriad of practices such as building soil, crop rotation, and growing plants that attract carnivorous insects.

A system of cultivating a selection of crops on the same plot so

crop yield For the meadowS (conventional techniques)

The following crops are those well suited for the Hadley and Winooski floodplain soils found in 3,500 acres of the Meadows. Using conventional agricultural techniques, one acre could yield: Hay, which could be used to feed vegetables yield per acre local livestock, could possibly be Potato 27,500 lbs grown on the 500 acres of lowland Limerick silt loam in the Meadows, Cucumber 28,800 lbs though it may be more important to Onion 30,000 lbs preserve these areas, with their poorly Sweet corn 21,000 lbs drained soil, high-water table, and Butternut squash 14,000 lbs frequent flooding, for their significant role in ecological Asparagus 2,160 lbs functions. Cabbage 14 tons (All figures represented result from hay yield per acre conventional agricultural practices, Timothy-clover 2.5 tons requiring time, maintenance, and use (most appropriate hay for the soil here) of farming equipment.)

crop yield For alterNatiVe cultiVatioN StrateGieS See Appendix E for an extensive list of crops and their potential yields using alternatives to conventional agricultural strategies.

seed questions for future research • What are the aspirations of the farmers in the Meadows and how interested would they be in alternative cultivation techniques if shown to be financially viable? This information could be helpful for building future partnerships towards year-round food security and potential participation in a focal food incentive program or an edible landscape and garden tour. • What are the older generation of farmers’ plans for the future? Do they plan to sell or bestow farming operations to other family members? If traditional farming families are no longer interested in working the farms in the future, what transition could ensure that farming continues on their property, with the goal of increasing Northampton’s food security?

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take a tour...

Northampton Agri-bicycle tour 2015 It’s the year 2015 and visitors are coming to town to take the popular bicycle agri-tour of Northampton’s local food system. From the newly extended bicycle path network, tourists can visit the exciting prototypes and food hubs in each district to learn new techniques for food cultivation and gather ideas about how a local food system could work in their hometown. First stop on the tour is in the Agricultural District. The cyclists ride around the expansive Meadows and visit with farmers producing vegetables en masse. Next, they stop at the food hub at the Fairgrounds and an employee shows them where the vegetables are cleaned and sorted, and explains how they are distributed to farmers markets, grocery stores, CSA shares, and through bicycle-powered delivery services. The group learns about the economic and social importance of shared community infrastructure such as processing and storage facilities, greenhouse to extend the growing season, and space for a year-round farmers market and mobile slaughterhouse. To see how the food waste is re-integrated into the system, the last stop in the district is at the Municipal Composting Center at the Bleiman Property— a city-owned farm—where they get to take home a sample of rich, dark compost and learn about the city’s mandatory composting program.

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Next stop is the Smith College neighborhood where a tour guide for the Urban District awaits. Biking around with the group, he shows them all the latest innovations in urban agriculture strategies—intensive raised-bed gardens abound in residential quarter-acre lots, roof-top gardens and edible vines cover apartment buildings, potted herbs and veggies line student dorm balconies, productive, educational gardens are dispersed throughout the college campus, a glassed greenhouse room sits on the south-facing side of a commercial building, and fruit trees line sidewalks next to the park. Riding further away from town, the group visits a prototype neighborhood in the Suburban District. Each of the lawns of the eight houses around the cul-de-sac are predominantly producing one type of food that homeowners and renters harvest for trade with each other every week. On Saturday mornings, the tour finds neighbors gathering at the cul-de-sac, one with eggs, one with dark leafy greens, another with blackberries. On these mornings, they exchange foods, socialize, and tend the neighborhood greenhouse and compost heap. Before leaving the district, the tour stops at a church and hospital grounds. Inside the commercial kitchen at the church, they watch a demonstration of how to take the curds and whey of goats milk and turn it into cheese. At Hospital Hill, a gardener takes a break from harvesting sunflower seeds to show the group the community garden plots, shared irrigation system, equipment, and tool shed, and the farm incubator site.


Last stop on the tour requires some muscle power to get up the western hills of the Rural District. Arriving at Mineral Hills Conservation Area, a city-owned property, the group is met by a tour guide who shows them the processing pavilion; there is a site for the mobile slaughterhouse, a press for turning fruits such as apples, pears, and persimmons into butter and cider, and a depot for cleaning, sorting, and distributing the nuts, fruits, and mushrooms grown on site. The agri-tour culminates with a guided hike through the property to see examples of permaculture principles adapted to a sloped site and thin, rocky topsoil. The tour leads into a forest garden with polycultures of fruit trees, berry bushes, and herbaceous perennials like Jerusalem artichoke. The forest then opens to a clearing in the understory where pigs and goats are roaming and foraging underneath a canopy of black walnut and pecan trees in a two-story agriculture site. Lastly, the group comes to a completely open expanse where dairy cows are grazed in rotation—a strategy that sustains the health of soil and groundcover. Everyone is invited back into the food forest to pick some sea buckthorn, quinces, and hickory nuts to take home to eat and to plant in the compost they were given to begin their own forest garden at home.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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cultivating possibilities how many could be fed?

Approximately 4,400 acres in Northampton are currently farmed. In addition, potential sites for food production across the four districts described above include an estimated: • 1,000 acres of open lawns • 100 acres of college and other school grounds • 300 acres of land around businesses and institutions • 25 acres of large roofs in the downtown area • 950 acres of open fields • 8,000 acres of forest for livestock browsing and nut crops A total of 10,375 acres could be turned into new sites of food production to increase Northampton’s capacity to supply its own food. Using both conventional and alternative cultivation strategies where appropriate, the total acreage of existing farms and potential sites of agriculture—14,775 acres, approximately half the size of the town of Northampton—could have a significant impact on the city’s food security. How many people could be fed annually if these acres were in food production depends on many factors, including particular site conditions, cultivation methods, the composition of diets, the timing of planting and harvesting, and the types of crops and animals raised. Christian Peters, of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Cornell University, has studied foodsheds and the amount of land needed to support local food production. His research, focusing on New York State, has involved calculating per person land requirements for 42 different diets and correlating these results with the currently available agricultural land in the state (Peters et al. 2007). He and his co-researchers have determined that, depending on the amount of meat and fat in the diet, there is a five-fold difference in the per person annual land requirements of the various diets, from 0.45 acres per person for a low-fat vegetarian diet to 2.13 acres per person for a diet high in fat and 12 ounces of meat per day. (The average American, Peters reports, consumes over 5 ounces of meat per day [Peters et al. 152].) The assumptions of the study include conventional agricultural methods on lands conventionally understood to be appropriate for farming; five months of fresh food per year and seven months of food from storage; and a mix of crops that currently can be grown in New York, using conventional methods.

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Using these numbers and associated assumptions, how many people could be fed annually if all of those 14,775 acres were in food production?

acres required Number of people % of northampton who could be fed per person population fed with potentially available land (14,775 acres) (a) Peters vegetarian diet

0.45

32,833

111%

(b) Peters avg US meat (5+ oz) diet

1.06

13,939

47%

(c) Peters high fat, high meat (12 oz) diet

2.13

6,937

23%

These figures indicate the great range of possible outcomes of efforts to grow more food locally, from a city-wide surplus to just under a quarter of Northampton’s food needs met from within its boundaries. They also suggest the difficulty in making definitive, single-figure forecasts. Further complications arise when the assumptions of the Peters’ calculations are modified—for example, taking into account alternative methods to intensively farm prime, flat, fertile lands year-round (potentially producing greater yields annually than conventional methods) and techniques for growing food in places and under conditions not usually associated with food production (producing yields sometimes smaller than those of the Peters et al. study). Finally, while cultivating more of the 14,775 acres would certainly help decrease the amount of food people need from the global food system, more than this is needed for the creation of a local food system. Hubs—described below—will be needed to provide vital functions such as warehouses and commercial refrigerators for storage, processing facilities to create value-added products, mobile slaughterhouses to prepare local meat, farmers markets and CSA depots for distribution, and a municipal composting facility to offer organic fertilizer.

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system-wide hubs While cultivating more food in Northampton is an essential part of providing local food to its residents, another component is the post-cultivation hub facilities needed for processing and distributing food. Hubs are integral to an efficient local food system. They help ensure the accessibility and availability of local food and enhance the economic sustainability of the system. When feeders and hubs work efficiently together, the potential for the four districts to produce food for Northampton is greater than might be expected at first glance. Northampton’s hubs would ideally be visible and accessible to attract public attention and be convenient for farmers to bring produce to. They could receive food from feeders for processing and distribution or re-cycle post-consumption food wastes. By design, hubs would connect multiple community

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Figure 16. Prototypes to demonstrate and test possibilities

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Figure 18. Prototypes and feeders send food to hubs Feed NorthamptoN sysTem-wide hubs

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resources, provide educational opportunities, and adaptively reuse existing infrastructure when possible. For example, a hub could operate expensive machinery that is critical for processing and making storage-ready food, like a dehydrator or a chicken plucker. If the hub’s equipment were accessible to small and large farm operations, this could make more food grown in Northampton available for consumption. Hubs could also make farming easier by taking on the responsibility that farmers have to process and package their products. For instance, an apple farmer might grow and harvest her apples then tally the total weight, determine how much apple sauce, cider, and apple butter she wanted then deliver her apples to the hub, pay a fee and receive her processed goods at the end of the day.

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Figure 19. Hubs process and distribute food throughout Northampton and support feeders with resources like compost


Figure 20. Concept Diagram for food hub addition to the proposed Fairground Redevelopment Plan drafted by the Berkshire Design Group

potential hubs Food hub at tri-couNty FairGrouNdS The Agricultural District is largely farmland but, according to some residents, there is no place there to process and distribute the food grown there. The 51-acre Tri-County Fairgrounds is a potential hub for a mobile slaughterhouse; distribution warehouse including a walk-in refrigerator, produce aggregation and processing depot, and over-winter food storage; a community greenhouse for edible starts; and year-round farmers market. Its location along Route 9 and near Interstate 91, on the edge between downtown and the Meadows, makes it accessible for moving food from field to processing facility and on to city consumers. Coincidentally, the Fairgrounds is currently undergoing redevelopment planning, creating an opportunity for adapting the existing infrastructure into a functional component of the local food system. A food hub within the Tri-County Fairgrounds could reflect the agricultural history of the district and dovetail with the Three County Fair Redevelopment Corporation’s goal to transform it into a truly multi-use exhibition center.

Case Study for Fairgrounds Food Hub Eugene, Oregon, is planning to transform its 55-acre fairgrounds into a state-of-the-art, zero net energy, agricultural and community resource center that residents are saying will demonstrate “re-localized community economics� (Lane County Fairgrounds Redevelopment website). The plan for the fairgrounds includes a regional agricultural center office building that will house governmental offices and serve as a venue for the Lane County farmers market. The redevelopment commission is also proposing an educational center equipped with demonstration gardens and test kitchens and will offer green technology tours and courses in master gardening and permaculture. These amenities, although not explicitly stated as needs by the Northampton stakeholders, are exciting possibilities to consider. It may be possible to have on-site offices for the University of Massachusetts Cooperative Extension, Grow Food Northampton, and other groups involved with the food hub, which could generate rent revenues. Tuition charged for courses taught there could also generate income to sustain the food hub addition, while provide learning opportunities. This hub could potentially serve as a destination site for agri-tourism, a burgeoning, profitable industry. Feed NorthamptoN sysTem-wide hubs

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system-wide northampton hubs (cont’d) Municipal Compost Facility at Bleiman Property Another potential hub located in the Agricultural District is the Bleiman Property, where the local food system could house a city-wide composting facility. Bleiman is 9.5 acres of recently acquired city land. Initially thought to be a fertile location for community gardens, the Bleiman Property Agricultural Management Plan (2009) found many obstacles to food production, including seasonal flooding; zoning that restricts new buildings; a vernal pool with a protection buffer; wetland forests that cover 4.5 acres; limited accessibility; low visibility; and illegal dumping. The Bleiman Property Agricultural Management Plan recommended that one of the best options for the property would be to site a composting facility there because compost does not necessarily need a building; a vegetation buffer exists between the site and the city; and it is near the agriculturally dominated Meadows that could use the compost. Additionally, the landfill in Northampton is filling up and city officials are looking for ways to reduce waste inputs in order to prolong the operational life of the landfill.

Case Study for Municipal Composting Facility San Francisco has required all homes and businesses to participate in its citywide compost system, and drafted agreements with waste management companies to pick up the compost. Residents are encouraged to pitch all biodegradable matter into bins, provided by the city, that are picked up once a week on the curbside. Compost trucks pick up and deliver to a compost staging hub where the material is loaded into giant black cylinders (approximate volume 50,000 gallons) and brought to an open field. The cylinders are slowly rolled from one end of the field to the other, rotating the hot compost. Once each cylinder reaches the other side, it has fully biodegraded into rich compost that is then sold to offset operation costs. The city has found it saves money by separating compost from other wastes compared to the cost of throwing it all away in the landfill (Kielty 2006).

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Education and Processing Center at Smith Vocational High School Smith Vocational High School could function as a hub by providing a certified community kitchen, a site for a mobile slaughterhouse, and large-scale compost facility. The large indoor and outdoor areas could function as a food-distribution hub by hosting a weekly farmers market. The relatively large open land on campus has the capacity to operate as a feeder site as well. Centrally located along Route 9, the school is easily accessible by foot and bike for much of Northampton’s population. Stakeholders from the community described a need for a Board of Health certified community kitchen that cultivators could use to process value-added goods. Sources from Northampton say there is already an industrial kitchen at Smith Vocational that need some minor upgrades to legally process commercially-grade goods. Having a closer commercial kitchen would save feeder farms money, which could be redirected to the school as fees. The campus has space for a small mobile slaughterhouse to process locally raised livestock. No slaughterhouse facilities currently exist nearby. The school already houses an existing compost operation for its own use. The operation could be expanded to continue providing for the school’s own compost needs, but also sell surplus to local residents and feeders who may have site-specific constraints that make composting difficult. Smith Vocational could apply several cultivation strategies like intensive annual gardens and perennial poly-culture food forests, utilize currently dormant greenhouses, and raise small livestock and bees. The cafeteria could use the food grown on the property to feed students and staff, and also sell the surplus at the farmers markets. The campus may be willing to host an outdoor farmers market to sell its own produce but also provide local growers market space.


Rural Agriculture Park at Mineral Hills City-owned conservation land Mineral Hills has the potential to be a rural hub that could house district-specific processing equipment and business consultation for Rural District farmers, and demonstrate agriculture practices that limit harm to ecosystems. Its central location in the district along Sylvester Road makes it relatively easy for people to get to and bring food products for processing and distribution. The 20 acres of flat open field along Sylvester Road is an area that could support a hub building for processing equipment like commercial-scale juicers, nut huskers, and flour mills, and for canning, packaging, or slaughtering facilities. These facilities and equipment are likely to be the ones most necessary for the foods produced by perennial gardens and livestock in the Rural District. The hub building could include an outside pavilion for meetings and workshops on the various topics of rural agriculture, food processing, and distribution. Educational activities could help aspiring and current farmers use best management practices and generate viable business plans. An education space could accommodate school children as well as older students, and provide information for Apple press, food processing agro-tourists, which could be an income source. One possible downside of developing Mineral Hills into a hub is that it will be expensive to build a brand new facility rather than repurposing an old one.

Case Study for Agriculture Park Sunol AgPark, created by Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE) and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, is located on the edge of urban neighborhoods, agriculture lands, and wildlands. Sunol is an education, demonstration, and business-development hub where agriculture and natural resource stewardship are integrated (Kraus 2005). Sunol’s links with the local community are formed through outreach and education for children and adults. Its mission is to provide a tangible understanding of how food is raised and develop strong relationships between consumers and farmers.

Sunol also offers plots to aspiring farmers without land, and provides consultation to make their ventures economically viable. Sunol offers cooperative processing equipment like a commercial kitchen that growers can rent to create valueadded products. The Sunol Agriculture Park also owns wildlands that it stewards alongside its agricultural practices. The wildlands are a living demonstration of the region’s ecology and are used as an outdoor classroom. The forests provide seasonal foraging as well, where guided tours take local residents and tourists into the forests to find mushrooms, wild Sunol AgPark; Sunol Valley, CA. fruit, and wild vegetables. Photo courtesy of SAGE

Certified Kitchens in Northampton Churches A food-processing hub could be housed in one of the many churches throughout Northampton where there are existing commercial kitchens. These kitchens, already certified by the Board of Health, could be used to make value-added products like canned and dry goods, honey, herbal tinctures, and a variety of other prepared foods. These kitchens could also be used to prepare locally raised produce for community dinners that serve people who are food insecure in Northampton.

Village CSA Incubator at Hospital Hill A potential hub could be sited on 300 acres of Hospital Hill to serve as an addition to the existing community gardens there to eventually become a village CSA with large-scale greenhouses; serve as a distribution center; host an outdoor farmers market and CSA pick up-site; and support a small-scale dairy operation. Located on the border of the Suburban and Urban Districts, the site is accessible to residents of both districts. Stakeholders have said that the existing community garden is in high demand with a long waiting list for garden plots, and that the APR land at Hospital Hill is “underutilized.” This hub could connect to the surrounding community assets to include Smith Vocational, the Northampton Community Gardens, and Smith College, bringing various forms of education, a diverse population, well-financed institutions, and community involvement to the hub. This hub would combine education, cultivation, processing, and distribution for the surrounding neighborhoods.

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system-wide northampton hubs (cont’d) Case Study for Village CSA An example of a village CSA is the East Lake Commons development in Georgia, where a farm is located on land that belongs to a neighborhood whose residents are the primary consumers of the farm’s crops. Food is directly distributed from the farm to the neighborhood. With the farm-fresh food are value-added products such as canned and dry goods, wine, dairy products, honey and herbal tinctures. By creating a direct exchange between farmers and

East Lake Commons Village CSA. Photo courtesy of East Lake Commons

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neighborhood residents, these neighborhood CSAs are able to cultivate signature products for their neighborhood. Revitalizing the relationship between the local residents of a community and local farmer is at the center of the village CSA concept.

Suggestion: Hampshire County Jail Hampshire County Jail, which abuts the Hospital Hill land, could start a job training program, linking to the Hospital Hill Village CSA farm. Job training could include food cultivation training and municipal compost management. Food produced could also be served at the jail cafeteria. As these case studies and potential Northampton projects suggest, hubs may have very different ownership structures and management practices, fill different functional roles, and operate at very different scales. Collectively, however, they form essential infrastructure for a local food system, enabling critical cultivation, processing, distribution, waste management, and educational activities.


vision northampton 2015 Each year, more and more food is cultivated by Northampton residents. Food production is occurring in the rich alluvial and the thin, rocky soils alike, yielding nutrient-dense, delicious products. Northamptonites are enjoying breakfast provided by their local food system. They are enjoying apple butter from apples grown and processed in the western hills; they are frying up salty bacon strips from the pigs running free in the orchards; and they are making scrambled eggs from their neighbors’ chickens, home fries from potatoes grown in the Meadows, and a fresh salad from their rooftop garden. It’s 2015, and communities all over New England have caught wind of the success of Northampton’s vibrant local food system, and its positive impact on Northampton’s food security and town-wide sense of pride and self-sufficiency. One by one, the downtowns of little villages and big cities are becoming bustling markets of fruit, vegetable, and meat, offering an array of specialty items such as fresh juices, jams, spreads, pickled goods, maple syrup, yogurt, and cheeses all grown and made by local farmers and processors. Food deliveries are primarily carried out by electric vehicles, bicycles, and draft animals. The

price of fuel has continued to rise, but the potentially harmful effects are not disrupting Northampton’s supply of food. Food is fresh, abundant, affordable, and accessible to more and more citizens. Whether people are living in the center of town, in a remote neighborhood, or in an assisted home, there are numerous venues and delivery services making food accessible to everyone. Schools have implemented their own gardens that supply the cafeteria, and students are excited to visit to the garden to watch it grow. Food waste from school cafeterias, restaurants, and homes is picked up weekly and transported to the City’s compost facility. Each week a new load of organic material is brought in, and a steaming batch of fresh compost is delivered to one of many farms spread around town, boosting soil fertility and maintaining a sustainable agriculture system for Northampton. In an new era of expensive and scarce fossil fuels, Northampton is prepared to provide food for its citizens, along with the additional benefits of boosting its local economy, strengthening its social fabric, and fortifying its residents’ ability to live more sustainably.

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Works Cited Arendt, Randall. Rural By Design: Maintaining Small Town Character. Chicago: Planners Press, 1994 Ashbrook, Tom. “Imagining $20 Per Gallon”. WBUR.org, Boston’s NPR News Source: On-Point Radio Show. September 17, 2009 <http://www.onpointradio.org/2009/09/imagining-20-per-gallon> Berry, Wendell. e Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1996. Bodwell, Joshua. “Year-Round Radicals: A Pair of Practical Farmers in the Wilds of the Midcoast.” Maine Home + Design, 60-65, September 2007. Blum-Evitts, Shemariah, “Designing a Foodshed Assessment Model: Guidance for Local and Regional Planners in Understanding Local Farm Capacity in Comparison to Local Food Needs.” 2009. Amherst: University of Massachusetts. Masters eses. Paper 288. <http://scholarworks.umass.edu/theses/288> City of Northampton. Code of Ordinances. 2008. 26 March 2010 <http://www.northamptonma.gov/opd/ Regulations/> City of Northampton. Sustainable Northampton Comprehensive Plan. January 2008. Coffey, Linda, Margo Hale, and Ann Wells. “Goats: Sustainable Production Overview.” National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA), National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). August 2004. Coleman, Eliot. e Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses. White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green, 2009. DePiano, Lisa (Montview Farm - Northampton, MA). Personal interview. 20 Feb. 2010. Lance Gegner. “Hog Production Alternatives.” National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA), National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). November 2004. Hayden, Dolores. e Grand Domestic Revolution: A History of Feminist Designs for American Homes, Neighborhoods and Cities. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1982. Hopkins, Rob. e Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience. Foxhole: Green Books Ltd, 2008.

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Imhoff, Daniel. Farming with the Wild: Enhancing Biodiversity on Farms and Ranches. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 2003. Jacke, David, Eric Toensmeier. Edible Forest Gardens: Ecological Vision and eory for Temperate Climate Permaculture. White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green, 2005. Jackson, Wes. Becoming Native to is Place. New York: Counterpoint, 1996. Jeavons, John. How to Grow More Vegetables: And Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains and Other Crops an You Ever ought Possible on Less Land an You Can Imagine. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2002. Julavits, Heidi. “e Constant Gardeners.” e New York Times Magazine, 66, November 5, 2006. Karl F. Seidman Consulting Services. Northampton Retail Market Analysis. December 2003. Kielty, Alexa. “San Francisco’s Food Composting Program.” Dept. of the Environment, City and County of San Francisco. 2006. Krupp, Ron. “Liing the Yoke: Local Solutions to America’s Farm and Food Crisis.” Whetstone Publications. 2009. Lanza, Patricia. Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding! Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press: 1998. Lovins, Amory. Rocky Mountain Institute website. 2010.14 March 2010. <http://www.rmi.org/rmi/> Nordahl, Darrin. Public Produce: e New Urban Agriculture. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2009. Notre Dame School of Architecture & Northampton Design Forum. Envisioning Sustainable Northampton. December 2008. Osmundson, eodore. Roof Gardens: History, Design, and Construction. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1999. Pabst, Margaret Richards. “Agricultural Trends in the Connecticut River Valley Region of Massachusetts, 1800-1900”. Smith College Studies Vol. XXVI. Northampton: Smith College, 1941.

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works cited (cont’d) Paynter, Robert. “Processual Cultural Ecology of the Middle Connecticut River Valley” (1979). Amherst: University of Massachusetts. Research Report 18. <http://scholarworks.umass.edu/anthro_res_rpt18/1/> Peters, Christian J.; Jennifer L. Wilkins; and Gary W. Fick. “Testing a Complete-Diet Model for Estimating the Land Resource Requirements of Food Consumption and Agricultural Carrying Capacity: e New York State Example.” Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 22(2), 145-153, June 2007. Phelps, Benneth. Bleiman Property Agricultural Management Plan. City of Northampton Office of Planning and Development. October 2009. Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. “Growing Together: A Strategic Plan for Integrating Agriculture and Growth Management in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts.” 2001. Pollan, Michael. e Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: Penguin Press, 2006. Pretty, Jules. “Some Benefits and Drawbacks of Local Food Systems.” Briefing Note, TVU/Sustain AgriFood Network. Essex: University of Essex, November 2001. Randazzo, Anthony. “Phytoremediation: Prospects and Limitations.” Restoration and Reclamation Review: Student On-Line Journal (Hort 5015/5071). Fall 1999. Dept. of Horticultural Science, U of Minnesota, St. Paul. 16 April 2010. Russell, Howard S., Mark Lapping. A Long Deep Furrow: ree Centuries of Farming in New England. Lebanon: University Press of New England, 1982. Skinner, Katy. e City Chicken.Com. April 2010. 14 April 2010. <http://home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/> Smith, J. Russell. Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1950. Snyder, Vincent (Natural Resources Conservation Service - Hadley, MA). Personal interview. 8 March 2010. Steiner, Christopher. $20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2009. United States Department of Agriculture. USDA Census of Agriculture. 2007. 26 March 2010 <http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2007/index.asp> University of Massachusetts. “Soil Lead Levels: Interpretations and Recommendations,” University of Massachusetts-Amherst Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory. USDA Economic Research Service. Food Environment Atlas. 2010. 26 March 2010 <http://www.ers.usda.gov/ foodatlas/> Winne, Mark. Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty. Boston: Beacon Press, 2009. Yunk, Dan. Milk Comes From A Cow?. Manhattan, KS: e Kansas Farm Bureau, 2007.

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appendix a:

next steps towards a local food system There is already a strong impetus within Northampton to expand local food cultivation and consumption. Many existing programs and organizations have contributed to this effort. The list below suggests three degrees of involvement required to invest in various projects. The list contains the prototypes for feeders, hubs, and policy recommendations suggested throughout the four districts and in the discussion of system-wide functions. Each project proposed in this document is categorized as 1) an easy way to get involved with something that is already happening, 2) a potential project where the pieces are in place but require leadership to initiate, and 3) a project that will require visionary, long-term dedication to achieve.

get involved: it’s already happening… FeederS Small-Scale Backyard Gardens: • Grow an intensive backyard garden at your home Growing food at the home garden scale is the easiest way to expand local food production.

Garden at Service Net’s Grove Street Shelter: • Volunteer to tend and expand existing garden, organize other volunteers, or begin a program that teaches gardening skills to shelter residents. People in between homes are often also food insecure, and have the least access to fresh nutritious vegetables, making this project a priority.

Smith College Student Community Garden: • Develop a relationship with the college to expand the current garden area to provide community garden space for public cultivation. Existing demand for community garden space is high; Smith College could support this type of community development.

Bean/Allard Farms: • Build support for Grow Food Northampton to acquire some or all of the farmland and identify possible farmers.

hubS Food Hub at the Tri-County Fairgrounds: • Lobby the Fairgrounds Redevelopment Corporation to integrate local food infrastructure into the Berkshire Design Group plan. This is a time-sensitive project, with redevelopment currently underway; the public voice in support of local food processing needs to be expressed immediately.

diStributioN Pedal People: • Get involved with this bicycle-powered distribution and compost collection organization. Business is already in operation, and joining the effort will help reduce the rate at which the landfill is filled and increase the amount of compost in town.

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appendix a:

next steps towards a local food system (cont’d) Education Jackson Street School: • Expand the school’s existing garden program with more gardens, a summer program, or organize student, teacher, and parent meals from the garden.

Ward 3 Garden Tour: • Attend the tour in August 2010 (http://wardthree.com) to learn about farming and urban agricultural practices. • Become a site for subsequent tours if you live in Ward 3. • Initiate a garden tour that exhibits edible residential landscapes in your neighborhood. This year is the first annual Ward 3 Garden Tour, and needs support, attendees, and a strategy for disseminating the tour to other neighborhoods.

Policy Recommendations Chicken People: • Rewrite zoning laws that restrict keeping livestock in the city. Work on this issue is already under way; more public support can finalize city’s decision to revise zoning laws.

mid-term: it’s just around the corner Feeders Suburban Neighborhood Gardens: • Identify a supportive neighborhood to start a neighborhood-wide effort to cultivate food in front lawns. It will take time to identify and organize an optimal neighborhood; resources and time will be needed for residents to attain the skills and tools necessary to reach this goal.

Mineral Hills Rural Agriculture Park (city-owned land): • Lobby city to allow a demonstration food forest to be planted that will show its food growing potential. It will take time to convince the city to support an alternative farming strategy, but will not require much time to install once the decision is made. It will take several years for the first harvests to be available.

Landshare: • Establish within a neighborhood mutually supportive relationships that allow unused yard space to be cultivated by the surrounding community that return yields to the property owner in exchange for land use.

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hubS Certified Kitchens in Northampton Churches: • Establish relationships with churches that have a Board of Health-certified kitchen that individuals or businesses could use for creating value-added products. The kitchens are already certified and for the most part underutilized, but contact needs to be made to draft clearly written agreement on policy use.

Cul-de-sac Commons: • Establish a micro-hub for shared neighborhood compost, tool shed, and greenhouse that can offer material support to suburban cultivation efforts. Building infrastructure will support neighborhood gardening efforts, but will take leadership, time, and resources.

Municipal Composting Facility at Bleiman Property (city-owned land): • Draft a proposal for the city government that plans a citywide compost hub where biodegradable materials are collected from residents and brought to Bleiman to be metabolized into compost. Working with the city can take time, but there is a need to reduce waste going to the landfill; establishing a compost hub will turn unnecessary waste into compost ready for building soil in nearby farms and yards throughout the town. Organizing compost pick-up may have to start small, and over time, expand to encompass the whole city. Building the compost hub does not have to involve much infrastructure, and can be done rather quickly once a decision has been made to move forward.

educatioN Increase School Garden Program: • Expand program to other schools. • Integrate the garden into the curriculum. • Use produce grown there to contribute to the school lunch program. • Schools have open space that can be converted to gardens.

Mineral Hills Rural Agriculture Park (city-owned land): • Offer seminars for aspiring farms seeking best management strategies • Provide business training for small farmers • An organization offering educational services needs to be identified and engaged.

ciVic recommeNdatioNS Local Food Incentive Program: • Draft and submit to the city government a policy that can offer financial incentives to Northampton farmers who sell locally grown produce within city limits.

Farmland Preservation Policy: • Propose a policy intended to minimize the irreversible impact of converting farmland to nonagricultural uses. • Recommend that the city acquire farmland that is for sale, with the intention of keeping it in food production, or provide resources and support to organizations looking to accomplish the same mission.

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appendix a:

next steps towards a local food system (cont’d)

food for thought: visionary planning Visionary projects that will require long-term commitment and adept political maneuvering, money, and resources are listed below.

Feeders Suburban Neighborhood Gardens: • Identify a suburban neighborhood that is open-minded and inclined towards local food. • Initiate a shared neighborhood harvest—homeowners grow specific crops for trade with neighbors cultivating other crops.

Hubs Village CSA Incubator at Hospital Hill (city-owned land in APR): • Develop a project for a village farm CSA to serve surrounding suburban neighborhoods with food. • Establish meat and dairy production on site. • Spearhead a farmers market that vends non-CSA produce, dairy, and meat.

Mineral Hills Food Hub (city-owned land): • Develop management protocol for introducing and keeping livestock. • Bring animals on to site and integrate them with food forests. • Expand food forest and tree crops. • Build processing pavilion to serve as a hub for turning the fruit and nut crops into value-added products, and provide a site for a mobile slaughterhouse. It will take 5-10 years for tree crops to grow into a production stage. Integrating livestock will require a farm manager or overseeing body. Establishing a processing facility depends on the demand from the surrounding farm operations.

Tri-County Fairground Food Hub (city-owned property): • Lobby Fairground Commission to hire a consultant that can help implement the infrastructure that supports local food production. The current estimated cost of the fairground redevelopment plan is $40 million; provide new financial calculations and building schemes for integrating food-related infrastructure and new possible sources of revenue.

Education Worker Training Program at Hampshire County Jail: • Recommend to the sheriff to allow an organization (new or existing) to build a garden on the jail grounds that prisoners can work at to learn job skills.

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Appendix B:

northampton resources city-owNed FarmS

priVately owNed FarmS

Already existing in Northampton are city-owned farms. The city owns the land and individuals or non-government organizations rent the land to farm.

Three known privately owned farms are selling produce locally:

Elwell Conservation Area

14 acres, small part of larger Conservation Area along the Connecticut River in the northeast corner of the district. It is currently rented by Dave Jackson of Enterprise Farms; grows a wide variety of certified organic vegetables for sale locally at farmers markets, River Valley Market co-op, and as CSA shares.

Montview Farm

3.2 acres, located in Ward 3 neighborhood adjacent to Town Farm and the Meadows. Parcel is rented by a small group of farmers, including Lisa DePiano, has been a CSA and sold at farmers markets, producing 2,000 lbs of food each year. In 2010, they will be growing food for Valley Green Feast delivery service and incubating two micro-agriculture business: a forest garden nursery business and a cut-flower CSA. Montview Farm practices permaculture, including the use of perennials, forest gardens, chickens for tilling and fertilizing, composting.

The Bleiman Property

9.5 acres total (5 acres for agriculture), is located just west of exit 18 off Interstate 91, where Potash and Dike Roads meet where it straddles the edge of the Meadows and a neighborhood. The property is hayed but not currently rented. Several constraints to farming including wetland on site, floodplain, seasonal and non-seasonal accessibility issues, dumping, mosquitoes, restrictions on permanent buildings; Bleiman Property Agricultural Plan 2009 outlines best management practices for the site.

Mineral Hills

Conservation land owned by the city of Northampton. It is approximately 240 acres, located between Northamptonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s western boarder with Westhampton and Sylvester Road. The land within Mineral Hills is representative of the land in the Rural District, with ridges spanning north and south with steep east and west slopes. Dense mixed hardwood and coniferous forests cover hilltops down to meandering riparian areas between the hills. Unique features of Mineral Hills are a disbanded quarry, and seven acres of flat open field currently rented by the Parsons Family Farm. The city has expressed its interest in developing the land into a city-owned farm, but has yet to act. The city may be waiting for non-governmental leadership for developing an agricultural vision for the site.

Town Farm

Situated in the Ward 3 neighborhood and adjacent parcels in the Meadows. It is a small family farm owned and operated by Una Coy and Ben James as a chemical-free CSA.

Green Meadows Farm

Situated in the Meadows, is operated by Bill Karabaris and grows vegetables.

Szawlowski Potato Farms

Situated in the Meadows, is operated by Szawlowski family and sells a small portion of its potatoes at local grocery stores.

Hickory Dell Farm Grows and sells a variety of annuals and perennials, hanging baskets and planters, vegetable, herb and flower seeds and starts, supplies, cut flowers, ornamentals local Christmas trees and greens, and a variety of foods from local farmers.

at riSk FarmS Bean and Allard Farms The Bean and Allard Farms together are a contiguous 185-acre section of mostly flat land (3% slope or less), in the floodplain of the Mill River near the Florence town center. Historically the land has been used for a wide range of agricultural activity: growing tobacco, pumpkins, and apples, and raising hogs. Most recently, the land has been in hay and potato production. The soils are all mineral-rich, and appropriate for different types of food production, depending on the microclimates and ecological differentiation across the properties. The most prominent soils are silty loam and fine sandy loam, which flood periodically, are moderately well-drained, and are considered to be prime agricultural soils. The Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program states that these soils should be conserved for farmland. The Bean and Allard farms have recently decided to sell their land. The city of Northampton has made an offer to buy the farms and convert some of the land to sports fields. There are requests to keep most of the land as agriculture, but the details of how much land and under whose supervision are still unclear.

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Appendix B:

northampton resources COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE IN HAMPSHIRE COUNTY (www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/csa.htm; see website for other Massachusetts CSA listings)

Brookfield Farm:

24 Hulst Road, Amherst

(413) 253-7991 - www.brookfieldfarm.org Vegetables, Fruit

Crabapple Farm:

100 Bryant Street, Chesterfield (413) 296-0310 Vegetables, Fruit, Meat, Eggs, Flowers, Herbs, Seedlings, Wheat

Enterprise Farm: 72 River Road, Whately

(413) 665-8608 - www.enterpriseproduce.com Vegetables, Fruit

Fairweather Farm:

119 Starkweather Road, Worthington

Mountain View Farm:

393 East Street, Easthampton

(413) 329-0211 - www.mountainviewfarmcsa.com Vegetables, Fruit, Flowers

Red Fire Farm: 7 Carver Street, Granby (413) 467-7645 - www.Redfirefarm.com Vegetables, Fruit, Eggs, Flowers

Simple Gifts Farm:

1089 N. Pleaseant Street, Amherst (413) 549-1585 - www.simplegiftsfarmcsa.com Vegetable, Flowers

Small Ones Farm: 416 Bay Road, Amherst (413) 253-6788 Fruit

Stone Soup Farm:

265 Jackson Street, Belchertown (413) 687-4341 - stonesoupfarm.googlepages.com Vegetables, Fruit, Eggs, Flowers, Bread

Town Farm:

(413) 531-9238

8 Pomeroy Terrace, Northampton

Vegetables, Fruit, Flowers, Culinary herbs

(413) 586-7586

Next Barn Over:

Vegetables, Flowers

15 Lawrence Plain Road, Hadley (413) 461-8444 Vegetables

Hampshire Farm Center: 731 West Street, Amherst

www.hampshire.edu/academics/5735.htm Vegetables

Intervale Farm:

106 South Road, Westhampton (413) 527-5440 Vegetable, Dairy, Eggs, Flowers, Goat Cheese

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appendix c: survey

public reSpoNSeS to the NorthamptoN Food Security SurVey

is one of the most important issues for establishing a more viable local food system. Respondents affirmed this in their written comments; they offered to assist with community networking, outreach, and communication more than any other form of help.

Members of the core client group created the survey in order to elicit the public’s current relationship to and knowledge of food security. People were able to respond on the website of Grow Food Northampton, a network of citizens interested or participating in local food issues in some way. From the responses of over a hundred people to open-ended and multiple-choice questions, it is clear that an overwhelming majority of respondents are already concerned and educated about nutrition and local food issues. The majority said they intentionally purchase from local producers, support local food stores, shop at farmers’ markets, cultivate gardens, maintain a compost pile, cook from scratch, and preserve food, or they said that they want to engage in these activities. The survey needed to be accessed through the Grow Food Northampton website, which partially explains the respondents’ overwhelming interest in local food issues. It is hard to say therefore if their responses are an accurate indication of the overall community’s knowledge about and involvement in these issues. Future surveys and fact-finding in the community should help answer this question.

A fair number of people who responded said they would like to, but currently do not: (a) have a community garden plot; (b) have a garden at their own home; (c) work on or manage a small farm; (d) raise chickens; and/or (e) hunt or fish. They indicated that though they want to engage in food cultivation, the biggest obstacles seem to be a lack of access to land and a lack of knowledge about cultivation techniques. By connecting with the many people who can clearly offer the resources they need, these they might be better able to engage in these activities.

The survey was also helpful for building a local food network; 95% of respondents signed up to be contacted about future focus groups and local skill-sharing opportunities. 45% wrote personal responses offering specific resources, knowledge, skills, and energy of all types that they wished to share to contribute to local food security. Many people said they could offer education, advice and help with small-scale gardening, sustainable farming, herbs, herbal medicines, and food preservation. A few said they would like to contribute land, while others said they needed land. People seem to be aware that strengthening their social and economic networks

In this population of people who are mostly aware of, or active in local food issues in some way, there is a large number (40%) who “somewhat” have trouble and 7% who “often” have a problem accessing healthy, nutritious food. In their written comments, respondents confirm that cost is one of the biggest obstacles. About 11% said they “often” use food stamps and/or receive aid from food banks, and 20% said they do “somewhat.” A good deal of nutritious, and/or local food is more expensive than much food produced by large-scale agribusiness. Economic incentives encouraging fossil-fuel use and large-scale agribusiness make their products cheaper than local producers who do not get comparable economic assistance. It is becoming increasingly difficult for many people to afford food they know to be the most healthy and/or local, even when they want to. The ever-rising costs of all living expenses relative to wages also contributes greatly. Economic incentives encouraging the production and consumption of locally-produced food is essential for strengthening local food security and for building community around local food. (The survey questions appear on the following three pages.)

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appendix c: survey (contâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d)

A Survey of Our Local Food Security A Supplement to the Northampton Food Security Initiative by The Conway School of Landscape Design Funded by donations from city residents as well as the City of Northampton This survey will help us to evaluate our citizens' ability to produce, access and afford healthy, local foods. By sharing our collective resources and knowledge, we can form a community more resilient to rising food and fuel costs. We can use this information to form educational workshops, neighborhood garden sharing and food storage and much more.

The Northampton Food Security Initiative is a project of the Conway School of Landscape Design and concerned Northampton citizens, seeks solutionbased responses to the need for a local food system that provides abundant, reliable, safe, and nutritious food for its citizens in the face of rising fuel costs. The outcome of this initiative will be a community organizing document that makes strategic recommendations for Northampton based on an analysis of its potential ability to produce, process, and distribute food to all of its residents, regardless of income. Name Address Age Phone Email

Select the best decription of your experience with each Do you have problems accessing healthy, nutritious food? 

Often

Never

Somewhat

Currently

Used To

Would Like To

Are you concerned about our community's ability to produce food? Do you utilize food stamps to supplement your food budget? Do you utilize food banks, the Survival Center or Food Not Bombs?

Buy Local Produce at Grocery Stores Shop at Farm Stands or Farmers' Markets Belong to A CSA Have a Commmunity Garden Plot Have a Vegetable or Herb Garden at Home Work on a Small Farm

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Currently

Used To

Would Like To

Hunt or Fish Raise Chickens Raise Other Livestock Have a Greenhouse Use Cold Frames to Extend Your Gardening Season Can, Preserve or Store Produce Keep Bees Have Fruit or Nut Trees Have Berry Bushes or Vines Have access to yardspace with sun & soil for vegetable gardening Prepare Herbal Remedies Cook or Bake From Scratch Can Identify Wild Edible Plants Collect Rainwater

Please respond freely to the following questions: Do you have any additional concerns or suggestions regarding Northampton's food security?

What resources, skills or knowledge would you be interested in sharing to improve our food security?

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appendix c: survey (contâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d)

Please Select Any Email Group You would like to Join Grow Food Northampton We are a citizen's group dedicated to protecting our food security. Our goals include expanding community gardens, CSA's and farmers' markets, establishing relationships between farms and our local schools and shelters and advocating for expanded residential agriculture. http://growfoodnorthampton.com

Transition Northampton Transition Northampton is part of a vibrant, international grassroots movement that builds community resilience in response to the challenges of peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis. http://groups.google.com/group/transitionnorthampton/

Western Mass Permaculture Guild The Western Massachusetts Permaculture Guild promotes permaculture events in the region and provides ways for folks interested in permaculture to gather, share skills & ideas and inspire each other. http://lists.thepine.org/mailman/listinfo/westernmapermacultureguild

Green Northampton Our mission is to foster Northampton's community bonds AND promote environmentally sustainable, low-energy and healthy lifestyles in response to climate change and resource depletion. http://greennorthampton.org/

Thank You so much for taking the time to share this information Results of the Survey and notice of an upcoming Public Forum to review the Northampton Food Security Initiative will be posted online at http://growfoodnorthampton.com

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appendix d:

grant opportunities commuNity Food proJect GraNtS Why This Resource Is Useful:

The Community Food Projectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s program provides one-time grants to nonprofit organizations to undertake comprehensive, multi-pronged responses to local food, farm, and nutrition issues.

Eligibility:

Nonprofit organizations. Only nonprofit groups can receive these grants.

Description:

These grants are designed to increase food security in communities by coordinating the efforts of the whole food system, to assess the strengths, establish linkages, and create systems which will improve the self-reliance of community members. Activities supported include growing, processing, and marketing food, as well as improving the nutrition safety net, aiding food recovery and gleaning, and supporting nutrition education. Grant awards are funded from $10,000 to $250,000 with an annual total of $2.5 million, and require a dollar for-dollar match in non-federal funds (in-kind is allowable). Grants are from 1 to 3 years in duration.

Deadlines:

Grants applications are accepted during one application period per year, usually in late spring. Check with contacts below for update.

Contact:

Elizabeth Tuckermanty, Community Food Projects Coordinator,

rural commuNity FacilitieS GraNtS aNd loaNS Why This Resource Is Useful:

This program provides federal small grants and larger loans to help rural government agencies and nonprofit groups pay for a wide variety of infrastructure upgrades, including infrastructure related to community food security, food banking, and food recovery.

Eligibility:

Nonprofit organizations, government agencies, tribes. Public entities (such as municipalities, counties, and special-purpose districts), nonprofit groups, and Native American tribes in rural areas and towns with a population of 50,000 or less are eligible for these grants for facilities.

Description:

A small amount of grant funds and a significantly larger amount of loan funds are available to construct, enlarge, extend, or otherwise improve community facilities providing essential services in rural areas and towns. Funds may be used for health care, public safety, and public services facilities. Funds may also be used for necessary equipment for the operation of these facilities, and to pay other necessary costs connected with them.

Recent Recipient:

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts has received funding to modernize its warehousing capacity.

Deadlines:

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service,

Funds are awarded throughout the year, but often run out quickly. The best time to apply is usually in the beginning of the federal fiscal year, which starts every October 1.

Stop 2241, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-2241

Contacts:

Phone: (202) 205-0241; Website: www.reeusda.gov./crgam/cfp/community.htm

Applications are handled in each state by the rural community facilities staff, housed in the state office of the USDA Rural Housing Service. Phone: (202) 720-1500 or (202) 720-1490 Website: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html

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appendix d:

grant opportunities Food Policy Councils, Networks, or Coalitions Why This Resource Is Useful:

Typically organized by state or local governments or by a coalition of nonprofit groups, food policy councils, networks, or coalitions create a coordinating framework to bring together diverse entities in order to build the community-based infrastructure needed for food security.

Eligibility:

Any interested party, government agencies. Community Food Security (CFS) Networks and Coalitions can be formed by any group of concerned citizens, but Food Policy Councils must have the involvement of at least one government agency.

Description:

While there is no large pool of federal money for such efforts, all three of the types of entities described below could potentially receive limited start-up funding from the Community Food Projects Grant Program.

CFS Networks:

Networks typically bring together representatives from a wide range of food and agriculture-related fields for information sharing, policy advocacy, and catalyzing new collaborative projects. Networks may be loosely organized, often beginning under the umbrella of an established agency; they often have a steering committee, a coordinator, and member organizations.

CFS Coalitions:

A CFS coalition is a more formally organized network. A CFS coalition may itself become a nonprofit entity if its objective is to become an enduring and independent collaboration. Coalitions typically undertake more structured and well-organized activities than networks.

Food Policy Councils:

Food Policy Councils (FPCs) can be constituted at the city, county, or state level. FPCs are generally composed of representatives from a variety of food- and agriculture-related fields in the private and public sectors. An FPC differs from a network or coalition in that it is typically sanctioned by either city or county government, and its members may be appointed by officials such as the mayor, city council president, county executive, or governor. Food Policy Councils have operated or currently operate in Toronto and Edmonton (Canada), Pittsburgh (PA), Syracuse/Onandaga County (NY), Philadelphia (PA),

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(contâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d)

Hartford (CT), St. Paul (MN), Knoxville (TN), Austin (TX), and Los Angeles (CA).

Deadlines:

Councils, coalitions, or networks can be formed any time during the year, but if they seek funds from a local government agency, it is helpful for their start-up to coincide with the start of the governmental fiscal year.

Contact:

Community Food Security Coalition, P.O. Box 209, Venice, California 90294 Phone: (310) 822-5410; Website: www.foodsecurity.org


appendix e:

crop palette and yields expected yieldS oF aNNual Expected Yields of Annual Crops per 100 feet of row cropS per 100 Feet oF row The following table provides information on expected crop yields

Thfor e following table annual provides information on expected crop many common vegetables. Information is gathered from threefor different so annual that gardeners can compare the range yields many sources common vegetables. Information is gathered from three different sources so that gardeners can Louisiana State University

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Asparagus Lima Bean – Bush Lima Bean – Pole Snap Bean – Bush Snap Bean – Pole Beets Broccoli Brussels Sprouts Cabbage Cantaloupe Carrots Cauliflower Celeriac Chinese Cabbage Collards Corn Cucumbers Eggplants Garlic Kohlrabi Lettuce, head Lettuce, leaf Mustard Okra Onions (plants or sets) Parsnips Peas (southern) Peas (English) Pea (snow) THE SHELBURNE FALLS Peppers (bell) Potatoes Potatoes, sweet Pumpkins Radishes Rutabagas Shallot (green) Soybeans Spinach Squash (summer) Squash (winter) Strawberries Tomatoes Tomatoes (cherry) Turnip greens Turnip roots Watermelons (20 lbs. each)

n/a 1 bushel shelled 2 bushel (32 lbs.) 1.5 bushel (30lbs.) 2 bushel (30lbs.) 100 lbs. 70 heads n/a 85 heads 120 melons 150 lbs. 60 heads n/a 100 heads 175 lbs. 120 ears 170 lbs. 150 lbs. 350 heads 75 lbs. 100 heads n/a 100 bunches 175 lbs. (6 bu.) 220 lbs. n/a 20 lbs. shelled 40 lbs. 65 lbs. SECURITY FOOD 125 lbs. 200 lbs. 200 lbs. 150 lbs. 30 lbs. 90 lbs. 350 bunches n/a 40 lbs. 80 lbs. 150 lbs. 170 lbs. 250 lbs. 450 lbs. n/a 100 bunches 20 melons

of potential yields. Individual results may vary given the unique site compare the growing range ofconditions, potentialmicroclimates, yields. Individual may characteristics, and soilresults nutrient levels of eachthe local property. vary given unique site characteristics, growing conditions,

microclimates, and soil nutrient levels of each local property. Kansas State University

30 lbs. 25 lbs. 50 lbs. 120 lbs. 150 lbs. 150 lbs. 100 lbs. 75 lbs. 150 lbs. 100 melons 100 lbs. 100 lbs. 60 lbs. 80 heads 100 lbs. 10 dozen 120 lbs. 100 lbs. 40 lbs. 75 lbs. 100 heads 50 lbs. 100 lbs. 100 lbs. 100 lbs. 100 lbs. 40 lbs. 20 lbs. n/a PLAN: PHASE ONE 60 lbs. 100 lbs. 100 lbs. 100 lbs. 100 bunches n/a n/a 20 lbs. 40-50 lbs. 150 lbs. 100 lbs. n/a 100 lbs. n/a 50-100 lbs. 50-100 lbs. 40 melons

Jeavons* 9.5-38 11.5-23 lb (dry) 23-46 (dry) 30-108 lbs. 30-108 lbs. 55-270 lbs. 26-53 lbs. 71-142 lbs. 96-383 lbs n/a 100-400 lbs. 44-291 lbs. n/a 96-383 lbs. 96-383 lbs. 17-68 lbs. 158-581lbs 54-163lbs. 60-240 lbs. 67-270 lbs. 75-300 lbs. 135-540 lbs. 180-270 lbs. 30-120 lbs. 100-540 lbs. 119-479 lbs. 25-106 lbs. 25-106 lbs. n/a 68-204 lbs. 100-780 lbs. 82-492 lbs. 48-191 lbs. 100-540 lbs. 200-800+ lbs. 60-240+ lbs. 4-14+ lbs. 50-225 lbs. 35-150 lbs. 50-350 lbs. 40-160 lbs. 100-418 lbs. n/a 100-360 lbs. 100-360 lbs. 50-320 lbs.

Jeavons lists aand range of cropCrops yields for biointensive methods. The lower figure on is what *Jeavons uses a slightly different calculation to Vegetables: determine cropAnd yields,Fruits, measuring John Jeavons, author of How to Grow More Nuts, Berries, Grains Other Than You Ever Thought Possible Less Land a beginning gardener growing soil can expect, number isfeet. whatThis is yields as the amountuses grownainslightly 100 square Thiscalculation is comparabletotodetermine the linear crop yields, Than You Can Imagine, difffeet. erent measuring yields inasaverage the amount grownthe in larger 100 square measure 100linear feet, if measure it is assumed is 1 foot experienced gardener conditions produce. methods. The comparable toofthe of the 100rowfeet, if it wide. is assumed the row is 1 footanwide. Jeavons lists agrowing rangeinofexcellent crop yields formay biointensive lower figure is what a beginning gardener growing in average soil can expect, the larger number is what an experienced gardener growing in excellent conditions may produce. Feed NorthamptoN appendices

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Expected Yields of Perennial Crops per 100 feet of row This perennial plant yield table illustrates the types of perennial crops that could be harvested on an annual basis. The plants listed are those that grow in temperate regions; varieties and cultivars that are adapted to the climate and specific growing conditions of western Massachusetts should be chosen. The results that a gardener could expect to see will vary, and will depend on site characteristics, growing conditions, microclimates, and soil nutrient levels of the growing area. Plants that are arranged into guilds, in which perennial trees and shrubs are interspersed with annual plants, may have smaller individual yields because of the dense spacing, but overall yield of the guild will be greater. In a guild, each plant has different resource needs and different outputs that can be

appendix e:

utilized by neighboring plants, thereby creating a healthier and less disease-prone plot. Jeavons is a grower based in Willits, California, who runs the nonprofit Ecology Action. He has written extensively on biointensive growing methods, an intensive gardening system that uses double-digging, soil building, composting, and closely-spaced planting. The results in the following table are from Jeavons book and are based on his own results. Jacke and Toensmeier have based their yields on extensive literature review. Their research is more applicable to temperate climate and growing season of western Massachusetts and the New England region. Both sources are given here so that the gardener can compare expected yields.

crop palette and yields (cont’d)

Expected Yields of Perennial Crops per 100 feet of row utilized

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THE

Almond Artichoke, Jerusalem Apple, dwarf Apple, standard Apple, semidwarf Apricot, dwarf Apricot, standard Apricot, semidwarf Blackberry Blueberry, low bush Blueberry, high bush Boysenberry Butternut Cherry, sour, bush Cherry, sour, dwarf Cherry, sour, standard Cherry, sweet, bush Cherry, sweet, dwarf Cherry, sweet, standard Chestnut Currant, black Currant, red Dewberry Elderberry Filbert (Hazelnut) SHELBURNE FALLS Gooseberry Grapes, table Grapes, wine Heartnut Hickory, shagbark Hickory, shellbark Jostaberry Kiwi, hardy Lignonberry Mulberry Oak, bur Oak, Schutte’s Pawpaw Peach, dwarf

Jacke and Toensmeier* 1-40 lbs.

Jeavons† 100-460 lbs. per 100 square feet 32-64 lbs. 800-1,600 lbs. 112-225 lbs. 25-100 lbs. 156-625 lbs. 36-144 lbs. 3.8-7.6+ lbs. 0.76-3.0 lbs. 3.0-12.0 lbs. 16.6-33+ lbs.

1-30 bu. 1-2 bu. 3-4 bu. 1-2 qts. 4-8 qts. 8-10 lbs. at age 10

FOOD

11-33 lbs. 1-2 bu. 1 bu. ¾ bu. 2 bu. at age 10 8-10 lbs. 3-5 qts. 3-5 qts. 2-4 qts. 15+ lbs. 20-25 lbs. SECURITY 4-6 qts. PLAN: PHASE ONE 10-15 qts. 8-16 qts. 8-10 lbs. at age 10 4-6 lbs. at age 10 10 bu. alternate years 4-6 qts. 50-200 lbs. 1.75 lbs. 10 bu. 8-10 lbs. at age 10 (or much more) 8-10 lbs. at age 10 (or much more) 1-3 bu. 1-2 bu.

Peach, standard

2-3 bu.

Pear, Asian, standard Pear, dwarf Pear, standard Pecan, northern Persimmon, American Persimmon, kaki Pine nut, Korean Plum, bush Plum, standard European Plum, Japanese Quince, tree Raspberry, red Raspberry, black Rhubarb Saskatoon (Juneberry) Strawberry (June bearing) Walnut, eastern, black Walnut, English (Persian)

3-8 bu. 1+ bu. 2-4 bu. 10-50 lbs. at age 10, 75-100 lbs. at age 15+ 1 bu. 1-2 bu. 4-6 lbs. at age 10 0.5-1 bu. 1-2 bu. 0.5-2 bu. 1 bu. 2-6 qts. 2-6 qts. 3-4 lbs. 2-8-8.6 lbs. 1 pint 20-100 lbs. 6 bu.

0.8-3.0 lbs. 11-32.6 lbs. 68-204 lbs. 0.8-3.0 lbs. 11-32.6 lbs. 153-459 lbs. 56-240 lbs.

15.7-67.4 lbs. 29-58 lbs. 20.5-41 lbs.

38-76 lbs. (clingstone) 135-270 lbs. (clingstone)88-176 lbs. (freestone) 23-70 lbs. 92-276 lbs. 96-400+ lbs.

0.85-3.4 lbs. 61-184 lbs. 0.95-3.8+ lbs.

0.4-1.6 lbs. 8-160+ lbs. 8-160+ lbs.

*Jacke, Dave and E. Toensmeier. 2005 (revised Edible Forest Jeavons, John. 2006. How toDesign, Grow More Vegetables (Seventh Edi- Climate Jacke, Dave and E. Toensmeier. 2005 (revised 2007).2007). Edible Forest Gardens, Ecological Vision, Theory, and Practice for Temperate Gardens, Ecological Vision, Theory, Design, and Practice for Tempertion). Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA Permaculture. Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT. ate Climate Permaculture. Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Jeavons, John. 2006. Junction, VT How to Grow More Vegetables (Seventh Edition). Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA †

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appendix f: lead remediation

In the post-industrial Northampton Urban and Suburban Districts, there is a higher possibility of soil lead contamination in many areas due to historical uses. Therefore all sites, even in present-day residential areas, need to be tested before food cultivation. If lead is found, care should be taken with both crops and livestock to make sure the element does not accumulate in the tissues of edible plants, or in the eggs and flesh of animals raised for consumption. Many soils have naturally occurring lead levels between 15 to 40 parts per million (ppm), and all parts of crops and food from livestock such as eggs and meat are safe if produced on soil at these levels. For lead levels higher than 40 ppm, care should be taken, however. (University of Massachusetts Amherst Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory). Carl Rosen, a soil scientist with the University of Minnesota, finds that up to 300 ppm, “lead does not readily accumulate in the fruiting parts of vegetable and fruit crops” (Nordahl 33), suggesting that up to this level, it is safe to grow crops for their fruiting parts. He says that even in the plants’ vegetative parts, the danger of lead contamination is greater from accumulation on the plants’ surfaces than from accumulation. Thorough washing of fruits and vegetables can remove lead from plants’ surfaces. To avoid possible human health risks, however, crops cultivated in soils with these lead levels should be limited to those grown for their fruit. Eggs and meat from livestock should only be eaten if produced on soils containing up to the safe lead level of 40 ppm. Other sources, such as the University of Massachusetts, suggest that plants grown for their fruiting parts may still be consumed if cultivated in soils with lead levels up to 1000 ppm. In order to make contaminated sites suitable for production of vegetative crops, many sources suggest the importation of fresh soil to replace or sit on top of contaminated sites, whether by spreading or in raised planter beds. The only downsides to these solutions are that they are costly and involve high fossil fuel energy inputs. However, lead is a stable element that does not move easily through soil, so in tall-enough raised beds, plants grown for vegetative parts may be cultivated. Plants must sit in beds of uncontaminated soil high enough above the contaminated ground soil (~3 feet) so that plants’ roots are not able to grow deep enough to reach the contaminated areas. Lead also can be removed from soil by certain plants through phytoremediation, especially by plants in the Brassicaceae (mustards in particular) and Asteraceae (sunflowers in particular) families. Phytoremediation is the use of plants to remove contaminants by absorbing them through their roots.

Though this is an option, the only concern is that it simply re-locates the lead problem in the place in where plants are then disposed. If this practice is used, care must be taken, and a proper disposal plan must be in place (Randazzo).

low lead levels (-ppm):

1. Locate gardens away from old painted structures and heavily traveled roads. 2. Give planting preferences to fruiting crops (tomatoes, squash, peas, sunflowers, corn, etc.). 3. Incorporate organic materials such as finished compost, humus, and peat moss. 4. Lime soil as recommended by soil test (pH 6.5 minimizes lead availability). 5. Discard old and outer leaves before eating leafy vegetables. Peel root crops. Wash all produce. 6. Keep dust to a minimum by maintaining a mulched and/or moist soil surface.

medium lead levels (-ppm):

In addition to following LOW lead level recommendations, 1. It is recommended that the blood lead levels of children under six be tested. 2. Avoid growing leafy green vegetables and root crops if your children have above normal lead levels. 3. Give planting preference to fruiting crops.

high lead levels (-3ppm):

In addition to following LOW lead level recommendations, 1. It is strongly recommended that the blood lead levels of children under six be tested. 2. Grow only fruiting crops or limit gardening to flowers and ornamentals. 3. Replenish soil with clean topsoil; or create raised (or entrenched) beds lined in plastic and filled with clean topsoil to a depth of at least six inches.

very high lead levels (more than 3ppm):

Do not use this soil for vegetable gardening, and: 1. Be certain to test the blood lead levels of children under six. 2. Remove and replace soil; or grow only flowers and ornamental plants. 3. Containerize garden in pots with clean topsoil; or create raised (or entrenched) beds lined in plastic and filled with clean topsoil to a depth of at least six inches. Recommendations if lead is found in soils. University of Massachusetts-Amherst Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory. Soil Remediation: University of Massachusetts-Amherst Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory.

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The Conway School of Landscape Design is the only institution of its kind in North America. Its focus is sustainable landscape planning and design. Each year, through its accredited, ten-month graduate program just eighteen to nineteen students from diverse backgrounds are immersed in a range of applied landscape studies, ranging in scale from residences to regions. Graduates go on to play significant professional roles in various aspects of landscape planning and design.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE BY DESIGN. Conway School of Landscape Design 332 South Deerfield Road, Conway, MA 01341 www.csld.edu

Almost all food consumed in the United States moves through a large-scale, industrial agriculture system, where an average meal can travel 1,500 miles and change hands half a dozen times before reaching the dinner table. This global system supplies a tremendous amount of food and has remained affordable to Americans for over fifty years; but, it is wrought with unseen costs such as environmental degradation and dependence on precarious fossil fuel availability. The global supply of non-renewable fossil fuels cannot last forever, and higher fuel prices will jeopardize food supplies. Communities across the globe are seeking solutions to the pressing question: What does it take for a community to grow food locally and sustainably, relying less on fossil fuel inputs? A team of students from the Conway School of Landscape Design investigates this question for the city of Northampton, Massachusetts. This report outlines the social, political, economic, and environmental challenges to creating a local food system, and goes on to recommend a model that responds to these challenges. Tools are offered for inventorying land and community assets, and for envisioning what is possible in Northampton.

Prepared for the Northampton Food Security Group, Northampton, Massachusetts Abrah Dresdale, Tom Jandernoa, Josiah Simpson, Michael Yoken Conway School of Landscape Design April 20, 2010


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