Cultivating Resilience: The Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan

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Cultivating Resilience

The Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan Phase One Prepared for

The Central Connecticut River Valley Institute and The Apios Institute March 2009

Cultivating Resilience The Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan Phase One

Prepared for

The Central Connecticut River Valley Institute and The Apios Institute Prepared by Fiona Dunbar Alex Hoffmeier Suzanne Rhodes The Conway School of Landscape Design March 2009

Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY INTRODUCTION .......................................................1 BUILDING A FOUNDATION ....................................................15 Background Information FOOD FOR THOUGHT ....................................................31 Nutrition and Agriculture Data UNDERSTANDING THE LANDSCAPE ....................................................43 Inventory and Analysis LEARNING BY EXAMPLE ....................................................61 Case Studies ENVISIONING POSSIBILITIES ....................................................81 Designs CONCLUSIONS ....................................................93 NEXT STEPS ....................................................95 Recommendations REFERENCES .................................................107 APPENDICES .................................................111 SHELBURNE FALLS FOOD SECURITY PLAN: PHASE ONE

Executive Summary In today’s global economy, food is traveling farther and farther from the place it is produced to where it is consumed. Creating locally and regionally independent food systems is one potential solution for increasing food security in communities around the U.S. The Central Connecticut River Valley Institute (CCRVI), based in the village of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, is beginning to address such global issues. CCRVI exists to create educational programs and innovative social, cultural, and economic institutions to connect people with the natural world, with themselves, and each other. CCRVI has outlined a Community Food Program with two related projects: the Perennial Food Project and the Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan. The Perennial Food Project will determine which species are appropriate for use in small-scale semi-urban village production and share horticultural knowledge and practices for growing perennial crops, as well as propagate perennial plants to share with others. The Perennial Food Project will be the basis of a separate study. This document, the initial phase of the Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan, incorporating recommendations of the residents, offers strategies for localizing the food system by providing a viable vision for meeting food needs locally. This report presents pertinent baseline data on nutrition and crop-growing requirements; analyzes village development and social patterns; evaluates natural conditions that affect food-producing potential; offers case studies and existing models of localized food production; and creates conceptual designs for food production in Shelburne Falls. Shelburne Falls is a vibrant rural village of 1,951 people (based on 2000 U.S. Census) in western Franklin County, Massachusetts. The village is located along the Deerfield River near a bend where the river flows over the 40-foot high Salmon Falls, with forested hillsides rising to the east and west. The village covers portions of the towns of Buckland and Shelburne on either side of the Deerfield River, and thus follows zoning bylaws and regulations

of the two towns. For the purposes of this report, the project area is defined by the Fire and Water District, which contains approximately 815 households, a small commercial district, and some light industry. Western Massachusetts, including the Shelburne Falls area, has a long history of agricultural production, and the long-term trend has been a decrease in agriculture as an occupation. In the last eight years that trend has been reversing, and agriculture as an occupation is once again on the rise. There are now more than eighteen farms located within a ten-mile radius of the village. Of the village’s 1,951 residents, 86 percent commute an average of twenty-one minutes to work each day, 45 percent live in rental units, and 78 percent are over the age of eighteen. To provide for the nutritional needs of the population of the entire village would require 4,314,428 calories per day. Based on research conducted by Christian J. Peters of Cornell University, Shelburne Falls would need between 858.44 and 4,136.12 acres to produce the food to meet the needs of its residents, depending on the composition of the diet. Another model, based on an urban homestead in Pasadena, California, determined that it would take 58.53 acres to provide for the same population on a low-fat vegetarian diet. The physical setting and site conditions of Shelburne Falls are characterized by gentle to moderate slopes that are predominately east- or west-facing, and sandy, well-drained soils. The temperate climate is characterized by cold winters, warm summers, and an average total annual precipitation of 51.66 inches, spread evenly throughout the year. These conditions are well-suited for growing crops and producing food. Of the 1,255 acres within the Fire and Water District boundaries, 815.5 are either paved, occupied by buildings, or are open water. The 439.5 acres remaining is divided into small residential and commercial lots with very few parks or other open areas. The exception to this is the 16.56-acre elementary school grounds, where there are large open fields that could accommodate a large community garden in addition to sports and play. Food production in the open spaces of private yards, commercial businesses, and municipal areas could be increased to supply much more food locally than is currently being produced.



Today, there is increasing concern about our reliance on a global food system. With the current supply system, food is traveling farther and farther from the place it is produced to where it is consumed. Some estimate that the average food item in a grocery store has traveled between 1,200 and 2,000 miles before reaching its final destination. This system is heavily dependent on the availability of cheap fossil fuel. With an increasing instability in the price of oil and an inevitable increase in the cost of food, there are questions as to whether the current industrial agriculture food system is at risk. At the international level, the food supply can be affected by volatility in economic and political environments, while at the national and regional levels, weather-related natural disasters or civil strife can seriously disrupt food production, storage, and distribution. Food security requires an accessible and reliable food supply at all times. Individuals and households must have access to enough safe and nutritious food to meet their daily dietary requirements. The issue of food security grows out of concern regarding the unstable costs of growing and transporting food, anxiety about food contamination, and the desire to reduce impacts on the environment. Creating locally and regionally independent food systems is one potential solution for increasing food security in communities throughout the United States. The Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan is one initiative of the Central Connecticut River Valley Institute’s Community Food Project, a larger effort to create food security. The focus area for this report is the Fire and Water District for the Village of Shelburne Falls, located in western Franklin County, Massachusetts. This defined boundary was chosen because it represents the most densely populated section of the towns of Buckland and Shelburne and gives a quantifiable study area. It is approximately 1,200 acres, or about two square miles. This report examines social and political conditions, inventories national data and cultural resources in the village, incorporates public input, and presents a framework for building a safer and more resilient food economy. The Shelburne Falls Food


Security Plan focuses on the entire community food system and addresses the key elements of nutrition, local agriculture, community resources, and environmental stewardship. The goal of the Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan is to create a locally-reliant and resilient food system. The aim of this report, the first phase of the Food Security Plan, is to assess the potential for and provide a vision of food production in the village. The authors recognize that producing enough food to meet the needs of all residents within the village alone may not be possible, and do not presume such a limited view. Rather, we hope to emphasize the importance of continued support of the many nearby small farms, of increased food production within the village, and subsequently of minimized dependence upon the current global food system. Increasing the market and resources for a regional food system and developing strong connections between village residents, area farmers, and producers of other local products may well be the best foundation for food security in Shelburne Falls.





The Central Connecticut River Valley Institute, Inc. (CCRVI), the primary client, is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting people to the natural world. Based in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, CCRVI was founded by Will Flanders in 2004. CCRVI focuses its work within the region of the central Connecticut River watershed, which loosely encompasses six counties: Franklin and Hampshire in Massachusetts, Cheshire and Sullivan in New Hampshire, and Windham and Windsor in Vermont. The mission of the organization is to Create educational programs and innovative social, cultural, and economic institutions which encourage people to experience the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual benefits of living intimately, indigenously, and in deep connection with the natural world where they live, with themselves, and each other. (CCRVI)

CCRVI aims to serve this mission by creating regionally and locally sustainable sources for human needs and by promoting the conservation of natural resources. CCRVI has sponsored and supported a number of multidisciplinary programs focused on environmental education and resource preservation.

THE APIOS INSTITUTE Still in its formative phase, the Apios Institute, founded by Dave Jacke, author of Edible Forest Gardens, aims to further the practice of forest gardening by developing integrated and regenerative systems of perennial agriculture. The Apios Institute intends to work collaboratively with educators, farmers, gardeners, policy-makers, and communities, to research, develop, and demonstrate agricultural

schemes modeled after and inspired by the local temperate forest. Focusing initially on building small-scale systems, the vision of the Apios Institute is to think broadly and support work at larger scales, providing benefits to many collaborators through shared resources and knowledge.

THE COMMUNITY FOOD PROJECT In collaboration with the newly-formed Apios Institute and Shelburne Falls resident Kim Erslev, CCRVI has developed the Community Food Project, which through two initiatives (the Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan and the Perennial Food Project), seeks to develop a locally controlled food system for the village of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. The hope is that the Community Food Program may serve as a model for other communities within the region and beyond. The Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan is based on a vision of meeting food needs locally and determining the minimal food requirements of the residents of the village of Shelburne Falls. This report lays the foundation for the Food Security Plan, presenting food and nutritional needs, site analysis, and viable agriculture schemes for the village. Information and designs presented here will allow for more in-depth research and planning efforts towards the goal of local food security. The Perennial Food Project will also rely on the information laid out in this report to begin to determine appropriate plant species and cultivars for use in propagation and growth of perennials in village gardens. Perennial plants are those that live three or more years without replanting, and there are many such plants that produce edible crops, often using less energy and labor than annual food crops. The Perennial Food Project will not only determine which species are appropriate for use in small-scale semi-urban village production, but also share horticultural knowledge and practices for growing perennial crops, as well as propagate perennial plants to share with others.


ORGANIZATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS Central Connecticut River Valley Institute

Conway School of Landscape Design Student Team

Apios Institute Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan


Perennial Food Project

Community Food Project

The client, Connecticut River Valley Institute, in collaboration with the Apios Institute developed a vision for a Community Food Project with two initiatives: the Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan and the Perennial Food Project. The Conway School of Landscape Design student team was contracted to complete the first phase of the Food Security Plan, which will later guide the Perennial Food Project, a primary focus of the Apios Institute.


Objectives of the Plan The Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan is a multi-phase project that incorporates community development, environmental issues, gardening and sustainable agriculture, and nutrition to determine the potential for food production within the village. CCRVI’s vision for the Food Security Plan includes a planning process that incorporates community-based needs assessment, long-range planning and visioning, and community participation. CCRVI has determined four objectives for the food security plan. The scope of this first phase of the project will concentrate on the first three: To determine the existing food needs of the village of Shelburne Falls, the Conway School of Landscape Design team will evaluate national nutritional data, examine local demographic data, and study relevant academic research. To evaluate the potential for food production, the team will analyze site conditions within the village; research agricultural methods, crop yields, alternative food production methods; examine existing cases studies; and solicit input from local residents at a community meeting. For proposed food production schemes, the CSLD team will study site conditions and development patterns, adapt solutions from other communities, outline material and social resources needed, and determine appropriate productions opportunities for specific areas. The fourth objective, to determine the foodshed of the village is outside the scope of this phase of the project, but may include tracking food purchasing habits of residents and evaluating food purchases to determine origins of products.


Photo courtesy of Kim Klein





Available Assets and Foreseeable Challenges


Identifying the assets and challenges that the community of Shelburne Falls may encounter while developing a food security plan prepares residents to better capitalize on the available assets to move the project forward, and to handle problems that may arise. Western Massachusetts has a long history of agriculture and is currently experiencing a revitalization of interest in farming, farm products, and locally grown food. The average age of farmers in the region is 54.4 years. Many have been involved in agriculture in this area their whole lives, and therefore they have extensive knowledge of local conditions. Nationally recognized specialists in permaculture and design also live in the area. There is an abundance of national nutritional data readily available through the USDA nutrition website to determine the food requirements for the average person and to develop an idea of what is consumed at the national level. Agricultural data can be found through the USDA agricultural census for Franklin County to understand patterns of agriculture in the past and present. The village of Shelburne Falls has a progressive-thinking population that is supportive of and excited by local food production. In addition, there are numerous successful projects that can inform the Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan, ranging from community-supported urban farms in San Francisco and Seattle to youth programs in Burlington, Vermont.

Existing assets for creating food security in Shelburne Falls.


7 Some challenges that the community may face in launching a food security plan include the lack of data on local nutrition and food consumption habits. There is the issue of multiple jurisdictions including the town of Shelburne, the town of Buckland, and the Shelburne Falls Fire and Water District. Each town has its own by-laws and zoning regulations that may influence the ability to produce food within village boundaries, and the Fire and Water District is responsible for regulating water use. There is little undeveloped open space that could be used for community gardens or other forms of food production within the study area, and that land is either private or under public ownership, which may pose problems for getting consensus on food production strategies. In addition, while some residents embrace the idea of local food production, others may not be as receptive and may resist involvement in a project of this nature.

Challenges in attaining food security in Shelburne Falls.


The Foodshed Concept The question “Where does your food come from?” is one being asked with greater frequency these days, though some might rephrase this question as “What is your foodshed?” Based on the more familiar concept of a watershed, the geographic region in which water drains to a single point, “foodshed” generally refers to the geographic area from which one’s food travels from its source

of production to the location of its consumption (Figure 1). While the term “foodshed” is not new, it remains inconsistently defined. According to Christian J. Peters, who has done extensive research on foodsheds, “In what may be the original use of the term, Walter Hedden described a ‘foodshed’ in 1929 as the ‘dikes and dams’ guiding the flow of food from producer to consumer” (Peters, et al. 2008, p. 2). Peters also writes that, “More recently, the term has been used to represent a more locally-reliant alternative food system that reduces the negative social and environmental impacts of agriculture” (Peters, et al. n.d.).


Figure 1. Shelburne Falls, like most other places, is currently reliant on a food system that reaches globally.


This report borrows from Peters’ strategy of a somewhat hybridized version of these two interpretations to define foodshed as the flow of food from production to consumption, while associating the term with bolstering food production at a local scale, minimizing the distance food travels, and thus the environmental impact, of the food system of Shelburne Falls. Over many decades, local and regional food systems have converged and expanded so that most humans rely on a global food system today. An increasingly widespread discourse that addresses environmentalism and resilience in the face of global climate change and peak oil has emerged, and those in favor of creating and supporting localized food systems have embraced the concept of a foodshed to help illustrate the spider’s web of any particular locale’s food supply. While a foodshed generally refers to the geographic area from which food comes – the distance from production to consumption – it is possible to define the term to measure overall environmental impact of food production and transportation. For instance, aside from measuring distance of food travel, a foodshed

Energy use for different modes of freight transport Water Rail Primary energy consumption (KJ/Ton-km)

Road Air 0

5,000 10,000 15,000


Figure 2. A foodshed could measure the amount of energy used to transport food as well as the distance it travels.

could be constructed to illustrate the amount of energy and inputs required to grow the food (fertilizer, water, and chemicals, if non-organic), or by the amount of energy in fossil fuels to transport it, or by a combination of the overall energy required to produce and transport the food (Figure 2). No matter how a foodshed is measured, the goal of the Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan is to outline ways to minimize the scale of the village’s foodshed, and to rely on local foods and products rather than those transported from across the globe. At this time, only minimal information is available as to how much food is produced and consumed locally, and a future phase of the Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan may include research into the current foodshed of the village, which may inform the overall direction of the Community Food Project.


Planning Process The student team from the Conway School of Landscape Design has worked closely with the Connecticut River Valley Institute (CCRVI) and the Apios Institute on this, the first phase of the Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan. The Plan will most likely be a multi-phased project that is expected to evolve in response to future political, social, and environmental conditions. In this report, immediate action steps and recommendations are made to guide later phases. Throughout the creation of this report, the design team received direct guidance from the clients as well as adhered to the



research and design approach of the Conway School of Landscape Design; this approach includes clearly understanding the client’s goals, conducting research, analyzing data, reviewing the program, formulating concepts, and creating alternatives and solutions. The student design team gathered general data and information regarding national food and nutrition standards, crop yield data and nutritional output, national and local demographic data, case studies of urban agriculture, and historical references to regional farming for this report. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was used as the primary source for nutritional data and crop information. The team conducted specific inventory and analysis for the section of Shelburne Falls that lies within the Fire and Water District, including soils, climate, slope, solar aspect, open space patterns, and surrounding natural resources. Schematic designs for food production in typical neighborhoods in Shelburne Falls were completed by the student team using this information. These designs establish a starting point for the Community Food Project and what will eventually be a more comprehensive guide to plant selection and specific growing conditions throughout the village.

ated with this project. An idea that was reinforced by the public was that a supportive social structure will likely increase participation and help in the long-term success of the Food Security Plan. However, determining what form that structure should take and how to develop and nurture it may be a long and challenging process. This will require continued discussion among many members of the community, including town officials, before and throughout the process of developing local food security. Different models of agriculture and food production will require different resources and levels of community support, and will be best assessed on a case-by-case basis, but understanding such needs early on may help foster a more effective overall social structure. While the geographical focus of this phase of the project is the Fire and Water District, farms and farmland already exist in close proximity, and residents at the public meeting articulated

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION Public participation is central to the long-term success of this project. At a community meeting at Boswell’s Books in Shelburne Falls on February 24, 2009, the clients and the Conway School team introduced the project to the public and presented preliminary findings. A brainstorming session was conducted with the fortythree people present, to solicit ideas, concerns, and feedback on the process of creating a local food system. It became apparent at this meeting that such a plan is as much a community-organizing project as it is a local food project. Those in attendance said that the first step in producing food locally would have to be a shift in attitudes and behaviors of residents. Participants expressed excitement about producing significant amounts of food in the village and foresaw many opportunities for education and community-building associ-

Will Flanders, founder of CCRVI, speaking at the public meeting in February, 2009, held at Boswell’s Books in Shelburne Falls.


that developing a local food system would provide a profound opportunity to bolster local small farms already in existence just beyond the boundaries of the village. Similarly, participants said that goals of resilience and high levels of food production in the village should not dismiss some continued reliance on nearby farmers and communities. Since nearby farms comprise far more arable acreage than the developed areas in town, these farms have a much larger capacity to produce food. Farmers have a bounty of knowledge about growing conditions in the region that could be shared with members of the community, and products from farms and backyards alike could be distributed at farmers’ stands and markets, and at local shops and retail establishments. There will be many variables and uncertainties to consider as the community strives to develop a useful, realistic, and supportive social structure to assist in the development of the Food Security Plan. What follows are ideas that emerged during the brainstorming session; it is an introductory and somewhat speculative list of elements that may be desirable in a new community social structure and local food system.

Local residents participated in a public meeting that introduced the Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan on February 24, 2009.

Shifting Attitudes and Behaviors A participant at the public meeting suggested that people will only do what make sense to them, what benefits them, and what they can do well, and argued that the social framework necessary to support a local food system must build on this if the system is to be successful in the community. Significant impetus behind a local food security plan comes from fear over the tumultuous changes predicted ahead (from global climate change to peak oil, to name a few), and securing local food production will strengthen the village and make it more resilient. Even if the predictions forecasted do not come to be, the community will still benefit by being more self-reliant. Residents at the public meeting expressed a desire to be in charge of whatever changes may come, no matter what the course of the future, so as to choose the direction and form of those changes before a crisis.

Fear of a catastrophe can be used to push people to produce their own food or make other alterations in their lives, but rather than waiting for a crisis to start implementing change, let foresight and empowerment be the driving force. With an increase in local food production, limited in Shelburne Falls by climate and space, the buying and eating habits of residents might change to include foods that are not currently culturally accepted but that are particularly nutritious, have high yields, or have long growing seasons. This would call for a shift in attitude about the acceptability of certain foods as well as a change in consumption behavior.



Educational Opportunities


Residents who have never gardened, raised animals, or processed or stored food will need many kinds of support if they are to begin doing any of these things. Most immediately, they will need educational resources on how to get started and how to be successful. Education might come formally through workshops and trainings, or informally via neighborly interaction. Having a place to unabashedly ask questions, receive helpful advice, and problem-solve, and where community members can teach and learn from one another will promote a support system for everyone involved in community agriculture and food production. The Internet, local television, radio, and newspapers could be used to educate and encourage people to get involved in the village food movement, and the local public library could provide related reading materials. A prime opportunity for education would be to incorporate garden- or agricultural-based curriculum into students’ lessons at all school levels. There are many examples of schools using gardens as outdoor classrooms for multidisciplinary learning throughout the country. Additional benefits include getting kids outside to explore and understand the natural world, improving nutrition, and encouraging family involvement in gardening and related projects.

Amassing Resources Material and spatial resources, from seeds and garden tools to facilities for processing and storing food, will be needed if a large proportion of the village’s food is produced in town, either on an individual, household, or community scale. An evaluation of the available resources and determination of what others are needed will be an important first step towards building food security. If residents and community groups can easily access material resources and gain sufficient education and help in using them, more people may become involved in food production. A new social structure might support the lending or donating of materials

and creating or offering shared land and facilities. For a detailed, though not exhaustive, list of resources, please see page 97.

Developing Communication Dialogue is crucial when people are working together. If a new system encourages people to share land, collaborate on projects, or use communal resources clear communication will be necessary. Since creating a local food system proves to be an effort in community-organizing, opportunities for open communication to brainstorm ideas and solve problems will be key as the project adapts and evolves. Particularly in scenarios of community-wide or group projects such as community gardens or food processing and storage facilities, outlining clear goals, rules, and means of communication must take place so that all parties understand their responsibilities, liabilities, and rights. In a village where nearly half the residents rent their homes (U.S. Census, 2000), dialogue between owners and renters may become important as households begin installing gardens, to determine if the renter or the owner will control over the yard. Members of any group must know where to discuss and how to appropriately handle grievances, concerns, or new ideas depending on the structure of a group or project. Community agriculture can take different forms, each of which will require different levels of participation, resource inputs, systems of communication, and regulations.


Photo courtesy of Walter Cudnohufsky


So much about life in a global economy feels as though it has passed beyond the individual’s control — what happens to our jobs, to the prices at the gas station, to the votes in the legislature. But somehow food still feels a little different.We can still decide, every day, what we’re going to put into our bodies, what sort of food chain we want to participate in.

Michael Pollan


Building a Foundation

Background Information


15 In order to make informed decisions during the process of establishing food security, it is helpful to study the context of the landscape and the people of Shelburne Falls and its nearby surroundings. This includes looking into the history of agriculture and land use, which may provide insight into what kinds of foods and the way the foods have been produced in the region in the past. Research into existing local farms and what they are producing, as well as the demographic make-up of the community, may also give direction to the Shelburne Falls villagers as they begin to grow and make more of their own food. Residents must be aware of zoning bylaws that may be restrictive or require special permitting for particular kinds of food production or activities. This collection of historic and current information lays the groundwork for subsequent research and analysis into and action towards attaining food security.

Photo courtesy of Michael Blacketer


Geographic Context The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Located one hundred miles west of Boston in Franklin County, Massachusetts, Shelburne Falls is situated in a narrow valley in the Berkshire foothills between West Mountain, elevation 1,001 feet, to the west and Massamett Mountain (High Ledge), elevation 1,588 feet, to the east (USGS 1941). The towns of Buckland and Shelburne, like most in New England, were laid out following a classic European convention of Franklin County




Outlined in red in this aerial photograph, the Fire and Water District is the focus area for the Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan. The district is predominantly residential, though it also includes small commercial and industrial zones, and school and government buildings.

Village of Shelburne Falls Fire and Water District


a central settlement surrounded by farms and woodlots within a three- to six-mile radius, the distance that could be covered on foot or in an ox cart in about an hour (Donahue 1999). While each of the towns has a settlement at its respective geographical center, Shelburne Falls was established at a bend where the Deerfield River cascades over the 40-foot-high Salmon Falls, a rocky ledge of schist and gneiss, and is partly in each town. On the north and west side of the river Shelburne Falls is in the town of Buckland, while on the south and east side of the river it is in the town of Shelburne. The two sides are connected by the pedestrian Bridge of Flowers, an old trolley bridge that was converted to its current use in 1929, and the Iron Bridge, which carries vehicular traffic across the river. According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.8 km), of which 3.79 percent is water. Shelburne Falls is served by Route 2, also known as the Mohawk Trail. Routes 2A and 112 are the main routes through the village. Interstate 91 runs north-south through neighboring Greenfield, and can be accessed via Route 2. Shelburne Falls’ geographic location in western Massachusetts provides many benefits. It is in a rural setting with small town ambiance, yet is close to several larger urban areas with the amenities that larger cities offer. While there is not a great deal of level open land in the village, it has the advantage of being encircled by numerous farms and farmland where food has been produced in the past and is being produced now. Western Massachusetts has a history of producing farm goods for markets in Greenfield, Springfield, and Boston, and many older residents have knowledge of the climate and growing conditions. This history and knowledge will benefit the community of Shelburne Falls as they work toward increasing food security and resilience in the future.

Image MassGIS, Commonwealth of Massachusetts EOEA. Google Earth, accessed January 2009.



Natural Features


The beautiful natural landscape that makes Shelburne Falls and the Deerfield River Watershed so aesthetically pleasing serves important ecological functions as well, such as providing habitat and encouraging species diversity. The Deerfield River is one of Shelburne Falls’ most valuable assets, not only as a recreational and aesthetic resource, but as a source of fresh water and hydroelectric power. Massachusetts GIS data shows that, in addition to the abundance of contiguous forest and undeveloped land surrounding Shelburne Falls, there are several protected natural resource areas near the village. These include the 1,125-acre Catamount State Forest to the north in Colrain and Charlemont, the 92-acre Buckland State Forest to the southwest, the 52-acre Shelburne State Forest to the east, and the 586-acre High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary on Massamett Mountain to the east. However, though large amounts of land have been preserved around Shelburne Falls and throughout the Deerfield River Watershed, the lack of an overall protection strategy for important natural resources has resulted in patches of unconnected protected land (Dodson 2003). To assist municipalities in protecting important natural resources, using Estimated Habitats and other information, the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP 2004) identifies three main categories: Permanently Protected Open Space; Core Habitats, which identify the most vital areas for biodiversity and conservation; and Supporting Natural Landscape which provide the Core Habitat with a buffer and a means for connectivity (NHESP 2004). Creating plant diversity by replacing lawns with edible plant species could increase habitat and ecosystem health in Shelburne Falls, linking the village to its surrounding natural resources.

NHESP BioMap showing Permanently Protected Open Space, Core Habitat, and Supporting Natural Landscapes. Produced by NHESP GIS Program with Assistance of MassGIS and DFWELE GIS Program. Map created with ArcIMSCopyrighted (C) 1992-2001 ESRI Inc.


Village and Regional History

Even though most of the surrounding region was mainly involved in agriculture, entrepreneurs saw the potential for harnessing the hydropower produced by Salmon Falls. By 1830, Shelburne Falls was home to numerous factories, sawmills and gristmills, including the H.S. Shepardson and Company, manufacturers of bits and gimlets, and the Lock Company, where the earliest Yale locks were produced. Lamson and Goodnow, makers of fine cutlery, and Mayhew Steel Products Company, manufacturers of small forged tools are still in business in Shelburne Falls today, more than one hundred fifty years after their founding. In 1867, the railroad reached Shelburne Falls; farmers of the hilltowns began shipping dairy products, eggs, meat, and apples to the larger markets of Boston and Springfield. In 1873, there were 101 farms in Shelburne supporting 799 sheep. The yearly revenue from butter sales amounted to $10,268.80. There is also a report of 18,680 pounds of maple sugar harvested in one year sometime during the mid-1800s (Nason 1873). Early American county and

In the early part of the seventeenth century, approximately five thousand Native Americans of the Pocumtuc tribe lived in the Connecticut River Valley of western Massachusetts (Manataka 2009). When the first European settlers arrived, they recorded native people growing corn, beans, squash, pumpkins, watermelons, and Jerusalem artichokes among other crops. The Pocumtuc also grew tobacco for smoking and gourds for use as utensils (Russell 1976). To feed themselves through the long cold winters, the Pocumtuc depended on game hunted in the surrounding hills and fish pulled from the rivers to supplement their stored crops (Manataka 2009). When the first white settlers moved into the area and began farming, they had to produce nearly everything on site; most kept cows for milk, butter, and cream; pigs for meat; sheep for meat and wool; and chickens for meat and eggs. They also had draft horses to help with farm work, and dogs to help with herding (Cross 1979). Bulls were often kept as community property by the whole town (Russell 1976). They grew corn for silage and burned the cobs to smoke pork. Even though the land above the Deerfield River valley was rocky and hilly, they found it well suited to growing apples. Shelburne and Buckland apples continue to be well known throughout the region. Maple syrup was also an early commodity, originating with the Native Americans; sugar maples were tapped using a hollowed-out sumac twig and later galvanized spigots were utilized (Burnham et al. 1958). During the early 1800s, people moved into Shelburne Falls to work in the factories that were built along the Deerfield River. Even those who lived in the village kept a kitchen garden for the family, growing seasonal crops of potatoes, zucchini, and winter squash, tomatoes, bush and pole beans, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, onion, radishes, carrots, and beets, and canning much of it for the Farming in western Massachusetts in the early 1900s. winter larder.



20 The Avery oxen of Buckland, MA together weighed 6,100 pounds

state fairs provided exhibits, demonstrations, and competition focused on the development of agriculture and animal husbandry, horticulture, and local industry, as well as a much anticipated chance to socialize. The famous Avery oxen, owned by James Avery of Buckland, were the highlight of many fairs and shows across the country. Together the pair of huge oxen weighed 6,100 pounds, and drew people from miles around whenever they were displayed. Agriculture was a way of life for two hundred years, lasting until the mid-twentieth century. In 1914, the historic Mohawk Trail was designated a scenic tourist route by the Massachusetts legislature, helping transition the economy from agriculture to tourism (Mohawk Trail Association). The Arms Academy, a school in Shelburne Falls, had an agriculture program that most school boys attended; after World War II, the program was discontinued due

to lack of interest as young men turned to other, more lucrative occupations (Cross 1979). On a national scale food production changed dramatically after World War II, from local farming for the domestic market to export-oriented agriculture. Selective breeding produced new strains of both farm animals and crop plants for the large scale commercial growers (Wessels 2009). Both large scale farmers and backyard gardeners began using chemicals to control insects, diseases, and weeds. Cold-storage warehouses, refrigerated trucks and railroad cars, speedy delivery by airplane, and the quick-freeze process of preservation increased the distance farm products could be transported to markets (USDA 2005). Residents now depend on a small number of agribusinesses to produce and ship the majority of the food they consume.


Village Demographics Physical characteristics, such as climate, soils, vegetation, slope, and solar aspect, help determine the potential for food production. Social characteristics are also significant. In 2000, Shelburne Falls had 1,951 residents with a median age of 41.2, which is six years older than the national average of 35.3 years (U.S. Census Bureau). Of the total population, 21.8 percent are under the age of 18; 59.2 percent are between the age of 18 and 64; and 19.0 percent are over the age of 65 (Figure 3). Different age groups will have different nutritional requirements, which will inform how much food will need to be produced to support the residents of Shelburne Falls. By making a broad assumption that people between the age of 18 and 64 will be the ones most likely to participate in physical activities relating to agriculture, 1151 individuals (59.2 percent of the total population) would be the most physically able. This in no way suggests that those younger than 18 or older than 65 are unable

Age Demographics

to perform physical activity or able to make major contributions to a community food program, rather it identifies the number of individuals that are neither adolescents nor senior citizens. More detailed research concerning the ratio of physical labor to productivity may be appropriate for future studies. Some of the proposed food production will occur on private property. There are a total of 878 housing units, of which 815, or 92.8 percent, are occupied full-time. 7.2 percent of the remaining housing units are vacant and 1.8 percent are used seasonally, recreationally, or occasionally. Of the 815 occupied housing units, renters occupy 43.9 percent (Figure 4). This compares to a national average of 33.8 percent of the total housing units occupied by renters. The high percentage of renters in Shelburne Falls could have an impact on village agriculture. Would renters be as likely to establish gardens for food production on property they do not own? Even if there are long-term renters willing to establish gardens, will the property owner grant them permission to do so? Food production within the village will require a great deal of physical, social, and knowledge-based resources. The importance of using local agricultural knowledge cannot be emphasized enough.

Housing Occupancy Owner-occupied

< 18 years

18-64 years

> 65 years

Figure 3. The distribution of the population by age in Shelburne Falls.


Figure 4. The percent of houses occupied by renters compared to homeowners.



Occupations Occupations Occupations

Commuting to Work

Management/professional Service

Drive alone



Farming, fishing, forestry

Walk Work from home

Construction, extraction, maintenance


Production, transportation

22 Figure 5. The different modes of transportation used to commute to work..

Figure 6. The breakdown of occupations in six general categories.

The value of local knowledge in relation to climate, crop selection, and growing conditions may be much greater than any information obtained in a book. The workforce in Shelburne Falls is relatively evenly distributed between management/professional, service industry, sales, construction, and production jobs (Figure 5). Less than 1 percent, or eight individuals, were working in the natural resource field in 2000, compared to a national rate of 1.9 percent. This includes agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and mining. The towns of Buckland and Shelburne, which are rural, have 0.9 percent and 3.0 percent respectively, of their working population in this field. Between Buckland, Shelburne, and Shelburne Falls, there may be as many as fifty individuals employed in this field who could offer their skills and knowledge to local residents eager to produce their own food.

Many aspects of everyday life will change as the price and supply of oil becomes increasingly unstable. Shipping food long distances from where it is grown will eventually become prohibitively expensive. Likewise, the high price of oil will make commuting long distances to work less and less viable. In 2000, the US Census Bureau reported that 75.7 percent of working Americans, or 97.1 million individuals drove alone to work with an average commute of 25.5 minutes. The U.S. average is only slightly higher than Shelburne Falls, where 72.5 percent, or 713 residents, drove 21.4 minutes to work daily (Figure 6). These numbers suggest that the work force in Shelburne Falls and the U.S. is dependent on cheap oil to get them to their jobs. To what degree things will be different is uncertain, but there is little doubt that the number of people commuting alone long distances will decrease in the future. Therefore, the creation of local economies, including food production, will be vital to sustain populations such as Shelburne Falls.


Zoning Bylaws and Legal Regulations Shelburne Falls is a village made up of small sections of the towns of Shelburne and Buckland. The zoning for Shelburne Falls is included in the zoning bylaws for each town’s respective section of the village. Zoning districts include Village Commercial, Village Residential, Commercial, Industrial, and a small section of Historic Industrial on the Buckland side of the river (Figure 7). The Agricultural and Recreational Uses sections, found in each town’s Zoning Bylaws, are the most relevant to this project and describe the agricultural activities allowed, not allowed, or allowed by special permit within the zoning districts of the village. Table 1 shows the bylaws regarding these activities. There are no agricultural activities explicitly prohibited by Buckland’s bylaws, but Shelburne’s bylaws do not allow pig farming within the village. The special permitting process may limit certain activities in any part of the village. To acquire a special permit in both Shelburne and Buckland, a resident must go before the Zoning Board of Appeals. Neighbors within three hundred feet of that resident’s property are notified and have the right to LEGEND voice their opposition to or concerns about Road the special permit being sought. Ultimately, the Water decision to grant the special permit belongs to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which weighs Commercial the request of the person seeking the permit Industrial with any opposition voiced by neighbors. The challenges of acquiring a special Rural Residential permit for agricultural activities that are Village Commercial unfamiliar within the village setting may have 0.25 1.0 0 0.5 Village Residential an impact on food production. For example, Miles because livestock farming on less than five Historic Commercial Figure 7. Zoning districts of Shelburne Falls. Datalayer identified by the town acres is allowed by special permit only, a of Buckland, 11/6/2005, and Shelburne, 4/11/2008. Digitized by the Franklin Other resident who wants to raise sheep would have Regional Council of Governments





Road Water Commercial Industrial Rural Residential Village Commercial Village Residential Historic Commercial Other



Zoning Bylaws Related to Agriculture


Village Residential

Village Commercial



Historic Industrial (Buckland)











Agriculture manufacturing with 5,000 square feet or less of enclosed floor area Commercial greenhouse on a lot greater than 5 acres Commercial greenhouse on a lot 2 to 5 acres Commercial greenhouse on a lot less than 2 acres Farming on a lot 5 acres or greater Farming on a lot less than 5 acres (Shelburne) Farming on a lot less than 5 acres (Buckland) Forestry Livestock farming on a lot less than 5 acres Pig farming on a lot less than 5 acres (Shelburne)

Table 1. Agricultural zoning regulations, adapted from Zoning Bylaws for the towns of Shelburne and Buckland. SP = Special Permit, Y = Allowed, N = Not allowed, N/A = Not Applicable

to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals. In the densely populated village, there will most likely be many residents within three hundred feet that have the right to voice their opinion. Because many people consider farm animals to be noisy, smelly, and unsightly, acquiring a special permit will potentially be difficult. The special permitting process allows residents to have a say in what activities occur in their neighborhood. Traditionally, in the United States, agricultural activities such as fruit and vegetable production and raising livestock and poultry have taken place outside of densely settled areas. However, a food security plan that suggests increasing agricultural activity within the village may raise opposition and acquiring special permits for certain activities

may prove difficult. Therefore, in the future, the zoning bylaws that require a special permit might need to be changed. It is hard to predict what types of problems might arise from increasing agricultural production within the village. Indeed, with the end of cheap oil and looming global climate change, people may be less opposed to these activities, making the special permitting process easier and more relevant to future conditions.


Support your local farmers by purchasing products directly from them at nearby farmer’s markets. You can also support farmers by buying from stores and eating at restaurants that carry local products.

Farmer’s markets near Shelburne Falls: Shelburne Falls (Fridays) Ashfield (Saturdays) Greenfield (Saturdays) Turners Falls (Wednesdays) Cummington/Hilltown (Saturdays) (See the Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) website, , for a more complete local list or for listings of farmer’s markets throughout the United States.)


Shop at local farmer’s markets!

Current Food Procurement


There are two small stores in Shelburne Falls that carry basic grocery items, but an informal survey revealed that the residents of Shelburne Falls, like most people living in the hilltowns of Franklin County, do the majority of their grocery shopping at supermarkets in Greenfield, ten miles to the east along Route 2. Occasionally, some people combine grocery shopping trips with other errands in Hadley or Northampton, thirty miles to the south. During summer months, residents can shop for produce and other local products at two farmers markets in Shelburne Falls. In the mountains to the west and north, there are few grocery markets. Producing more food within the village of Shelburne Falls and preserving harvests for winter use will be cost effective, saving on food costs and money spent on fuel. It will create a strong community that is independent and self-sufficient in the face of natural disasters (e.g., the ice storms and heavy snowfalls). At a regional level, by supporting the farmers and food producers in the area and by purchasing goods locally, a stronger regional economy will be developed and sustained. Distance from Shelburne Falls to supermarkets and grocery stores.


Regional Farms Western Massachusetts has a history of agriculture, and there are still many small farms in Franklin County. The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and 2007 USDA Census of Agriculture reports that Franklin County is home to over 14 percent of the farmland in Massachusetts, with a total of 7,465 acres on 741 farms. On average, county farms are 107 acres in size, with the vast majority family owned and operated. For direct sales of farm products to consumers, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ranks first over any other state, with Franklin County ranking forty-eighth out of all counties in the United States. This means that farmers in the county are already providing a significant amount of food to the local population. The primary aim of the larger Food Security Plan is to produce a high percentage of food in the village, but an associated goal is to increase the already significant percentage of direct sales and consumption of food produced by nearby farmers.



Currently, according to the Shelburne Falls Area Business Association and the Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, within a radius of approximately ten miles from the village center of Shelburne Falls are more than fifteen farms. These farms are producing fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood, fiber, maple syrup, herbs, eggs, dairy, grains, nursery products and flowers, berries, wood, and Christmas trees (Table 2). They sell their products to wholesale markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) shareholders, pick-your-own buyers, restaurants, and schools, and at farm stands and farmers’ markets. Local and regional farms are important assets to Shelburne Falls in the development of a food security plan, particularly since there is currently no extensive farmland within the Fire and Water District. Local farmers have critical knowledge of growing conditions, optimal crop choices, pest control methods, and an understanding of the land that village residents might learn from. Farms in the region will play an important role in the realization of a local food system, both as banks of knowledge and as providers of nourishment.

Join a CSA! What is a CSA? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Members of a CSA purchase a share in a farm’s crops in advance of the season, then receive a weekly portion of the produce grown. Under this model, sales of produce are direct from farmer to consumer, and food is distributed directly and locally.

CSA’s near Shelburne Falls: Wilder Brook Farm + CSA, Shelburne Falls Natural Roots, Conway Common Wealth CSA, Greenfield Sangha Farm, Ashfield Shoestring Farm, Colrain Bloody Brook Farm, South Deerfield Three Sisters, Montague Coyote Hill Farm, Bernardston Riverland Farm, Sunderland The Kitchen Garden, Sunderland See the Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) website, , for a more complete list See for listings of CSA’s throughout the United States



Apex Orchards Shelburne Fruit, vegetables, sweeteners Atherton Farm Buckland Vegetables, herbs, dairy, eggs, nursery, flowers, grain, feeds Australis Aquaculture Turners Falls Seafood Blue Heron Farm Charlemont Maple syrup, highbush blueberries Bray Farm Shelburne Falls Davenport Maple Farm Shelburne Sweeteners Foxbard Farm Shelburne Meat, wood, grains, feeds Foxfire Fiber and Designs Shelburne Meat, fiber at Springdelle Farm Gould’s Maple Farm Shelburne Sweeteners Johnson Hill Farm Buckland Herbs Kenburn Orchards Shelburne Berries, fruit, nursery, flowers Leaping Frog Farm Buckland Vegetables, fruits Natural Roots Farm Conway Vegetables, herbs, meat, wool products Raspberry Patch Farm Ashfield Sweeteners Red Gate Farm Buckland Education Center Sidehill Farm Ashfield Dairy Wheel-View Farm Shelburne Meat, nursery flowers, pet food Wilder Brook Farm Charlemont Vegetables, sweeteners, dairy, and CSA eggs, nursery, flowers

6.3 miles 3.6 miles 10.8 miles 7.2 miles 2.9 miles 4.8 miles 4.8 miles 5.7 miles 2.1 miles 5.0 miles 4.2 miles 4.8 miles 4.9 miles 4.5 miles 8.5 miles 4.7 miles 2.8 miles 5.5 miles

Table 2. Farms within approximately ten miles of Shelburne Falls.




Aerial photograph showing most (though not all) of the farms within about ten miles of Shelburne Falls. Image MassGIS, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, EOEA. Google Earth, accessed February 2009.



Bridge of Flowers. Photo courtesy of Michael Blacketer

Nestled in the Deerfield River valley, the region surrounding Shelburne Falls has a long history of agricultural use, while the village itself was a center for industry. Today, though industry here has dwindled, there still remain many small farms producing diverse goods near the village, important sources for local food. Information gleaned from demographic data allows us to make generalizations about the character of the population in Shelburne Falls and how the make-up of the community may affect the direction of this project. Similarly, restrictions placed by zoning bylaws may influence the land management and methods used for food production in the village. Residents may determine that certain bylaws must be rewritten to help encourage more people to join the project. Seeking to understand the past and studying current conditions in and around Shelburne Falls helps to outline the possibilities for a future in which residents grow and make more food of their own and the community develops resilience in the face of global changes.



Food for Thought Nutrition and Agriculture Data



The nutritional requirements of the community will help steer the type and magnitude of food production in the village. Daily dietary recommendations provided by the USDA include standards for energy, protein, vitamin, and mineral consumption. National data on the quantity of food that the average American consumes annually in pounds is broken into six categories: meat, vegetables, fruit, grain, dairy, and eggs. This data, combined with research by Christian J. Peters of Cornell University leads to estimated land requirements needed to produce food for the residents of Shelburne Falls. Once this information is established, analysis of the site conditions will help determine if Shelburne Falls can produce enough food in the village to meet their nutritional needs.

Photo courtesy of Alex Hoffmeier


Nutrition Data


The nutritional needs of the residents of Shelburne Falls will guide the design and scale of food production. They will also help to determine whether or not there is enough space within the village to meet these needs. There are many individuals and organizations that have differing recommendations and opinions for a healthy diet. For this report, data from the USDA is used as the basis for the majority of recommendations and nutritional and dietary calculations because they are scientifically based and the most widely known. In 2005, the USDA updated its recommendations with the publication of Dietary Guidelines for Americans and an improved food pyramid, now called MyPyramid (Figure 8). The basic dietary recommendations are based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet, with a balanced intake of grains, vegetables, fruit, dairy, and meat: 6 ounces

of grains, 2.5 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups of milk, and 5.5 ounces of low-fat meat or poultry (Table 4). With research conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, made available through the Food and Nutrition Information Center, the USDA also recommends Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI’s) for specific nutrients, including energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals. The nutritional needs of the 1,951 residents of Shelburne Falls were roughly estimated using averages from the US Census Bureau’s 2000 data, along with nutritional information from the USDA and the National Academy of Sciences. Table 3 shows the nutritional needs for the residents of Shelburne Falls broken down by age and gender. The total energy need for the residents of the village is 4,314,428 kcals (kilo calories) and the total protein need is 93,555 grams. With this information, further research into agricultural requirements and analysis of the village landscape will be done to determine if Shelburne Falls has the ability to meet these basic needs.

Energy (Kcal) Protein (g) Vit A (ugRE) Iron (mg) Ca (mg) Thiamin (mg) Riboflavin (mg) Niacin (mg) Vit C (mg) One Male >18 All Males >18 Total

2700 1,833,300

61 41,419

1000 679,000

10 6,790

1100 746,900

1.2 815

1.3 883

16 10,864

90 61,110

One Female >18 All Females >18 Total

2100 1,776,600

48 40,608

800 676,800

13 10,998

1100 930,600

1.1 930

1.1 930

14 11,844

75 63,450

One Male <18 All Males <18 Total

1,728 390,528

28 6,328

621 140,346

10 2,260

730 164,980

0.6 135

0.6 135

8 1,808

42 9,492

One Female <18 All Females <18 Total

1571 314,000

26 5,200

564 112,800

11 2,200

730 14,600

0.6 120

0.6 120

8 1,600

40 8,000










Population Total

Table 3. Dietary Reference Intakes based on age distribution and gender.



Figure 8. The five food groups. USDA 2005

Table 4. Recommended consumption by quantity and type for each of the five food groups. USDA 2005


Farms in Franklin County

Number of Farms Acreage


3,500 3,113 314,700

Number of Farms



300,000 250,000

2,434 227,478



206,160 1,792











Acres of Farmland


50,000 0







Table 5. The number and the size of farms decreased between 1910, and 2002, but began increasing by the time the next survey was conducted in 2007.

Agriculture Data Franklin County has a long history of agriculture. People have been farming here for thousands of years on the rich valley soils, and producing apples, livestock, and dairy on the steeper hillsides that have poorer soils unsuitable for growing crops. According to the 1910 Agricultural Survey, in the early part of the twentieth century there were more than 3,000 farms and over 300,000 acres in farmland in Franklin County. (Because agricultural census surveys

are sorted within county boundaries, specific data for the village of Shelburne Falls or the towns of Shelburne and Buckland is not available.) The number of farms and the numbers of acres in farmland steadily decreased over the subsequent decades, until by 2002 there were just 586 farms occupying 74,281 acres, a decrease of more than 75 percent (Table 5). According to the USDA agricultural census, the years between 2002 and 2007 saw a renewed interest in farming, with a 26 percent increase in the number of farms, from 586 to 741. The amount of land in agriculture also increased, by 7 percent to 79,465 acres. Agricultural census data also show a trend toward smaller


Farm Size Farm Size


0-9 acres 9-49 acres


Number of Farms

More than 50 acres 1500










Table 6. Changes in farm size over the years, the number of large farms has decreased while the number of smaller farms is increasing.

farms over the years. While the number of farms with less than 50 acres in production has increased from 2002 to 2007, the number of large farms is continuing to decrease. During the years from 2002 to 2007, the size of the average farm decreased, from 127 to 107 acres (Table 6). The number of women involved in farming nearly doubled between 2002 and 2007 and women now compose over a quarter of the principal farm operators. Farming trends also show that the residents of Franklin County have been very supportive of local and organic agriculture. In 2007, Franklin County had the highest sales of organic produce of any Massachusetts county — $2.97 million — from a total of 48

farms. Franklin County also has 103 of states 613 member-based community supported agriculture (CSA) operations, more than any other Massachusetts county. Direct sales from farm to consumer increased by 39 percent, from 141 to 196 farms. Franklin County residents are ahead of the rest of the nation in purchasing food locally and supporting local farms. The region has the climate, soils, and history of farming to be a leader in local agriculture and in feeding its population. Shelburne Falls can not only increase production of food within the Fire and Water District, it has a number of local farms that can provide goods to residents, reducing environmental impact and dependence on a vulnerable fossil-fuel based food supply system.



Annual Food Consumption: Pounds Per Capita 600


500 428

400 300

280 200



100 0


32 Meat






Table 7. The average American consumes 1,728 pounds of food per year, broken down into these six categories.

National Food Consumption The USDA reports that, since 1957, the individual average consumption of calories has increased by 800 per day, reaching an average of 2,700 calories per person per day in 2000. The 24.5 percent increase, or 530 calories, from 1970 can be attributed to an increase in the consumption of refined grains, fats and oils, added sugars, fruit and vegetables, meats and nuts, and dairy. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 62 percent of adult Americans were overweight in 2000, up from 46 percent in 1980. The food consumption graph above, based on the USDA’s Economic Research Service, gives a breakdown of the weight consumed per person per year for meat, vegetables, fruit, grain, dairy, and eggs (Table 7). 2002 figures show that, in the six categories represented, the amount of food consumed totaled 1,728 pounds per person per year.

Though food consumption data specifically for Shelburne Falls has yet to be collected, general information from national statistics can be extrapolated and applied broadly to the village. Knowing the types of food being eaten and the quantity in each of the general categories could assist in planning what kind of food should be produced locally to meet the dietary needs of the residents. However, questions are raised when looking to broad national data for guidance. How might the diet of Shelburne Falls differ from that of the rest of the United States? Though meat and dairy are such a large percentage of the food being consumed nationally, how may dietary needs of vegetarians and vegans affect planning for a local food system? What impact might different diets have on land use and food production? In the implementation of the Food Security Plan, nutritional information specific to the population in Shelburne Falls will need to be considered in relation to questions such as these.


Estimated Land Requirements One of the main questions this report is meant to answer is “Could enough food be produced to support the needs of the residents of Shelburne Falls?” The answer depends on the type of diet, whether it is meat-based or is largely vegetarian. In this section, an academic analysis for New York State and a real life situation in southern California are examined, to learn how the question posed above might be answered. The amount of land that would be required to produce a range of diets was the subject of research led by Christian J. Peters, a postdoctoral associate at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The research involved comparing forty-two diets with the same number of calories and a core of grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, but with varying amounts of meat (from none to 13.4 ounces daily) and fat (from 20 to 45 percent of calories) to determine each diet’s “agricultural land footprint” given the climate and growing conditions of New York State. Peters’ model assumes only conventional farming methods. The potential human carrying capacity of New York State was then derived based on recent estimates of available agricultural land. At one end of the range, a low-fat vegetarian diet would require 0.44 acre to produce enough food for one person for one year. A diet that includes meat and a greater proportion of fat would take almost fives times as much land —2.12 acres—to feed one person for one year provided that the majority of the livestock feed comes from forages and by-products. Peters determined that a vegetarian diet is not always the most efficient use of land, as growing plants requires higher quality land than is needed for raising animals. Peters concluded that a diet that uses land most appropriate for the undertaking would include no more than 2 ounces (cooked weight) of meat and eggs per day

(Peters et al. 2008). At a very different scale, the Dervaes family of Pasadena, California tracked their own food production and consumption (see case study, p. 77). This family of four consumes a low-fat vegetarian diet and produces up to 90 percent of its own food on 0.10 acre. The Dervaes cultivate their food using permaculture and biointensive methods that maximize the production of nearly every square foot of available land. They grow 6,000 pounds of produce annually to feed themselves and to sell to local restaurants and caterers (Path to Freedom, accessed 2009). The average person in the U.S. consumes approximately 1,728 pounds of food per year (see “National Food Consumption” p. 36). The Dervaes family therefore could provide enough grains, beans and vegetables to feed 3.47 people per year. Stating it another way, it would take 0.03 (3/100) of an acre to feed one person, and 14.7 people could be fed on the same 0.44 acre that Dr. Peters calculates would be needed to feed one person. The two calculations are based on very different circumstances and assumptions. The modeling done by Dr. Peters is for New York State, similar in climate and growing season of western Massachusetts, but on a larger commercial agriculture scale, using conventional farming methods. The small lot size in southern California is similar to the size of the average property in Shelburne Falls. Though Shelburne Falls does not have the year-round growing season of Pasadena, the Dervaes’ biointensive methods could be employed in the village. An average of the two calculations to provide a low-fat vegetarian diet to feed one person in Shelburne Falls likely falls somewhere between 0.03 and 0.44 acre in privately owned backyards. An average of the two would be 0.24 acre, a realistic figure given the climate, length of the growing season, and soils in



Annual and Perennial Plants Plant material provides the largest percentage of most diets and offers vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients as well as fiber. Plants are lower in fat and higher in water than other foods, and plantbased diets are generally healthier for humans. Some of the benefits of planting a garden and eating the produce include:


• Safety: When food is grown at home, the gardener can choose how it is treated, and whether to use chemicals to fertilize plants and combat insect pests. Growers can also choose to grow their food organically, without the use of chemicals. Exposure to pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli are reduced or eliminated when grown in the backyard garden.

• Taste: Fruits and other crops that are allowed to ripen before harvesting have more flavor and taste fresher than crops picked before they are ripe and then shipped long distances. The life cycles of the plants that are grown for food fall into two categories. Annual plants complete their entire life cycle in one season, and perennial plants live and produce for multiple years. Examples of annual plants in this growing zone include zucchini, tomato, potato, pumpkin, and carrot. Perennial plants include apple and walnut trees, raspberries, grapes, asparagus, and rhubarb. Less work is involved in maintaining perennial plants than for annuals as there is no need to replant every year. Planting both annuals and perennials will provide a wide variety of food and dining satisfaction. Appendix A contains tables that detail the ripening times for both annual and perennial crops.

• Community building: Gardening brings neighbors together to discuss gardening methods, problems, and their solutions. • Eating in season: Learning what is ripe and when is educational for both children and adults as they learn natural seasonal cycles. • Cost savings: Once the initial costs for establishing a garden are met, growing food at home is less expensive. • Nutrition: Donald Davis, a biochemist at the University of Texas reports that commercially grown crops, which are harvested before they are mature, manufacture fewer nutrients and are less nutritious than the locally grown varieties of the same crops that are allowed to mature before being picked (Davis et al. 2004).

Photo courtesy of Fiona Dunbar


animals require varying amounts of care and attention, and extensive research and consideration should occur before deciding to raise livestock to ensure that they will be well cared for. There are a number of questions to consider when deciding to raise livestock, particularly in a backyard setting: What are all of the living requirements of this animal, and can you provide them for the duration of its life? How much space does the animal require for shelter? Photos courtesy of Fiona Dunbar

Where can it roam? Are there predators and what protective measures need to be made for the safety of the livestock? What food, nutrients, and other materials need to be provided?

Livestock and Poultry An important source of protein, fat, and nutrients in a local food system is livestock and poultry. Some animals are raised for the food they supply during their lives, such as milk and eggs, while others are raised solely for meat. Livestock provides other beneficial services as well. Manure from animals can be used in compost, and is thus a valuable source of fertilizer for use in gardens. Some animals like chickens, ducks, and pigs eat human food scraps that might otherwise go to waste. Others graze on grass and can reduce the need to mow. Poultry will eat garden insect pests. Body heat generated by animals in coops or hutches can be used to warm greenhouses when the structures are built to suit this dual purpose. Raising animals should only be considered if they are assured sufficient space and care (Table 8). Similar to humans, all livestock require food, water, shelter, and space to roam. Different

How much care do the animals require, and who will care for them? Is the animal solitary or is it social? Do the animals make noise or produce odors, and how will that affect neighbors? Will pests be attracted by the livestock, their living space, or their food, and how can pests be discouraged? Are the livestock susceptible to disease or illness? Are there zoning bylaws or other legal restrictions that limit what kind or how many animals can be raised?



Large, noisy, or odorous animals may be inappropriate in the village of Shelburne Falls, which is fairly densely developed and just 1,255 acres in size. Mid-sized animals such as goats, sheep, and pigs could be kept in certain parts of the village in small numbers. Due to spatial restrictions in the village, it may be most practical to raise poultry (chickens, turkeys, and ducks) and rabbits here. One important caveat of raising poultry for the purpose of collecting eggs for human consumption is taking precautions against lead poisoning. Birds must scratch and bathe in dust and soil and, according to the University of Illinois Extension and others, if backyard soils are contaminated by lead, it will build up over time in the eggs produced by the poultry. A major consideration in determining whether keeping livestock or poultry is a viable strategy within the context of this Food Security Plan is whether the inputs (food, water, resources, energy, materials) to raise and support the animals actually balance the outputs the livestock provides, in terms of nutritive or caloric energy. If this is to be a largely local system, the food that supports the animals must be produced locally as well, which could interfere with producing enough for the human population. There are other



sources of protein such as nuts and beans that could be produced in the village that may require fewer inputs than does raising animals. It will be necessary to produce enough protein to meet the nutritional needs of the residents, and protein may need to come in a variety of forms. ANIMAL SPACE PER PRODUCTS ANIMAL CHICKEN 3-4 ft2 Eggs, meat, feathers 2 DUCK 10 ft Eggs, meat, feathers 2 TURKEY 6 ft Eggs, meat, feathers 2 RABBIT 6 ft Meat, pelts 2 PIG 8 ft Meat 2 SHEEP 8-30 ft depending Milk, Meat, wool products on age and sex GOAT 12 ft2 for single goat; Milk, Meat 6 ft2 per animal if more than 1 COW Several acres Milk, Meat Table 8. Spacial requirements for keeping livestock and poultry, and the products the animals supply humans.

Start a worm bin! Vermiculture! What you will need: Red worms: 1 pound for every ½ pound of daily food scraps A box or bin with a secure lid Bedding: shredded newspaper or shredded cardboard and a small amount of soil

What you need to know: Red worms will eat your fruit and vegetable scraps and recycle them into new, fertile soil Worms need to live in temperatures above 50°F, with the ideal temperature range of 55° to 77°F To start a worm bin, add a small amount of moist soil and several inches of damp (but not wet) bedding material Add small amounts of food scraps by burying them in pockets in the bedding material A great resource: Worms Eat My Garbage: How to Set Up and Maintain a Worm Composting System by Mary Appelhof See for easy instructions on getting started




The demographics and nutrition data outlined in the previous sections allow us to make calculations to estimate the dietary requirements of the residents of Shelburne Falls and the amount of land needed to produce enough food to meet those requirements. Using Christian J. Peters' model in New York State, in which a low-fat vegetarian diet takes 0.44 acre to feed an individual, 858.44 acres would be needed to feed the 1,951 residents of Shelburne Falls (0.44 acre x 1,951 people) and a diet heavier in meat and fat consumption would take 4,136.12 acres (2.12 acres x 1,951 people). In contrast, using the Dervaes' model in Southern California, in which an individual eating a low-fat vegetarian diet requires 0.03 acre, the Shelburne Falls population could be supported on less than 60 acres. This information, along with site analysis and inventory in the following section, will be used to determine just how much land is available for food production and if the food supply can be met for the residents in Shelburne Falls. Photo courtesy of Alex Hoffmeier


Understanding the Landscape Inventory and Analysis


LEGEND Fire & Water District Boundary Deerfield River Slopes >15% Forested



Summary of Shelburne Falls Fire and Water District natural features.

The process of growing food has many benefits, one of which is connecting humans to their surrounding landscape by increasing their awareness of natural processes and the surrounding environment. Analyzing site conditions that may affect food production by imposing limitations or providing opportunities is an important first step to implementing the Food Security Plan; soils, water and hydrology, climate, vegetation, slope, solar aspect, and land use should all be considered. What type of natural resources and elements in the landscape are currently present that can be used immediately for food production? What obstacles in the form of natural or man-made features might present challenges to growing food in the village? Will any of these elements have to be altered or eliminated to make growing conditions more suitable? Analyzing specific physical site characteristics will help answer these questions and dictate the type and quantity of crops appropriate for the village of Shelburne Falls.




Healthy soils are of great importance for food production. There are several measures used to assess soil: texture, structure, consistence, color, nutrient levels, and permeability. Soils best-suited for agriculture and gardening are called loams and, according to permaculture designer Dave Jacke, are composed of “an even mix of particle sizes and… [are] well-drained yet moist, fertile yet strong, airy and light yet solid” (Edible Forest Gardens, p. 217). In this region, soils have formed in the outwash of sand, gravel, and rock from Glacial Lake Hitchcock, which dates back 15,000 years. Soils found in a particular area are affected by their parent material, topography (i.e., where in the landscape the soil occurs), climate, organisms inhabiting the soils, and time.

deposited from glacial ice. That these soils are classified as fine sandy loam means their composition is fairly well balanced with a slightly higher proportion of fine sands to silt and clay. The Westminster-Colrain-Buckland association soils are generally found in forested and rocky areas, and on rolling to steep hills and narrow valleys along fast-flowing streams. The Westminster soils are generally shallow, are found on steep slopes, and have many outcrops and ledges. The Colrain soils are deep, well-drained, and found on gentler slopes. The Buckland soils are moderately well-drained with a hard layer in the subsoil.

SOIL TYPES IN SHELBURNE FALLS According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service Soil Survey: Franklin County, Massachusetts (1967), there are two primary types of soil in the Shelburne Falls Fire and Water District focus area (Figure 9). It is important to note that buildings and other infrastructure, agriculture, vehicular use, and other human impacts in the village of Shelburne Falls may have altered the condition of soils found there, particularly nutrient and contaminant levels. Different soil conditions throughout the village will impact the potential for growing food, where certain soil conditions are better suited to agriculture in general, or to certain crops specifically. That said, the two main soil types found here are:

1. Westminster-Colrain-Buckland association These soils are well-drained to moderately well-drained which means that water is readily removed and soils do not remain wet for long. Soils in this association range from shallow to deep and have formed in fine sandy loam glacial till, the material

Figure 9. Map shows two main soil associations in Shelburne Falls: WestminsterColrain-Buckland in blue, and Merrimac-Ondawa in green. U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service Soil Survey: Franklin County, Massachusetts.


2. Merrimac-Ondawa association This soil association is found on terraces and floodplains in narrow, steep-sided valleys along the major, fast-flowing streams. These soils develop atop deep glacial deposits of sand and gravel. The Merrimac and Ondawa soils are well-drained to somewhat excessively well-drained, which is typical of sandy soils, and could thus require greater irrigation for agriculture where soils retain water only briefly before it drains away. The Soil Survey provides little information as to the suitability of the soil types in Shelburne Falls for agriculture. At the time of the Soil Survey in 1967, dairy farms and orchards were the primary form of agriculture in the area, with limited production of maple products. This minimal information provides few details to forecast the success of growing crops in Shelburne Falls, so testing and amending soil may be necessary where fruits and vegetables are grown.

LEAD AND OTHER CONTAMINANTS Lead contamination in soils should be of concern to all citizens, not solely those who grow edibles in their gardens. Lead contamination may occur for a variety of reasons, the most common being the chipping and weathering of lead-based paint from older buildings (the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned paint containing more than 600ppm of lead in 1978) and the former use of lead in gasoline and in certain insecticides used in fruit orchards. While lead is now known to be hazardous to human health and has thus been banned from widespread use, it persists in soils for many hundreds of years and remains a concern. Lead in soils becomes a health risk when ingested (including fruit and vegetables that may have accumulated lead while growing) or when breathed in as dust. Lead levels are measured in parts per million (ppm) and lead is naturally present in soils in the range of 15 to 40ppm, according to the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory. Lead is frequently found in more concentrated levels nearer to buildings with a history of lead-based

Plastic bag(s) Soil sample(s) from your yard Envelope and form

What you need to know: Contact your local soil testing facility to find out the steps to having your soil tested (in western Massachusetts, see http://www. Collect soil samples from your yard, as instructed, and mail them to the soil testing facility along with any required fees The soil testing facility will return to you a report of your soil samples, including pH, nutrient, and lead levels. They may also provide information on how to improve the quality of your soil If contaminants such as lead are found in your soil, remediation may be required before you can safely grow edible plants.


Get your soil tested! What you need:




paint use, historically heavy vehicular traffic or parking areas, and former agricultural areas where lead-based pesticides were once used. There is no universal classification system, but the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory classifies lead levels in the following manner: Low less than 500ppm Medium 500-1000ppm High 1000-3000ppm Very High greater than 3000ppm *Levels above 300ppm are considered unsafe for humans, with children and pregnant women being primarily at risk and levels above 1000ppm may represent a hazardous waste situation Other common soil contaminants are petroleum hydrocarbons, pesticides, solvents, arsenic, dioxin, and other heavy metals.

LOW LEAD LEVELS (0-500ppm): 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 (500-1000ppm): 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 (1000-3000ppm): 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 3000ppm): 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.

Table 9. Recommendations if lead is found in soils. University of Massachusetts-Amherst Soil and

IDENTIFYING CONTAMINANTS It is recommended that all households and food growers have their soil tested. Tests are inexpensive and can detail soil pH, nutrients, minerals, and heavy metal levels. Many state university extensions perform soil tests for the public and include recommendations for soil care specific to the customer’s growing practices. Locally, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences evaluates soil samples at their Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory. Tests of plant tissues can also be performed to assess whether, and to what degree, lead has accumulated in the edible portion of a plant. Where lead is found in soils, it is recom-

mended that preference be giving to growing plants whose fruits are the portion consumed, rather than the roots, stems, or leaves, because lead accumulation in fruits is negligible (University of Massachusetts-Amherst). Depending on the variety of contaminants found in soils, remediation varies in techniques and success. Little can be done to remove lead from soils, and University of Massachusetts-Amherst provides recommendations if lead is found (Table 9).


Water Resources Producing food requires reliable and regular water supply. The availability of water, from surface sources or household supplies, is examined in this section, along with the implications for food production. The village of Shelburne Falls is divided by the Deerfield River near its Regional view of the confluence with the Connecticut River in Deerfield River watershed Greenfield, Massachusetts. The Deerfield River flows about 1,100 cubic feet per second (cfs) during the winter months, 1,800 cfs during spring flows, and 500 cfs during the months of July, August, and September (USGS 2009). The main household water supply for Shelburne Falls comes from two wells, both located in Colrain, Massachusetts. Each produces 180 gallons per minute, pumping from the wells is alternated so that each has a chance to recharge. The wells reach the water table at 55 feet and 65 feet respectively. According to Water Superintendant Guy Wheeler with the Fire and Water District office, water is stored in two tanks located on either side of the Deerfield River; each holds 500,000 gallons. Shelburne Falls is permitted to pump 83.95 million gallons per year or 230,000 gallons per day. In 2008 the village used 75% of the permitted amount or 172,000 gallons per day. The Deerfield Watershed is considered a “medium-stressed basin� according to Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation-Division of Water Supply Protection. Pumping restrictions may be imposed if a stream flow trigger on the North River were to drop below a predetermined level, or between the dates of May 1 and September 30, or if the state declares a drought advisory. Shelburne Falls has not had a restriction since 1987 (Wheeler 2009).

Food production may increase water use if irrigation is needed. Precipitation in Shelburne Falls is 51.66 inches, evenly distributed over the course of a year (see Table 10, page 49). Most vegetable gardens require about one inch of water per week (UMass Extension). The four or so inches of precipitation that falls each month is sufficient for most annual vegetables; however, there are a few plants such as summer squash and sweet corn that require twice that amount. Melons and winter squash in the ripening stage may produce sweeter fruit with less water. Perennial plants, such as fruit trees and berry bushes, have root systems that extend deeply into the ground, and four inches of rainfall per month is adequate without supplemental irrigation. For both annual vegetables and perennial plants, a layer of organic mulch will help slow evaporation and conserve moisture. During times of drought or when rainfall is late in coming, additional water use may not be possible if pumping restrictions are placed on the household supply. The village currently uses three quarters of its permitted amount and any additional water pumping would also add additional pressure to the water supply and treatment systems. Other sources of water may be needed to implement food production, such as rainwater harvesting and storage methods that retain rainfall for landscape The Deerfield River watershed drains use or graywater systems that southwest VT and northwest MA use water that would otherwise go down the drains. Drawing water from the Deerfield River is not a likely option as there are strict controls for use of river water; in any case, the river is at its lowest level during the summer months when demands for irrigation would be highest and so would not be a reliable source for water.





Shelburne Falls is in a temperate climate, where winter temperatures plunge below freezing for weeks or months at a time. Tropical crops like bananas, citrus, and coffee are not able to tolerate the freezing winter conditions and are not suitable to Shelburne Falls. There are many other crops, including nut and fruit trees, berry bushes, and annual vegetables, that perform very well in temperate climates. Understanding climate attributes such as the amount and timing of precipitation, the length of the growing season, when frost might be expected to occur, and the number of sunny days, is important to the success of food production. Shelburne Falls is one hundred miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. The climate is characterized by warm summers, cold winters, and ample precipitation. Prevailing winds are from the southwest in summer and the northwest during winter. Climate is influenced more by weather systems crossing the continent than by air moving in from the ocean (NRCS 1969). Shelburne Falls is in USDA hardiness zone 5b. USDA zones are based on the average minimum temperature for the last hundred years. Each zone represents a span of 10 degrees. The distinctions “a” and “b” represent the lowest and highest 5 degrees in each zone, respectively. Areas in Zone 5b have winter temperatures that get as cold as -15° to -20° (U.S. National Arboretum website). The length of the average growing season is 140 days, with the first frost expected around October 1 and the last on May 12. These dates are not certain; often crops planted early are damaged by late spring frosts. Likewise, warm weather may last well into the month of October, allowing frost-sensitive crops to continue to grow. Precipitation in Shelburne Falls is 51.66 inches, evenly distributed throughout the year. The predictable rainfall is an

Elevation: 404 feet above sea level

Average Annual Precipitation: 51.66 inches

Average Number of Sunny Days: 188

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5b

Average Last Frost: May 12

Growing Season: 140 days

Average First Frost: October 1

advantage for growing plants, whether for food or for ornamental purposes (NRCS 1969). A growing season of 140 days is long enough to produce many crops, especially those that have been bred to mature within a short growing season, but it is not enough time to produce other crops without the help of season extenders such as greenhouses and cold frames. Western Massachusetts has been recognized as having a zone 5 climate, but in recent years many plants usually restricted to Zone 6 and above, with warmer average winter temperatures, have been able to grow here. Perennial plants, including many tree species that historically were only found at lower latitudes in the United States, are becoming more common. According to Arborday, the northward movement of USDA hardiness zones is an indicator of climate change. As the climate warms, the growing season in western Massachusetts is getting longer. Precipitation and other climate variables are expected to become less predictable, which will undoubtedly have an effect on the types of crops that can grow in Shelburne Falls. Perhaps bananas and citrus will one day be common Massachusetts crops.


Monthly High and Low Temperatures (Fahrenheit) 90


80 70 60 50 40

Freezing point



20 10 December













Rainfall in Shelburne Falls Month




























Table 10. Shelburne Falls receives approximately four inches of precipitation each month.




Plant a container garden! Whether you have a yard or not, you can plant a container garden. Raising plants in pots or containers, you can garden in places where a traditional garden would be awkward or impossible such as on a porch, deck, balcony, roof, or steps, along a driveway, hanging in baskets, or even inside in a sunny spot. Choose the container size appropriate for the space you have available and pick plants you like that are adapted to the conditions where the containers will be situated. You can recycle just about any container to grow plants, and by using containers, you will have the flexibility to move plants around to suit your needs or extend the growing season. All you need is containers, soil, water, and seeds or seedlings to get started.

Vegetation Existing vegetation composition indicates individual species preferences, which can provide insight into microclimates and growing conditions in specific areas in the village of Shelburne Falls. The Fire and Water District can be broken into three general vegetation areas: the steep wooded hillsides that rise to the east and west, the patchy wooded areas in the flatter river valley, and the riparian vegetation that buffers each side of the Deerfield River. The hot and dry west-facing hillsides include such tree species as bitternut hickory, butternut, white ash, basswood, oak, and sugar maple. The east-facing hillside includes such species as beech, birch, and maple. Change in elevation affects vegetation composition, mainly due to the change in availability of water. Riparian vegetation along the Deerfield River is composed of typical floodplain tree and shrub species including silver maple, sycamore, and Eastern cottonwood.

Throughout the village, trees are sparse. Tree species include a mix of hardwoods and conifers, including Norway maple, sugar maple, shagbark hickory, oak, hemlock, fir, pine, and spruce. For food production, microclimates created by natural features can be taken advantage of in several ways. Wooded areas and small stands of trees can be used for windbreaks and can influence the climate below their canopy, therefore dictating certain agricultural activities. Generally, the combination of shade cast by deciduous trees and the mulch from their fallen leaves creates a cool and moist understory environment. A stand of coniferous trees, on the other hand, creates a wind block, and due to continual dense shading, less understory vegetation is present (Jorgensen 1971). In villages such as Shelburne Falls people can take advantage of natural conditions created by existing vegetation for growing food. Not all crops need or want full sunlight, making an urban environment a perfect place for diverse food production, For example, kale, spinach, and chard prefer cooler temperatures






Open Land

Developed with Sparse Vegetation

Pitch pines can grow in hot, dry conditions and tolerate poor soil.



0.8 Miles

and tolerate less sunlight than plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. Large trees can be used for shading crops that require cooler conditions; medium-sized hedgerows can be used for wind blocks. Vegetation and existing structures can enhance growing conditions in urban areas by creating microclimates. For example, mushroom production requires shady moist conditions; therefore neighborhoods with a higher density of vegetation would be better suited for mushroom production. Bee hives should be sited in sunny areas and be well-protected from wind. One of the major benefits of producing food in a densely settled area is the abundance of protected growing areas. Unlike growing crops in large open fields where natural elements such as wind can have a negative impact on production, vegetation and built structures help to buffer against severe weather.

Vegetation of the Fire and Water District



Sugar maples have beautiful form and offer vibrant colors in the fall and plentiful sap for sugaring in the spring.


Red oak grow to be very large, offering lots of shade.

Norway Spruce have a distinct shape and are good wind blocks and provide year-round shade.

A cedar hedgerow can be used as a visual screen and a wind block.



Topographical map of Shelburne Falls, section view (below) is taken from A - A’

Severity of slopes will help determine the agricultural techniques and plant selection used in the village. Slope is a measure of incline represented in percentage or degrees and can be associated with soil development and drainage in natural ecosystems. Exposed bedrock on a slope greater than about 66 percent (sixty degrees) is considered a cliff and soil development is virtually non-existent. Furthermore, drainage is greater on steeper slopes, creating dry conditions. Soils are more likely to develop on slopes less than 66 percent and therefore plant communities can exist. Likewise, areas with less steep slopes are more likely to retain water (Thompson and Sorenson 2000). Conditions for crop production are better in relatively flat areas (0-5%) due to soil conditions, but more importantly, crops grown on less steep slopes are easier for the grower to maintain and harvest. Furthermore, cultivating crops in areas with steep slopes (above 15%), especially when disturbing the soil for planting, increases the risk of erosion. However, areas with steep slopes should not be considered unproductive or incapable of growing crops. Steep areas can be used for growing perennials and crops


A West Mountain 1,001’

Route Deerfield Route River 112 112

BucklandRoute Shelburne 112 Elementary School

Massamett Mountain Lookout 1,588’, Shelburne State Forest

Section View of Shelburne Falls looking north, West Mountain (1,001 feet) is to the west, Massamett Mountain (1,588 feet) is to the east.




that require less maintenance. Also, techniques such as terracing can be used to create flat growing conditions and capture water on steep slopes. There are certain advantages and disadvantages to where food production is sited in relation to a slope. For instance, at the bottom of a slope, especially in valleys, soils are generally more fertile and better suited to hold moisture, though the success of growing crops at the bottom of a slope may be affected by poor air circulation, drainage problems, and the threat of frost as cold air moves down a hill. When growing higher on a slope, benefits include good air circulation and light exposure, and a lower threat of cold air sinks. However, exposure to harsh winds, lack of fertile soil, and readily draining soils may pose difficulties. Locating food crops on mid-slope can take advantage of more moderate conditions. At mid-slope, water that is running downhill can be captured and nighttime temperatures are generally warmer due to cold air moving down. A downside to growing crops on mid-slope is an increased chance of erosion. These are general characteristics of slope position. Every site will be different due to specific characteristics and variables. Using GIS data, the slopes for the Fire and Water District are calculated and shown on Figure 10 From the slope map we see that Shelburne Falls and the Fire and Water District sit in a north-south river valley between two steep hills that rise to the east and west. Most of the focus area has slopes of 0-15%. There is consistently flatter land to the east side of the river in the residential area to the north of Bridge Street LEGEND where slopes are between 0-5%. This area could possibly Road be more suitable for crops that require soil tillage for Water cultivation such as annual row crop vegetables, in order to minimize erosion. To the west of the river slopes are 0-5% more varied, generally ranging from 0-15%. Slopes may 5-10% influence choices in a diverse array of food production techniques that can take place throughout the village. 10-15%










Bridge Street




1.0 Miles

Figure 10. Map showing the distribution of slopes broken into 0-5%, 5-10%, 10-15%, and 15-30%. Office of Geographic and Environmental Information (MassGIS), Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs



Solar Aspect Legend Road

Solar aspect is the orientation of a slope in relation to the cardinal points, north, south, east, and west. It can influence microclimate, vegetation, and soils. Generally, slopes that face south and west are hotter and drier whereas slopes facing east and north are cooler and moister (Thompson and Sorenson 2000). Crop suitability for the Fire and Water District will vary in part due to solar aspect. Land with southerly exposure will generally be favorable, though factors such as shading from trees and buildings will need to be considered. Not all crops prefer a southerly aspect. Generally, crops that do better in cooler, moister conditions will be better suited for non-southerly aspects. Certain fruit trees, such as peaches and apricots, for example, can be grown on a slightly north-facing slope in order to prevent an early flush of flowers, which can subsequently be killed by late frosts. East slopes are less severe in term of late day sun and dry conditions. Identifying the areas that have less favorable aspect for typical growing practices will help determine what type of alternative crops can be grown. Figure 11 shows that solar aspect is varied throughout the Fire and Water District with a predominance of east- and west-facing slopes. To the west of the river, an easterly aspect is dominant; crops that need cooler LEGEND and moister conditions may thrive here. To the Road east of the river, the land has a westerly aspect, so crops that prefer warmer and drier conditions are Water better suited here. Small patches of north- and North south-oriented land is mixed throughout the Fire and Water District; conditions specific to each area East will determine the planting options.



Water North East South West








Figure 11. Map showing solar aspect of the cardinal points; north, south, east, and west. Office of Geographic and Environmental Information (MassGIS), Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs




Land use

Public Private/Residential Commercial/Industrial


The development in Shelburne Falls Fire and Water District is predominantly residential, with the greatest density of the village’s approximately eight hundred homes nearest the downtown corridor. Residential lots range in size from approximately 0.15 to 0.50 acre, with a few that are significantly larger. The downtown consists of a short portion of State Street on the Buckland side and Bridge Street on the Shelburne side of the Deerfield River, with the famous pedestrian Bridge of Flowers linking the two. Once the driving force of the Shelburne Falls economy, industrial business has shrunk to just two companies: Mayhew Steel Products Inc. and Lamson and Goodnow Manufacturing Company. Public land in the village is also minimal with just a few parks: a small picnic area along the river on Conway Road, Baptist Lot Park (where the summer farmer’s market currently takes place), Veteran’s Memorial Park, and the former Arms Academy school fields. The remaining public land comprises the Bridge of Flowers, the Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School, the Shelburne Public Library, Buckland and Shelburne town, police, and post offices, and the Massachusetts state police office. Using MassGIS maps to determine the amount of impervious surface (surfaces in the landscape that cannot absorb rainfall, such as rooftops, roads, sidewalks, and pavement) and the forested areas in the village, an approximate calculation can be made of the remaining percentage of land available for agriculture. Of the entire Fire and Water District, 14 percent is impervious and another 44 percent is forested. The Deerfield River accounts for approximately another seven percent, leaving a rough estimate of thirty-five percent arable land, or 439.5 of the Fire and Water District’s 1,255 acres. Little of this remaining thirty-five percent is entirely clear of trees and vegetation (Figure 12); in fact, the elementary school

Deerfield River

Map of Fire and Water District showing land ownership by the public, and by private residential, and commercial and industrial.


LEGEND Potentially arable land

represents the only significant piece of clear, sunny, and relatively flat land in the village. The school sits on a 16.56-acre property, the vast majority of which, aside from the two main school buildings, is mown fields. Due to its favorable conditions, the school site represents an obvious location for agriculture, such as a community garden, of which there are none presently in Shelburne Falls, or a school garden, whose use could be integrated into school curriculum. While there is little open land, there are areas like the school grounds and public parks that have potential for food production and could be repurposed for growing, processing, or storing food.

Photo courtesy of Michael Blacketer

Land that restricts agricultural use: River, Infrastructure, Buildings, Pavement


Figure 12. Shows all land theoretically available for food production within the Fire and Water District in black, where white is all impervious surfaces and the Deerfield River




Photo courtesy of Suzanne Rhodes

Photo courtesy of Kim Klein

Start composting today! What you will need: A bin, barrel, or space for a pile at least 1 cubic yard in size Your bin should allow for air to flow through holes, mesh wire, or slats in the structure If you are building your own, then you will need materials to create the structure of your choice (for explicit building guidelines, see

What you need to know: Add food waste (exceptions: oily food, fatty materials, meat, bones), garden clippings, straw, manure (from herbivores only) Some municipalities offer rebates on compost barrels; contact your town office for details Compost that is turned periodically is ready for use in the garden sooner (after 1-6 months) than is compost that is simply held in a bin or pile (6-12 months).


1,255 acres

439.5 acres

The area within the Shelburne Falls Fire and Water District is 1,255 acres. After subtracting rooftops, roads, sidewalks, and other impervious surfaces, and open water there remain 439.5 acres that could potentially be used for food production.


59 LEGEND Fields and farmland

Creating a local food system means directing crop production to be in tune with the surrounding landscape. Relying on flat fertile fields thousands of miles away to provide food for communities such as Shelburne Falls is not viable in the long-term. Growing large expanses of one or two crops locally in a conventional manner is also not an option for the village. Site characteristics including the lack of flat open space, varied slopes, inconsistent soils, small fragmented growing plots, widespread overstory vegetation, and irregular solar aspects will dictate production methods in Shelburne Falls. An array of food crops and growing techniques must be employed, taking advantage of the diverse physical conditions to provide an assortment of food.

Fire and Water District

An aerial map shows a significant amount of farmland and fields immediately outside the Fire and Water District, which are an extremely important resource for a future localized food system. Image MassGIS, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, EOEA. Google Earth, accessed February 2009.


Learning by Example Case Studies


5 3









Nuestras RaĂ­ces, Holyoke, Massachusetts


Decentralized Urban Farms, California, Oregon, Washington


Healthy City, Burlington, Vermont


An Agricultural Revolution, Cuba

5 SPIN Farming, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan/Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 6

Neighborhoods Garden Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


War Gardens, United States


Path to Freedom, Pasadena, California


The Town of Hardwick, , Vermont

The following case studies were chosen for their relevance to the Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan. Each one is a real life example of how other communities address issues of food availability, nutrition, food safety, employment, community organization, high transportation costs, fragile connections to food sources and, in the case of Cuba, the very survival of its inhabitants. As residents in Shelburne Falls strive to create a local food system and build resilience in their community, these case studies may provide guidance, inspiration, and information to develop programs of their own.



Nuestras Raices Holyoke, Massachusetts


Born out of La Finquita community garden in South Holyoke, Massachusetts, in 1992, Nuestras Raíces is a vibrant and energized organization that strives to address environmental, economic development, and food security issues. Designed by and for a large population of Puerto Rican immigrants living in Holyoke, Nuestras Raíces uses urban agriculture to “promote community development because it is a way for the residents of downtown Holyoke to maintain a connection to their culture while putting down roots in their new home” (Nuestras Raíces 2009). This grass-roots organization uses many facets of urban agriculture – gardening, food production and processing, eating, and cultural celebrations – to support economic, human, and community development. Since its inception, Nuestras Raíces has burgeoned to now include eight projects:

Community Gardens Nuestras Raíces currently manages eight community gardens and two youth gardens in Holyoke. Located in formerly abandoned lots, these gardens improve the local environment, visually and physically, and provide a place for residents of all ages to come together to learn from and work with one another. Dangerous, blighted lots are transformed into safe and flourishing places for communities to gather. Additionally, people are eating healthier, fresher foods thanks to the garden produce and increased knowledge about nutrition. According to the Nuestras Raíces website, there are over one hundred families and one homeless shelter participating in community gardening, and on average,

Photo by permission of Nuestras Raíces

families are producing over $1,000 of organic produce per year, for consumption at home or for sales and additional income.

Tierra de Oportunidades Farm Tierra de Oportunidades Farm, located on the Connecticut River, includes a beginning farmer training project, a new business incubator, an environmental conservation and stewardship project, a youth development initiative, and a cultural development project. The farm already includes fifteen new start-up farms, nature trails, an outdoor stage, and a farm stand, with plans in store for a youth-run petting zoo, a horse stable, a store and gift shop, and a restaurant. Tierra de Oportunidades Farm provides Nuestras Raíces a place for cultural, environmental, educational, and communitybuilding activities in addition to outdoor recreation, stewardship, and nature appreciation.

CuentaConmigo Youth Leadership Youth leaders in the CuentaConmigo (CountOnMe) program are encouraged to be positive leaders in their community by participating in gardening and garden design, mural design and painting, video expression, and cultural activities. They are trained to teach other youth and host workshops and tours at the Tierra de Oportunidades farm.


Economic Development Nuestras Raíces works with residents to develop businesses and jobs, thus promoting economic development by and for the people of Holyoke. A variety of initiatives have been implemented, including a communal food processing kitchen, farmers’ markets, a restaurant and bakery, and a farmer training project, to name a few. Using locally produced food and employing and training local residents, the citizens of Holyoke benefit from these community enterprises.

Women’s Leadership Group Nuestras Raíces supports a group of women who meet regularly to develop business and leadership skills, and learn to be active in community issues.

watershed at the Tierra de Oportunidades farm site, creating nature trails with bilingual signs, and restoring riparian corridors there along the Connecticut River.

Nuestras Raíces Institute The Institute serves to train a new generation of urban agriculture and environmental leaders by sharing their knowledge and successes with other communities and organizations through tours, training programs, workshops, and conferences.

RootsUp Green Jobs Program Partnering with other public and private agencies, Nuestras Raíces’ RootsUp Program trains young adults for jobs in the green industry, including the fields of solar hot water systems installation, energy audits and efficiency, sustainable landscaping, and agriculture.

Environmental Justice Project


Funded by the Environmental Protection Agency’s CARE Program, Nuestras Raíces is working with partners to organize a Holyoke-based Environmental Health Coalition that will identify environmental health risks in the community and develop ways to address those risks. A team of youth is working to learn more about the environmental problems facing residents by researching the presence of pollutants, their origins, and their effects in Holyoke, as well as hearing concerns from and sharing information with residents. The youth are also learning about the flora, fauna, soil, and

Photo by permission of Nuestras Raíces




Nuestras Raíces is a successful organization that builds upon community knowledge and strives for improved environmental, social, and economic conditions in Holyoke. Altered to appropriately fit the local social structure, economy, and needs of residents, any one of the initiatives of Nuestras Raíces could be recreated in Shelburne Falls, with similar benefits of a strengthened and supportive community of youth and adults; nutritious, healthy, and organic food; environmental and community planning and stewardship; economic development. The numerous small, flourishing community gardens and Tierra de Oportunidades Farm in Holyoke exemplify several approaches for growing food, and prove that food can be produced successfully in a developed area in this region of Massachusetts. Like Nuestras Raíces in Holyoke, residents of Shelburne Falls might find that community gardens are a sensible starting place for growing food locally. Such gardens allow people to share their knowledge and their energy about gardening and food, which might spawn new conversations and projects geared towards and around creating a local food system. Producing food in Shelburne Falls may generate opportunities for the development of complementary activities such as youth programs and small business ventures as it did at Nuestras Raíces.

Decentralized Urban Farm California, Oregon, Washington • MYFARM, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA • YOUR BACKYARD FARMER, PORTLAND, OREGON • SEATTLE URBAN FARM COMPANY, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON These businesses design and build vegetable gardens in residences throughout their cities. Clients pay for the construction of their garden as well as weekly maintenance and the delivery of their own home-grown produce right to their doorstep. They combine a landscape maintenance company model intertwined with the concept of community supported agriculture. In community supported agriculture (CSA), individuals pledge to support a farm operation, and farmers are able to sell directly (and usually locally) to consumers. Your Backyard Farmer in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle Urban Farm Company operate similarly. Both these small businesses, with just a few employees, consult on, design, and install ready-to-go vegetable gardens in the backyards of city residents. Utilizing organic growing techniques, the urban farmers are able to provide healthy, fresh produce to customers free of herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals. Weekly garden maintenance includes weeding, irrigating, planting, and harvesting. Food travels no more than a few feet between where it is grown and where it is eaten, and even those people who do not have the time or interest to maintain their own vegetable gardens are provided a way to grow vegetables at home. The Seattle Urban Farm Company also helps clients to establish backyard chicken coops so that residents can raise chickens and collect eggs.


The decentralized urban farm’s RELEVANCE TO SHELBURNE FALLS

Photo by permission of Seattle Urban Farm Company

These three business practices provide a viable model for the village of Shelburne Falls in which citizens who are unable to grow their own produce but have arable land available might be able to support some of their food needs while also providing employment for local and capable gardeners and in-town farmers. This would create a local, sustainable, and thus more secure food system during the growing season in Shelburne Falls.

In San Francisco, MyFarm runs on a similar model but MyFarm has gone one step further in realizing a decentralized CSA urban farm. Clients with larger backyard plots can offer up a portion of the produce they grow in exchange for a reduced maintenance fee. This produce is then available for CSA members who have no garden, thereby allowing them access to very local produce as well. San Francisco is a city of many microclimates, so MyFarm also redistributes produce to clients from gardens other than their own if they live where it is too cold for tomatoes, or too hot for kale, for instance. The weekly maintenance fee and subsequent harvest delivery comes at a cost comparable to a weekly CSA box coming from farms outside the city, but with the knowledge that far less energy and fuel was expended to transport it. Photo by permission of Seattle Urban Farm Company



Healthy City Burlington, Vermont


Since 1988, the Intervale Center in Burlington, Vermont, has been working towards creating a sustainable local food system. The Intervale Center is a non-profit organization that supports and encourages organic food production, processing, and distribution; rents parcels of fertile land to small start-up farmers; and enhances and restores the environment, all in an effort to create a local and sustainable food system. One vital program at the Intervale Center is Healthy City, its youth and food security program. Healthy City’s programs recognize the need to link youth, schools, and low-income families to fresh produce and improved nutrition. Healthy City serves to educate local at-risk teenagers ages 13-16 in nutrition, farming and practical job and life skills and to address the needs of low-income families for healthy, fresh food. Healthy City’s goals are: • To provide an alternative learning environment, skills training and paid summer work for area youth; • To increase reliable access to locally produced fresh food, especially in schools and under-served populations in Burlington, Vermont; • To foster connections between youth, the land and the community (Healthy City).

Photo by permission of Healthy City

Healthy City aims to meet these goals through three initiatives: the Healthy City Youth Farm, the Gleaning Project, and the Burlington School Food Project. The Healthy City Youth Farm is an eight-week summer program for twenty-five teenagers. The youth earn a stipend as they spend twenty hours each week working on the farm, harvesting and marketing produce, cooking, and attending classes and field trips. Classes and workshops cover a variety of topics from nutrition and sustainable agriculture to business skills, and field trips expose the teens to local markets, farms, and social service agencies. The youth are mentored in learning life skills, teamwork, and responsibility along with sustainable agriculture and nutrition. An integral part of the Healthy City program is providing fresh, healthy produce to local citizens, especially low-income families for whom acquiring produce can be difficult. The Healthy


City Gleaning Project is able to do just this thanks to the efforts of youth and adult volunteers who visit nearby farms to collect excess produce. The food gleaned is then distributed to a local food pantry and over a dozen other non-profit agencies devoted to families in need. Healthy City works in collaboration with a number of other organizations to bring fresh produce to school cafeterias through the Burlington School Food Project. Local farms partner with these organizations to provide kids with fresh produce in their school lunches as well as field trips designed for hands-on agricultural education.

Healthy City’s RELEVANCE TO SHELBURNE FALLS All three initiatives that make up the Healthy City program at the Intervale Center might act as viable models for the village of Shelburne Falls as citizens formulate ways to attain a localized and sustainable food system. In all of these models, there is the challenge and consideration of food provisions for the winter months (Healthy City faces the same challenge in nearby Vermont), which is particularly relevant when planning to provide fresh produce to local schools, which are not in session for a good portion of the growing season. Using Healthy City’s Gleaning Project and the Burlington School Food Project as guides, Shelburne Falls might look beyond the bounds of the Fire and Water District focus area to collaborate with nearby farms and farmers to provide food sources for the village schools and low-income citizens. Remaining within the Fire and Water District focus area, the Healthy City Youth Farm is a promising model for Shelburne

Photos by permission of Healthy City

Falls. While the village may not have the available use of farmland in the way that the Healthy City Youth Farm does at the Intervale Center, there is significant open space immediately surrounding the village schools that could be converted to farmland. The proximity of the farming area might encourage youth participation and interest, as well as integration with school studies. A youth farm program could incorporate an intensive summer participation program similar to that of Healthy City, but could go further to incorporate activity at either end of the school year with the start and finish of the growing season, thus prolonging the opportunities for youth to participate in the program and learn from the land as well as increasing the amount of food yielded. School teachers could utilize the farm and garden for teaching students science, ecology, and multidisciplinary studies as a part of their curriculum, thus educating youth about all facets of nature, farming, nutrition, and the importance of local and sustainable food sources.



An Agricultural Revolution Cuba


Cuba’s agricultural system and the revolution that it underwent in the early 1990s serves as an incredibly valuable lesson to countries relying on conventional agriculture and the global food system. This agricultural revolution was thrust upon Cuba beginning in 1989 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Resources quickly became unavailable and almost immediately Cuba saw an 80 percent reduction in available fertilizers and pesticides, and more than a 50 percent drop in petroleum-based fuels (Rosset 2000). Before the economic crash, Cuba’s agricultural system was much like that of developed countries such as the United States. The industrial agriculture system was dependent on imported agrichemicals and grew mostly monocrops of sugarcane and pineapple, to be processed and exported (Funes-Monzote, accessed 2009). Cuba’s dependence on outside resources did not stop at fuel, chemicals, and machinery, but also included food. Imports of food, including wheat and grain, were reduced by more than 50 percent and by the early 1990s, the daily caloric and protein intake by Cuban citizens had dropped by 30 percent compared to levels in the early 1980s (Oppenheim 2001). These events set the stage for an agricultural revolution through necessity, not choice. What followed in Cuba in the years after the Soviet collapse was the deconstruction of the conventional agriculture system and a shift to low-input, locally and regionally based organic food production. The Cuban government turned to the already well-established agricultural scientific community as their main resource to replace chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, and conventional farming equipment with biological pest controls,

biological fertilizers, soil remediation methods, and agricultural production technologies (Rosset 2000). The task of increasing domestic food production, reducing or even eliminating the amount of inputs, and maintaining the exportable production of sugar cane within a short period of time was a difficult undertaking (Oppenheim 2001). Not only were there positive environmental implications to moving away from conventional agriculture, but beneficial social and economic improvements resulted as well. There were now increased opportunities for people to become involved in agriculture, in part because there was a need for more farmers to produce food and because producers could finally receive premium prices for their crops. Putting power back into the hands of Cubans by creating locally and regionally independent agricultural systems has made Cuba’s ability to feed its own people more secure and the country as a whole more resilient (Cuba Agriculture 2009). This shift not only employed alternative agricultural practices, but also restructured the political and economic system. The use of central planning ensured that agricultural resources, including knowledge, educational programs, and money, were distributed to the most crucial areas. A greater number of individual growers benefited from the units of production being kept low and for sale to local markets as opposed to mass production of limited crops for export (Enriquez 2000). The Cuban government also promoted the establishment of on-site farms and gardens to supply dining halls of residential and educational institutions. Through the Basic Units of Cooperative Production program, farmers who had previously worked on state farms were given the right to set up farming cooperatives on the same land, usually making greater economic gains than before the revolution (Funes-Monzote, accessed 2009). The majority of Cubans live in urban areas and were separated from rural agricultural producers. Cuba’s overall dependence on outside resources not only prompted the development of alternative agricultural practices in rural areas, but


also urban food production. The capital city of Havana is home to 20 percent of Cuba’s 11.5 million people. With fuel at an exorbitant price, distributing goods long distances became less viable and a need to produce food where people live created a strong urban agricultural movement. As of 2003, urban gardens and farms in Cuba’s cities cover over 35,000 acres and employ over 200,000 people, producing 3.5 million tons of fresh fruits and vegetables (World Resource Institute 2001). In Havana, locally grown organic fruits and vegetables supply 90 percent of the city’s needs (Cuba Agriculture). The agricultural techniques that were adopted and promoted in order to grow fruits, vegetables, and livestock without chemicals were developed out of necessity. Many of the techniques are excellent models of organic and sustainable agriculture, especially in urban settings. The Cuban government strongly pushed for the research and development of certain alternative farming techniques. In place of petroleum-based chemicals, bacteria, fungi, parasites, predatory ants, and nematodes were used as biological pest control. Farmers have adopted weed management techniques using crop rotations and tilling methods that kill living weeds and suppress weed seeds instead of applying chemical herbicides. Poor soil conditions in Cuba meant that soil management was in need of improvement; the use of composting systems, the introduction of nitrogen-fixing organisms, including bacteria and fungi, and the use of green manure replaced chemical fertilizers (Oppenheim 2001).

Cuba’s Agricultural Revolution RELEVANCE TO SHELBURNE FALLS The sudden cut-off of resources to Cuba, especially fuel and petroleum-based supplies, has served as proof that a reliance on a fossil-fuel-dependent global food system is dangerous due to the current instability of oil and the potential for a global crisis. Cuba’s shift to a more sustainable, ecologically sensitive form of food production has shown that an entire country is capable of changing its agricultural system to one that produces almost all of its own food in an ecologically sound manner. Though Cuba’s change in food production to a more sustainable model was perpetuated by a crisis, the lessons can be applied to a broader global scale to all countries now, before a crisis ensues. Cuba’s agricultural revolution directly relates to the Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan in a number of ways. It highlights the dangers of a global food system on food security. Even though the situation that arose in Cuba was a worst-case scenario, losing most of their daily goods almost over night, it is not completely unreasonable to compare the current instability of oil and the high price of food to this situation. Another lesson to be learned from Cuba is to be prepared. Putting alternative agricultural practices into place now, especially in or near densely populated urban settings, will greatly increase the resilience of those communities against any potential disturbances in the global food system.



SPIN Farming Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Photo by permission of Somerton Tanks Farm

Photo by permission of Roxanne Christensen, Coauthor SPIN-Farming

As the amount of farmland lost to development and sprawl increases each year in the United States, innovative solutions to what might one day be a lack of viable agricultural land are emerging. SPIN Farming is one form that focuses mainly on vegetable production using intensive growing techniques in sub-acre lots, meaning less than one acre. “SPIN� stands for Small Plot INtensive, and was developed by Wally Satzewich and his wife Gail Vandersteen in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (SPIN Farming). After years of farming in the country, battling insects, pests, harsh weather conditions, and the inefficiency of transporting produce to market, Wally and Gail turned to urban agriculture as a solution. Growing high-value crops such as salad mix, spinach, and carrots within an urban environment was much more efficient for several reasons: the pressure from pest insects and animals decreased, growing conditions were more easily controlled and less severe, and the distance that produce had to travel from where it was harvested was drastically reduced. The SPIN Farming system demonstrates that urban agriculture can be economically viable and environmentally responsible (SPIN Farming). The SPIN Farming model is different from many other intensive forms of agriculture because it has created both a business model for commercial production and specific growing techniques for urban agriculture. SPIN Farming removes the two main obstacles that stand in the way of those interested in becoming farmers: land and capital. SPIN can be practiced on as little as 1,000 square feet on a privately owned site, municipal land, or rented plots spread throughout a residential neighborhood. Other than a rototiller,


produce refrigerator, a small work shed, and basic gardening tools, very little infrastructure is needed, drastically reducing the amount of start-up capital needed to become a successful farmer (Christensen 2007). Some of the business principles of SPIN Farming that make it so successful include a revenue-targeting formula. This calculates the potential money to be earned per garden bed instead of per acre, as is the case in traditional farming. Therefore profit projections are more accurate and management of growing space more efficient. SPIN Farming creates a highly managed and predictable farming operation, for example, using relay cropping, which is the sequential growing of crops in a single bed, and the 1-2-3 layout, which assigns different levels of production intensity. (Christensen 2007). SPIN Farming is beginning to catch on as a successful business model for people interested in urban farming. In Philadelphia, for example, the Institute for Innovations in Local Farming (IILF) is using the SPIN Farming system for their urban farming project, Somerton Tanks Farm. A collaboration between the IILF and the Philadelphia Water Department, this half-acre farm is a model for urban agriculture. In 2006, through its CSA program, sales at two farmers markets, and direct sales to several restaurants, Somerton Tanks Farm made a gross of $68,000. As more farmers begin to use SPIN as a model for their operations, the popularity of the system is spreading around North America and around the world (Somerton Tanks Farm).

SPIN Farming’s RELEVANCE TO SHELBURNE FALLS SPIN Farming is proof that with only a small amount of open space within the village, there is still an opportunity for someone interested in becoming a farmer. The fact that a large piece of land is not necessary to make a living as a farmer is inspiring to those who may have put that dream aside due to lack of land or capital. This form of urban agriculture could be an opportunity for homeowners who are not interested or able to produce food in their own yards to rent their land out to a SPIN farmer. The farmer could use a prime piece of land and the resident might make a little money while minimizing the amount of work needed to maintain a yard. SPIN Farming techniques are organic and rely on biological controls for pests and diseases, which are crucial pieces in creating a safe and healthy local food system. The intensive methods of producing food in small areas is also important for Shelburne Falls. Utilizing space efficiently and producing the maximum amount of food possible is the goal of the Food Security Plan and is modeled by SPIN Farming. Some caution needs to be taken with such methods though. If not done with proper crop rotations and nutrient input, soil health can be compromised.



Neighborhood Gardens Association Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Philadelphia has a rich history of urban farming and community gardening. The Neighborhood Gardens Association/A Philadelphia Land Trust, one of several urban farming organizations in the city, was established in 1986 as a nonprofit corporation focused on preserving community gardens, farms, and open space within the city. Its mission is to “preserve and develop community-managed green spaces and gardens that enhance Philadelphia’s neighborhoods.” Neighborhood Gardens Association (NGA) currently holds title to twenty-nine garden plots, varying in size and location, growing flowers and vegetables, as well as creating small parks. This model, in which the land trust owns the property, allows local communities to use the land for little cost and no risk of losing gardens to development (NGA 2009). Through the preservation of open space and gardens within this densely settled urban area, community development, education, and a source of fresh food is cultivated. Successful NGA projects in Philadelphia include the Southwark/Queen Village Garden in South Philadelphia and the Warrington Garden in West Philadelphia. The Southwark/Queen Village Garden (Figure 13) is made up of 67 garden plots totaling 18,000 square feet and is cared for by 74 farmers. In 1999, $36,000 worth of fruits, vegetables, and herbs were grown at the garden, averaging $512 worth of produce per farmer. The food that is not eaten by the estimated 225 families that share its bounty is donated to a local program that provides free food to the needy (NGA 2009). The Warrington Garden in West Philadelphia began in 1973 on a private lot that was once home to either a paint factory

Figure 13. Southwark/Queen Village Community Garden. Photo by Permission of Neighborhood Gardens Association/A Philadelphia Land Trust

or a laundry that burned in 1970 (Figure 14). Over the course of several years, more people from the community began using the lot to grow food, with permission from the owner. It wasn’t until a threat of developing the land emerged that the local gardeners approached the NGA to assist with purchasing the land, saving it from development. There are sixty-two plots, averaging fifteen feet by thirty feet, that can be leased at a cost of ten dollars per plot per year. The garden not only empowers the local residents to feed themselves, but also provides a community meeting place where people, who might not otherwise interact, can connect and socialize (NGA 2009).


Neighborhoods Garden Association’s RELEVANCE TO SHELBURNE FALLS Though NGA is a truly urban organization working in one of the country’s biggest cities, Philadelphia, principles relating to managing open space through land trusts and easements could apply to Shelburne Falls. Because the elementary school is the primary piece of public open land, it has the greatest potential to become a community garden and place of education for students and residents. Having a local land trust place an easement on a portion of the 16.56 acre property could have several benefits. Land protection would make certain that a community garden stays in perpetuity, providing residents with a sense of long-term place and permanence. This would help ensure that a garden wouldn’t be fleeting and residents might be more inclined to invest time and energy into establishing their own plot knowing the garden would be there in the future. A community garden would reduce the amount of property maintained by the school, reducing costs for grounds-keeping. With the addition of an easement these savings would continue into the future, giving the school an economic incentive.

Figure 14. Warrington Community Garden. Photo by Permission of Neighborhood Gardens Association/A Philadelphia Land Trust

War Gardens

WORLD WAR I: LIBERTY GARDENS (1914-1918) Prior to the start of World War I, vegetable gardening was mainly an activity undertaken by the poorer classes as a way to avert hunger and relieve economic hardship. Once the US entered the war in 1917, gardening became a patriotic activity for Americans of all income levels and social classes. In agrarian Europe, many of the men left the fields and farmlands to join the combat effort, leaving crops ripening in the fields, some never to be harvested. Because much of the land in Europe had fallen into the war zone and venturing out into the fields was an impossibly dangerous act, the burden fell to North America to provide food for millions of people in the countries of the Allied Forces (Pack 1919). In the United States, a coalition of concerned businessmen and academics, led by Charles Pack, formed the National War Garden Commission “to awaken interest in both food production and food conservation and to provide instruction along each line of endeavor” (Pack 1919). Through an aggressive campaign that included posters, cartoons, press releases, and pamphlets, the commission, which was not a governmental agency, The gardening propaganda in endeavored “to arouse the patriots WWI included this popular poster. (LOC, POS - US .V48)




of America to the importance of putting all idle land to work, to teach them how to do it, and to educate them to conserve by canning and drying all food that they could not use while fresh” (Pack 1919). Captions on the promotional posters implored “Will you have a part in victory?”, “Every war garden a peace plant,” “Can the Kaiser,” “Sow the Seeds of Victory,” and “Put the slacker land to work.” Once interest in gardening as a patriotic act was roused, the task of providing education became of prime importance to the National War Garden Commission, as most people had no gardening experience (Williamson n.d.). President Woodrow Wilson also supported the war gardens, calling “for every American to contribute in the war to establish democracy and human rights.” He created the Committee on Public Information to assist the Department of Agriculture in a war garden campaign to plant backyard and vacant lot gardens (Williamson n.d.). In 1917, there were 3,000,000 garden plots nationwide; by 1918, that number had increased to 5,285,000 plots (Pack 1919). When World War I ended, the liberty garden movement

Liberty Garden in a Northampton, MA neighborhood

Working in the garden, ca.1915.

went out of style, but the idea made a comeback during the Great Depression with depression relief gardens and again in the Victory Garden movement of the Second World War. WORLD WAR II: VICTORY GARDENS (1939-1945) In 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked and the United States engaged in World War II. All resources were needed to support war efforts. American attitudes toward gardening began to change once again, just as they had during the First World War. American civilians were called on to do their patriotic duty and help in every way they could. The US government was at first reluctant to back the war garden effort, thinking that inexperienced gardeners would waste resources like fertilizer and pesticides, and that the amount produced in backyard gardens would be negligible. Eventually, strong public desire to assist in the war effort convinced the government to back the garden program. Gardening became popular because it ensured food security, promoted mental and physical health and benefitted communities (Warman 1999). Growing vegetables in home gardens would not only lighten the burden of food rationing, but would free up supplies needed for the troops fighting in Europe.


Once again Charles Pack was involved, creating a National Victory Garden Program through the War Food Administration. He had coined the term “Victory Garden” after WWI ended, and the new program took on that name. The five main goals of the National Victory Garden Program were to: 1. Reduce demand on commercial vegetable supplies and thus make more available to the Armed Forces. 2. Reduce demand on strategic materials used in food processing and canning. 3. Ease the burden on railroads transporting war munitions by releasing produce carriers. 4. Maintain the vitality and morale of Americans on the home front through the outdoor production of nutritious vegetables. 5. Preserve fruit and vegetables for future use when shortages might become worse (Bassett 1981). Australia and Canada had their own versions of the Victory Garden. The allotment garden program, which began in the United Kingdom during the nineteenth century as long-term land leases for growing food to supplement the wages of the working classes, began to flourish. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that more than twenty million victory gardens were planted in backyards and city parks; they were wedged into vacant lots and created on city rooftops (Bassett 1981). Neighbors pooled their resources, planted different kinds of foods and formed cooperatives, all in the name of patriotism. Seed package sales rose 300 percent and the harvest accounted for nearly 40 percent of all the vegetables consumed in the country in 1942 (Lawson 2005). When WWII ended, some of the technology that had been

used to make bombs was redirected into growing food and other crops on a larger scale. Food production in the quaint backyard garden became passé and small farm operations gave way to large corporate farms. Mechanization and the use of petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides fueled the efficient production of crops in large industrial-type fields. The Fenway Victory Gardens in the Back Bay Fens of Boston and the Dowling Community Garden in Minneapolis remain as the last surviving public examples from World War II. The Fenway Gardens are officially called the Richard D. Parker Memorial Victory Gardens, named for Richard D. Parker, a member of the original garden organizing committee. Mr. Parker was instrumental both in the creation of the Fenway Garden Society and in the protection of the gardens against efforts to convert the Fens parkland to other purposes. Mr. Parker gardened until his death in 1975 (Fenway Victory Gardens). Most of the plots in the Fenway Victory Gardens now feature flowers instead of vegetables, but that composition may shift back to edible crops as the need for growing food closer to home increases.

During WWII, the government urged the cultivation of victory garden to help with the war effort. Courtesy of the LOC, LC-USZ62-69917.



The war gardens’ RELEVANCE TO SHELBURNE FALLS The goals of the National Victory Garden Program, while applied directly to the war effort in the 1940s, are still relevant. Reducing the demand on the transportation and materials required for commercial food production, preserving food for the future, and giving people a reason to go outside and get exercise are all present-day concerns. These concerns are likely to grow as we leave the age of cheap fossil fuels, head into a new era, and relearn the old values of conservation, cooperation, and working together to strengthen our local communities. This is part of what prompted the Food Security Plan. The historical war gardens provide proof that a large amount of food can be produced on a local level and that community efforts can drive change.


Posters promote patriotism through Victory Gardening.



Path To Freedom Pasadena, California In a garden that is just 0.10 of an acre, the Dervaes family grows 6,000 pounds of produce annually. In the mid-1980s, when Jules Dervaes purchased the lot and house on 0.20 (1/5) acre in the southern California city of Pasadena, the small yard was an unproductive wasteland of broken concrete, hardpan soil, and weeds. Jules and his family set about answering the question “just how self-sufficient can we become in an urban environment?�, and recording their progress. Thus in 1999, the seeds of Path to Freedom, a public urban homestead model, were germinated. Southern California has a year round-growing season but receives just nineteen inches of rain annually, almost all between December and April. The family uses intensive agriculture methods that maximize the production of nearly every square foot of land not occupied by the house. On their vegetarian diet, the family of four grows up to 90% of the food it consumes during the summer months, 65% in the spring and fall, and 55% during the winter. The maximum amount of money spent on purchasing food is $120 per month during winter and just $50-$85 in the summer. Rabbits, goats, ducks, and chickens all have a home in the yard. These animals are not raised for their meat but rather contribute by providing eggs or by recycling compost into manure that enriches the soil and provides nutrients to growing plants. In addition to their cats, the animals are also cherished family pets. The family supplies area restaurants and caterers with salad greens, edible flowers, heirloom variety tomatoes and other in-season vegetables to area restaurants and caterers. The money they bring in goes toward offsetting operating expenses and creating a sustainable low energy use lifestyle, and decreasing dependence on non-renewable resources. They have solar panels and biodiesel power to supply their energy needs, and by living close to amenities they have greatly reduced the use of a vehicle.

77 Path to Freedom’s RELEVANCE TO SHELBURNE FALLS Shelburne Falls does not have a year-round growing season and most properties that are 0.10 acre are not likely to produce 6,000 pounds of produce per year. Many residential housing lots in Shelburne Falls are small; the smallest lots are about 0.17 acre, larger residential lots can be 0.33 to 0.56 acre or more. The residents of Shelburne Falls could look to the Dervaes homestead as a model for maximizing a small space to create a fruitful landscape that supplies the majority of their food needs. If neighbors pool their resources and open their properties to communal production, there is potential for even more to be produced than if everyone remains within their own property boundaries.


The Town of Hardwick Hardwick, Vermont


Less than six years ago, Hardwick, Vermont was a dying town. Its granite industry had slowed production and jobs were few and far between. By 2003, per capita income for the 3,000 residents was barely $14,000 per year (Hewitt 2008a). Today, thanks to the vision and energy of a few young entrepreneurs, Hardwick is on its way to being known as “one of the most important food towns in America,” according to Gourmet Magazine. Farmers and food producers are working cooperatively to develop resources and infrastructure that support agricultural enterprises ranging from artisan cheese to whey-based floor coatings. These enterprises have added 75 to 100 jobs to the area in the past few years (Burros 2008). Growers and producers have organized to create the Center for an Agricultural Economy, a nonprofit organization formed in 2004 to develop and promote a sustainable local food system and economy. The center has plans to build an industrial park for agricultural businesses which will include a business incubator, an educational center, and a year-round farmers’ market. A community garden already is up and running with a greenhouse, a paid garden specialist, and twenty-two plots (Burros 2008). The Vermont Food Venture Center is moving to Hardwick from Fairfax, forty miles west, to join the movement. It has a shared-use kitchen for local food producers who can rent kitchen space on an hourly basis and get business advice for adding value to raw ingredients (Hewitt 2008a). Jasper Hill Farm has invested in a 22,000 square-foot cheese aging cave that has seven arched vaults, each with a different climate-controlled environment. This allows the cave to provide the right conditions for aging a variety of cheeses, from cloth-bound cheddars to bloomy rind cheeses, as well as blues, alpines and washed rind cheeses (Rathke 2008). Jasper Hill Farm will rent space

to other cheese makers and will help market and ship the final product (Rathke 2008). The Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese at the University of Vermont is helping producers develop safety and quality programs, with costs split by Jasper Hill and the producers (Hewitt 2008b). Claire’s Restaurant began when fifty investors each pitched in $1,000 in exchange for meals. The restaurant opened in 2008 as a Community Supported Restaurant, serving dishes produced from local ingredients (Wright 2009). The investors get a $25.00 credit at the restaurant each month for four years, until the loan is paid off. Other companies include Vermont Soy, soybean grower and tofu producer, and its sister company Vermont Natural Coatings, which makes low-toxicity finishes for furniture and floors from whey, a cheese by-product. Pete’s Greens grows organic crops on fifty acres and has extended the growing season to nine months through the use of movable greenhouses (Burros 2008). High-Mowing Seeds produces more than four-hundred varieties of organic seed, including many heirloom varieties. Highfields Institute is a composting facility that is dedicated to recycling food scraps, manure, and other waste to build healthy soil. They have a food scrap recycling program for schools that teach children about composting, worm bins, and ecology. Farmers have long been attracted to northeast Vermont’s fertile soil, and Hardwick, thirty miles from the capital city of Montpelier, has traditionally served as the commercial center for the region’s rural population (Office of the Vermont Secretary of State). This new generation of farmers and entrepreneurs has the advantage of the Internet and modern technology, and the cooperative attitude to promote and sustain their mission to reinvent Hardwick as a center for a very different agricultural vision.



Hardwick’s RELEVANCE TO SHELBURNE FALLS The new economy being created in Hardwick can serve as an example to Shelburne Falls. Jobs could be created that offer services to regional farmers and growers as well as home-based producers who are not looking to market their produce but want to keep costs of home preserving to a minimum. A central, cooperatively-owned facility where food could be processed, preserved, and packaged would be an economic opportunity and provide a needed service for the community. The cooperative attitude of the residents could also be a model for Shelburne Falls. Sharing facilities, costs, and materials will be advantageous for everyone who participates. By banding together, more can be accomplished than if each individual tries to do the same things on his or her own.


Envisioning Possibilities Designs

81 There is beauty in a vegetable garden spilling over with all the shades of green and the colors of the spectrum. A single fruit tree in May is an exclamation point in a sleeping landscape. A brilliant hillside on an autumn day when the trees are preparing for winter is a tapestry of color. Shelburne Falls is a beautiful place now; imagine what it could look like when a healthy and prolific food network; is in place, filled with grazing animals, earthy mushrooms, sweet nuts, productive vegetable gardens, and abundant fruit trees. The following designs were informed by analyses of nutrition and demographic data, the physical site characteristics unique to Shelburne Falls, the needs of the residents, and the models in place in other communities. There are many forms that Shelburne Falls’ food system could take; these are just a few possibilities.

Photo courtesy of Michael Blacketer


Designing Downtown Existing Conditions


The Deerfield River separates the downtown corridor, with commercial buildings on both the Buckland (State Street) and Shelburne (Bridge Street) sides, and the Iron Bridge and pedestrian Bridge of Flowers linking the two. The vast majority of the downtown is paved, with the exception of the steep riverbanks, a steep and wooded area south of Bridge Street, and two vacant lots on Bridge Street that are grown over with weeds. Along both Bridge and State Streets, there are some small trees, planted along the sidewalks. Most of the buildings downtown stand three stories high, and many have flat rooftops. They house shops and restaurants on the ground floor and residences above. There are several parking lots scattered throughout downtown, and wide sidewalks welcome pedestrians.

The Future: Conceptual Design One goal of the Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan is that the village serves as a model to other communities seeking to produce their own food. By incorporating food production into the downtown corridor, the village demonstrates different techniques for growing diverse types of food, thus educating people about the many ways in which they could grow their own. Visible projects in the downtown exemplify a community determined to reach the goal of attaining food security and beautify the public realm.

B – Rooftop gardens are planted in containers, raised beds, or greenhouses on some flat-roofed buildings. Buildings must be assessed for structural integrity and adequate access feasibility. In addition to providing food, rooftop gardens eliminate impervious surfaces, minimizing the amount of run-off flowing into the stormwater system. C – Greening the sidewalks with the addition of planter boxes and hanging baskets full of crops along the commercial district makes visible the efforts of residents to support a local food system. D – A demonstration garden at the library encourages residents and visitors alike to see how a productive and diverse residential-scale garden functions, then to enter the library to procure information and resources on growing their own food. E – Vacant lots are repurposed as community gardens or used as sites for A weekly farmer’s markets to bring greenery, community energy, and visible food production into downtown. F – Empty industrial buildings are repurposed to house community food processing and storage facilities.

Design Elements Proposed features of this design reflect the site conditions, taking advantage of available spaces for growing food in a public area. A – Bridge of Food and Flowers, a famous landmark, demonstrates the community’s vision for local food production by growing flowering plants that produce flowers too.


The landmark Bridge of Flowers becomes the Bridge of Food





F Locator map for design of downtown Shelburne Falls, looking north. The design makes food production visible to the public. Drawing adapted from Shelburne Falls welcome pamphlet published by Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism Food is grown on rooftop gardens.



Greening the sidewalks with planter C boxes and hanging baskets.

Vacant lots are repurposed as community gardens.



Designing Residences The neighborhoods shown in the residential design section are representative of typical blocks found in Shelburne Falls in terms of lot size, the footprint of the houses, and general site characteristics. The residential design schemes are visualizations of elements that could be used to increase food production in such traditional neighborhoods. Of the two residential designs shown here, one is in a flat area on a block that is on a north-south axis, while the other is steeper and runs east-west. Despite these differences in site characteristics, many proposed elements are the same, illustrating that production techniques can be adapted to different locations.


Design One: Flat Residential Block on North-South Axis Existing Conditions This block covers roughly five acres and has seventeen houses. The average lot is one quarter of an acre; the smallest lot is one-tenth of an acre and the biggest is one-half acre. The average footprint of a house is 30’x50’. Buildings are oriented on an east-west axis and sit fifteen to twenty feet from the road, leaving a large open space down the center of the neighborhood where backyards meet. Existing vegetation includes a mix of large and medium overstory trees with a canopy spread ranging from twenty to fifty feet and species composition typical of residential areas in this region including maple, oak, hickory, spruce, and hemlock. The majority of the buildings are private residences with the exception of two large buildings at the far north of the block that are publicly owned. The slope of the neighborhood faces north and east and the land is relatively flat, with a grade of 0 to 5 percent. By casting shadows and creating microclimates, existing vegetation and buildings may have a greater impact on growing conditions than the solar orientation.

The Future: Conceptual Design At first glance, this residential neighborhood seems to have little potential for producing food due to the size of the yards, the existing trees, and the tight spacing of houses. By employing a mix of traditional gardening, using straight raised beds, and alternative forms of food production, such as polyculture plantings modeled after those used in permaculture, space that would normally be lawn is now providing food, creating a healthier and more beautiful ecosystem. Public space is a showcase for village agriculture and is available to residents lacking their own land to provide for themselves and others. Neighbors who agree to share growing space benefit from the increased yields, shared cost of inputs, and positive social interactions. Because this block is typical of many neighborhoods, it could serve as a model to other communities demonstrating that local food production is possible in residential areas and does not need to be limited to farms and traditional agricultural settings.

Design Elements A - Edible plantings, including fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, and perennial crops, have been added between the sidewalk and street, taking advantage of a typically unused space and adding beauty along the residential streets. B - Mushrooms, grown on logs, are the primary crop produced in yards where overstory vegetation is dense. The shady and cooler microclimate created from existing vegetation is utilized where traditional annual vegetables and sun-loving perennial plants could not survive. C - Raised beds are used throughout the site primarily for annual cultivation. Cultivating annual crops in this manner minimizes the amount of tilling necessary, therefore limiting any soil loss. Additionally, raised beds allow for easier maintenance because they are higher off the ground. D - Perennial beds and polycultures are spread throughout the site providing low-maintenance food production.






Small Tree (existing)





Large Tree (existing)

Vegetable bed


Raised bed Hoop house


Beehives Livestock pen & enclosure Rabbit hutch




Fruit tree Mushroom logs

N This neighborhood is transformed into a beautiful, productive place with the planting of fruit and nut trees, perennial and annual vegetable beds, berry bushes, and many other food-producing landscape elements.

E - Open space around the two public buildings provide small community-managed plots for residents who don’t have growing space in their yards. Transforming lawn to productive space around these two buildings also reduces maintenance costs traditionally associated with lawn care, and these public spaces are showcases for the possibilities of village food production. Fruit and nut trees and perennial food crops create beautiful public spaces and also provide free food to those passing by. F - Rabbits are raised, using very little space, in small hutches throughout the neighborhood and provide a high source of protein. Their waste is used as a source of nutrients and added back

Compost pile

into soil around food crops. G - Simple low-cost hoop houses are constructed in several yards and extend the growing season as well as provide a place to start seedlings in late winter or early spring. H - Three neighbors have decided to ignore property lines and create shared growing space, optimizing prime full-sun growing conditions. Due to the combined space, a large hoop house extends onto two properties, offering a place to grow crops early in the spring and late into the fall. A large perennial polyculture of fruit and nut trees, berry bushes and perennial food plants straddles two yards, creating a larger and less disjointed growing space



than would be possible in just one yard. Dividing resources and combining growing space can save money and may increase yields. Chickens are allowed to roam through this planting during certain times of the year, adding nutrients to the soil, eating insects, scuffing the soil surface, and eating any food that has fallen to the ground. Twelve raised beds provide growing space for annual and perennial vegetables. I - Small patches of lawn remain throughout the neighborhood providing space for kids and pets to play near the food-producing areas. J – Beautiful heat-loving vines grow on south-facing arbors, producing food and shading buildings from the summer sun. K - Beehives provide pollinators for the neighborhood as well as plenty of honey. The residential setting offers excellent conditions for raising bees with ample sunlight and protection from wind.

The slightly sloped north-facing yard offers ample growing space for trellised dwarf fruit trees, a perennial polyculture, annual vegetable beds, and chickens.

Two neighbors share growing space between their houses and divide responsibilities maintaining the beds. Vertical space on exterior walls is used to grow vines, producing food and shading summer sun.


Design Two: Sloped Residential Block on East-West Axis

Existing Conditions This neighborhood block in Buckland is on an eight-degree slope with a long side that faces south. There are six properties on 1.3 acres; each lot is between 0.18 and 0.25 acre. The two- and threestory houses average thirty-five feet tall and have a footprint of between 875 and 2,850 square feet, leaving a large area of open land on each property. A distance of ten to twenty feet separates the houses from the asphalt-paved street. There are no curbs or driveway cuts along street edges; rather there is a gradual transition between the private property and the public streets. Overstory vegetation comprises of a mix of small, medium, and large trees with canopies that extend from fifteen to forty feet; species include maple, oak, spruce, and hemlock. The gentle south-facing slope receives maximum solar gain, which is an advantage when growing vegetables. As with the previous conceptual design, the buildings and existing vegetation create microclimates that are suited to a variety of food production possibilities.


The south-facing block is transformed into a productive vegetable garden.














This block on a south-facing slope takes advantage of microclimates to optimize food production.

The Future: Conceptual Design Mature trees and tall houses create cool microclimates on a southfacing slope, where backyard agriculture is optimized and a great quantity of food can be produced without taking up every available space. A variety of techniques are employed under an array of growing conditions to maximize the food production of this neighborhood. Annual and perennial plants grow in the ground and in raised beds. There are slopes in Shelburne Falls that are much steeper; on such sites it would be possible to terrace the raised beds to make them level. Goats, rabbits, chickens, and bees contribute to system that requires very little input once established. This neighborhood provides most of its own needs, the needs of its

animals and plants, and the needs of other residents, independent of fossil-fuel based agriculture.

Design Elements A – Edible perennial plants including fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, and other crops are interspersed throughout the neighborhood, with taller plantings to the north side of the block where they don’t block sunlight. B – Chickens are kept in coops to provide eggs to the entire neighborhood. Chickens eat insects that are harmful to plants and their manure adds nutrients to the soil. C – Raised beds are filled with annual vegetable crops.


Because they are elevated, the beds are easier to maintain and harvest. D – Perennial plants are organized into guilds, in which plants are interspersed with other complementary plant species; each has slightly different resource needs and slightly different outputs that can be utilized by neighboring plants, thereby creating a healthier and less disease-prone garden. E – Each yard has a compost bin or two to recycle kitchen and yard waste into nutrients to put back into the soil. F – A shared livestock pen houses goats or other small livestock that provide milk and meat. G – Inexpensive hoop houses extend the growing season by sheltering tender vegetables from freezing temperatures in early spring and late fall. H – Arbors along south-facing walls are covered in twining vines that produce fruit and shade the structures from hot summer sun. I – Edible mushrooms, grown on logs, thrive in the cool shade of existing buildings and trees, where sun-loving annual vegetables and perennial plants could not survive. J – Rabbits are raised, using very little space, in small hutches throughout the neighborhood and are a protein source when harvested. Their waste contains nutrients that are added back into soil around food crops. K–Beehives are sited in areas that receive partial sun and are protected from the wind. The bees will pollinate annual and perennial crops and provide honey.


Design detail with fenced pen for livestock, perennial fruit shrubs, compost bins, beehives, and chicken run.


Designing the School I Existing Conditions


The elementary school is situated on 16.52 acres. The two attached school buildings run north-south in the center of the property, with a paved parking lot and drop-off driveway circle between the building and Mechanic Street. Residential lots border the school’s property except where the school grounds border Mechanic Street and Route 2. Aside from the built infrastructure, which also includes a large maintenance shed and a bandstand, most of the grounds are mowed fields, with trees along the borders. Just beyond the northern property line runs a small stream, and there are wet conditions along the northeastern edge of the school grounds. There in a slope along the eastern border of the property, which is popular for winter sledding. One play structure is situated to the south of the classroom buildings and another to the north. The southern field reportedly gets a great deal of use by students while the larger northern field is underutilized.






The Future: Conceptual Design The elementary school is the only public land in the village that is mostly flat, has significant size, and has good solar aspect. Repurposing some of the property to grow food and raise animals could be part of the student educational experience and benefit the greater community by providing land and facilities for food production. Considerations such as safety of students, vandalism, availability of water and other utilities, and liability will need to be addressed in any design here. Minimizing the amount of lawn on the property will decrease the amount of time, energy, and money spent on mowing; increasing community and student involvement in the school’s landscape may prove beneficial in many ways. The school’s large kitchen facilities could be a place for people to process and preserve food when school is not in session, providing an important resource to the



The elementary school grounds are repurposed to incorporate a student garden, outdoor classroom, kitchen gardens, community gardens, an orchard, a greenhouse, and livestock.


community. Growing food on site will benefit students and residents by providing them with fresh and healthy food, a connection to nature, educational opportunities, and time spent outside.

Design Elements A – A school garden provides an outdoor learning space in which teachers can integrate a multi-disciplinary curriculum into their regular lessons while also incorporating nutrition and physical education. The garden provides children hands-on learning experiences different from those in a classroom and is a fun place for kids to learn and taste the foods they grow. B – An outdoor classroom provides a gathering place for lessons, and gives children a place to focus and do activities. C – Berries are perennial plants that ripen in the late summer, just as students return to school. D – A tool shed can be used to store tools for use in the gardens, while keeping equipment organized and secure. E – Kitchen gardens, planted in rows at some density, can supply the cafeteria, assuring that all students are offered fresh and healthy food. F – Community garden plots located along Mechanic Street are easily accessible by village residents and are particularly convenient for those families who drop off and pick up students

enrolled in the elementary school. A fence could be built, if deemed necessary, to address safety concerns of the public being on school grounds during school hours. G – Fruit trees planted along the eastern slope of the property would provide fresh fruit for students during the school year. H – A greenhouse built in the area between the adjoined school buildings might be where garden education and small-scale food production continues during most of the winter months. I – Small- to mid-sized livestock are kept on the school grounds, one of the few locations in the village where this would be possible. Animal husbandry is yet another opportunity for experiential learning or for community participation in food production.


A student garden offers an outdoor space for multi-disciplinary curriculum, experiential education, nutritious food, and fun.



Photo courtesy of Walter Cudnohufsky

The characteristics of the land, demographics and nutrition data in the previous sections have given an understanding of the specific site conditions of Shelburne Falls. There are 439.5 acres of prospective open land within the boundaries of the Fire and Water District. Using the modeling done for New York State, a low-fat vegetarian diet that would take 0.44 acres to feed one person, the 1,951 residents of Shelburne Falls would need 858.44 acres to feed themselves (0.44 acre x 1,951 people). A diet that includes a larger share of meat and is higher in fat would take 4,136.12 acres (2.12 acres x 1,951 residents). If the Dervaes’ model of southern California is used, the residents of Shelburne Falls could be fed on less than 60 acres (0.03 x 1,951). Neither of these scenarios are likely to occur. The real amount of land that would be needed to feed the residents of Shelburne Falls is between 60 and 4,136 acres depending on what is eaten and how it is produced. What is known is that the village of Shelburne Falls has the potential to grow a much higher percentage of food than is currently being produced. There is space in backyards and parks, at public and commercial buildings, along sidewalks, and on rooftops. The elementary school yard has an

abundance of open land that could be converted to productive gardens while still preserving a large portion for playgrounds and ball fields. Shelburne Falls is fortunate to be located in an area that has a long history of agricultural production. Apples, maple syrup, dairy products, and meat are some of the foods that have been produced successfully over the years but may be difficult to produce on a small in-town lot because of the amount of space they require. By reducing their purchase of items, and by purchasing or trading for some products from the local farmers that are outside the Fire and Water District, not only will residents expand their own diets, they will strengthen the local economy, contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of a diverse agricultural community, encourage greater farm-community collaboration, and support the farmers who depend on growing plants or raising livestock for their livelihood. When access to food is rooted in local and regional production, communities are created that value and support small farms, nutritious food, environmental sustainability, and strong local connections.



Next Steps Recommendations


Participants at the public meeting on February 24, 2009, demonstrated a great deal of interest and enthusiasm in the findings of this report and the prospect of producing more food locally and as a community. The research, analysis, and visioning in this report serve as the first phase in a long-term and multi-faceted effort. Here, we provide a loose timeline, which represents a starting point for envisioning what might come next. Residents may determine that steps other than those listed here are needed or that they should be organized differently. Also, while implied by the timeline, there may not actually be distinct phases (or this number of them) in the implementation of a food security plan, but instead a series of overlapping or simultaneous projects and activities. After hearing from residents at the meeting, it became apparent that the greatest challenge to creating food security may be community organizing, rather than actually producing food, since a significant shift in attitudes and behaviors may be required. It is for this reason that our strongest recommendation for immediate next steps, and for the duration of the project, is to solicit ideas and feedback from residents. Involving the community will be crucial to the project’s success. Early efforts should be made to encourage the community to endorse a vision for the project that has been generated by the residents and to promote leadership and forward

momentum. This vision may well evolve and adapt as people experiment with new methods and activities of food production, another important early step. To make the project well known, encourage involvement, and create activity from the start, we suggest organizing a visible village-wide project, such as establishing a community garden. The public should remain involved throughout all phases of the Food Security Plan, to help clarify the direction of the project. Determining resources and infrastructure that may be required, promoting leadership, introducing local officials to and involving them in the project, installing gardens and other food production facilities, and providing educational opportunities may be other crucial steps in the subsequent phases of the Food Security Plan. As steps such as these are taken, the visions for a timeline and for the future will develop and solidify. This section outlines recommendations for resources, ideas to consider, and diverse production opportunities that the community can explore as they begin to develop a local food system.



Potential Timeline for the Future of the Food Security Plan




Hold community meetings PHASE I

Refine a community vision for the project

Conduct research

Identify key players and leaders

Develop a vision

Involve local officials

Solicit public input

Create community-wide projects


Determine resource needs Compile report

Install household gardens

PHASE III Encourage continued community input and involvement Form focus committees Identify how resource needs will be met Create educational opportunities Install gardens Rewrite zoning bylaws as deemed necessary


Encourage continued community input and involvement Offer educational opportunities Develop community projects Gather resources Install gardens

PHASE V Encourage continued community input and involvement Offer educational opportunities Amass resources, facilities, infrastructure Share knowledge and experiences with other communities

Material Resource Needs

Things to Consider

As recognized by members of the community at the public meeting, a variety of material resources (in addition to knowledge, leadership, and social resources) will be needed to help implement food production on a village-wide scale. Below is a list of some of these foreseen needs; some of these materials will be of help to individuals as they produce food and others will be of help to the wider community.

Creating a local food system offers an array of benefits to a place like Shelburne Falls, including a source of safe and healthy food, the creation of educational and economic opportunities, and a greater resilience to changes in the global food system, resulting in a stronger community. The process of shifting away from the current industrial agriculture model and producing food locally and in an ecologically sensitive manner will no doubt be a long, and at times, trying process. Obstacles to growing food in the village may be encountered along the way and trying to recognize potential obstacles now will better prepare the residents for the future.

Animal needs: feed, materials for fences and shelters, bedding, veterinary care Educational resources: books and other reading materials Food processing: kitchens and facilities for canning, preserving, and processing; slaughterhouse (mobile or permanent) Food storage: facilities for year-round storage, root cellars Garden inputs: seeds, seedlings, soil, compost, fertilizer Garden infrastructure: materials to build and maintain raised beds, greenhouses, hoop houses, fences, livestock facilities Garden tools: for purchase or to borrow from a community “tool library�; hand tools, wheelbarrows, shovels, power tools, machinery Land: available for rent, lease, or other agreement; community gardens Season extenders: greenhouses, hoop houses, hydroponics

Pests Increasing the amount of food that is grown in Shelburne falls could potentially draw higher numbers of pests, including rodents, small animals, and deer, into the village. Though the presence of certain wild animals in villages such as Shelburne Falls already exists, food production within the village could possibly draw higher numbers in considering there would be an increase in available food. Misuse of Resources Even when using organic gardening practices, the misuse and overapplication of natural fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides can still pose health, aesthetic, and environmental risks. One environmental threat is the potential impact on water quality of the Deerfield River. If agricultural production occurred at a large scale within the village and nutrients and soil were not being managed properly, substances applied to gardens could end up in the river. This could lead to pollution in the form of chemicals, nutrients, and silt. Growing food and raising animals in a densely populated area must be carefully managed do to the lack of natural buffers as found in



undeveloped locations. An emphasis on education and the proper use of agricultural inputs into a garden is essential. Competition with Local Farmers Though we do not consider this an immediate or realistic threat, concerns have been raised about the impact that households growing their own food might have on local farmers. As people start to raise more of their own food, their dependence on farmers could decrease. But the degree to which residents would impact profits of local farmers by growing their own food is most likely minimal. In fact, the creation of a local food system could offer benefits to local farmers in the form of new opportunities in agricultural consulting, and selling inputs such as fertilizer, seeds, or seedlings to residents interested in starting their own garden.


Intensive Agriculture and Soil Degradation The detrimental effects intensive forms of agriculture might have on soil health is a serious concern because of erosion and nutrient depletion. Proper management of nutrients and organic matter are critical to ensure the long-term viability of a growing site. Some management strategies include crop rotation, soil amendment, and cover cropping. Conflicts Increasing food production within the village will be a long and potentially contentious process. The proposal for a food security plan may be met with some resistance and while few can argue with the benefits of growing food locally, some might find bringing agricultural practices to a densely settled area inappropriate. Some individuals might feel that agriculture and farming is aesthetically unpleasant or unsafe and the thought of farm animals being raised and vegetables being grown in their neighbors’ front yard might raise serious opposition.

Start-up Costs Initial start-up costs involved in producing food include education, soil testing and amendments, seeds and plants, and tools and equipment. Sharing the costs of tools and equipment, trading plants, and seed saving are all ways to reduce expenses. In addition, growing food locally and preserving harvests for winter use will reduce money spend on fuel and thus offset start up costs.

Production Opportunities Options for growing and making food are varied, both in techniques and production opportunities. While annual vegetable gardening may seem like an obvious choice, exploring different techniques in growing gardens may prove valuable where high yields are the objective. For those with limited space, poor soil conditions, or little interest in gardening, many other possibilities exist for producing, processing, preserving, and storing food. By employing many strategies to produce diverse foods the community will achieve greater resilience to unforeseen changes that might affect any one method at any time. The opportunities listed here offer some direction for residents of Shelburne Falls to explore and experiment with as they begin to produce more of their own food. For more information on any one of these subjects, see Appendix B.

Agroforestry (Forest Products/Forest Gardens) Agroforestry merges agriculture and forestry; combining trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock creates multiple-use sustainable land-use systems that provide a range of benefits and products


(UDSA NAC). A traditional tree farm or nut plantation managed as a single-purpose monocrop is not an agroforestry system. Neither is a woodlot when it is managed for wood products only. Agroforestry involves combining tree planting with another enterprise—such as grazing animals or producing mushrooms—or managing a woodlot for a diversity of special forest products. The trees are sheltering livestock from wind or sun, providing wildlife habitat, controlling soil erosion, and improving soil health. An agroforestry system, for example, might produce firewood, timber, fruit, pine straw mulch from fallen pine needles, fodder for grazing animals, and sap for maple syrup. Some of the products that can be harvested from an agroforestry operation include pinecones and plant materials for decorative purposes, herbs and medicinal plants, mushrooms, nuts and berries, materials for basket-making or chair-caning, and charcoal (Attra). USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC) ATTRA-National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service attra-pub/agroforestry.html#Intro

Annual Vegetables No-Dig/Do-Nothing/Lasagna Gardening The main principle of do-nothing gardening is to use layers of sheet mulch to increase the fertility and amount of soil in a garden bed, to plant directly into the mulch layers, and allow the garden to grow with little additional work. Sheet mulch can be placed on top of the ground (even over cement surfaces if piled to a great enough depth), by building up layers of cardboard, newspaper, peat

moss, straw, compost, mulch, and other organic material, wetting all layers so they are damp but not wet. The depth of soil is regularly increased by adding large amounts of mulch and compost. Since no tilling of soil is involved, soil is protected from erosion and depletion of nutrients.

French Intensive French intensive gardening uses the technique of double-dug garden beds, which involves digging out the top 6-12 inches of soil from a raised bed, then putting it aside while you then dig into the next 6-12 inches to loosen and aerate the soil, finally re-applying the soil that has been set aside. Plants are spaced close together so the loose soil allows their roots to grow down rather than out, avoiding over-crowding. The density of the plants keeps weeds to a minimum. Sunset Magazine

Biodynamic Biodynamic gardening is based on the principle that the soil and the farm or garden are living organisms. Emphasis is placed on integration of all systems: crops and livestock, recycling of nutrients, soil maintenance, and care of plants, animals, and people. The use of organic material and compost is an important facet of biodynamic gardening, along with crop rotation, cover crops, green manure, and diverse crop species. A focus is also placed on structuring activities in the garden based on nature’s rhythms, such as planting according to the cycles of the moon. Wikipedia and http://www.

Biointensive Developed as something of a hybrid of French intensive and biodynamic gardening, biointensive gardening emphasizes double-digging soil in raised beds, use of compost, close plant spacing, companion planting, and use of open-pollinated seeds. Care must be taken



when using the biointensive method not to deplete the soil. Close plant spacing and companion planting result in high yields even in small areas. Ecology in Action and How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine by John Jeavons

Aquaculture and Aquaponics


Aquaculture is the practice of raising or cultivating freshwater and saltwater fish, mollusks, plants, and organisms under controlled conditions. Aquaculture uses tanks that can range in size, and the practice can be done on the scale of just a few tanks at home to large commercial operations. Aquaponics uses the nutrient-rich effluent from aquaculture facilities to grow plants. The two systems can be built to be integrated as a re-circulating system of nutrients and water filtration.

starter from any cheese-making supplier; many can be found on the internet. Mesophilic starter comes as a dried powder in a small packet, similar to bread-making yeast. Milk from cows, sheep, goats, or even horses can be made into cheese, each has its own distinct flavor. It takes roughly ten pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese. Soft cheeses, which are the easiest to make at home, are the most perishable and have a refrigerator life of five to seven days. Hard cheeses may keep a year or more in a cool place where they are protected from drying out. Soft cheese contains over 45 percent water, while hard and semi-hard cheeses contain between 30 and 45 percent water. Dry hard cheeses have less than 30 percent moisture content. One of the most common types of soft cheese to make at home is Neufchatel, a milky-white cheese with a soft, smooth texture. Cream cheese and pizza cheese also are soft cheeses that

Beekeeping Bees are important pollinators for plants and trees and they produce honey that can be consumed by humans. A beginner beekeeper should start out with no more than two hives, and should begin in spring when flowers and fruit trees are in bloom, which will support the bees as they establish the new hive. Having the proper hive equipment and protective clothing is crucial, and a first-time beekeeper should learn from someone with experience.

Cheese Making

Vermiculture worm bin

Cheese is a concentrated form of milk, high in protein, calcium and riboflavin. Cheese can be made at home using the equipment found in most kitchens. Cheese is about as easy to make as bread or home-brewed beer; the most difficult part is ensuring that all the equipment is sterilized. The materials needed are milk, starter, and rennet. Beginning cheese makers should purchase a mesophilic


Compost bin

can be made in home kitchens. Herbs and spices can be added to either cream cheese or Neufchatel to create flavored cheese spreads. There are numerous books and websites where the basic skills needed to make cheese can be learned. For people interested in learning more about making cheese, the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese at the University of Vermont (http://nutrition.uvm. edu/viac/) has ongoing classes to support the production of artisan cheese in New England and beyond.

Composting/Vermiculture Composting is an easy way to transform household food scraps and organic yard waste into usable, nutrient-rich soil amendments. Material that normally ends up in landfills and solid waste incinerators can be collected and transformed into a valuable resource. There are many composting systems and depending on specific site conditions could include a bin system, pens, or a simple heaped pile. Compost takes on average about six months to break down to a usable state. Vermiculture is a form of composting that uses worms to break down household food waste into usable organic matter. The end product is a highly-fertile, nutrient-rich soil, which gardeners call “Black Gold.� White, Hazel and Janet H. Sanchez. 2005. The Edible Garden. Sunset Publishing Corporation, Menlo Park, CA.

Container Gardening Container gardening involves planting in containers or pots rather than in the ground. It is a useful strategy for growing in areas where soil is unsuitable or garden space is unavailable, such as on pavement, stairs, decks, porches, balconies, rooftops, or indoors. It is important to match the size of the container with the spatial needs of each plant variety and its rooting habits.

Gleaning Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest the entire crop. Many pounds of produce can be gathered that harvesting methods may miss. Some ancient cultures promoted gleaning as an early form of welfare. There are biblical references to leaving some crops behind in the field for the poor to gather. Gleaning was the legal right of villagers in nineteenth century England. Gleaning is gaining renewed interest these days as more and more people realize that the amount of produce that is otherwise going to waste can feed many people. Food banks and other nonprofit organizations are among the most avid gleaners, but there are also individuals who are making arrangements with local farmers to take advantage of leftover produce to supplement their own larders. There is always the question of liability when a farmer allows other people onto the land to glean. On October 1, 1996, President Clinton signed the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act. This law makes it easier to donate by protecting donors from civil and criminal liability should the product donated in good faith later cause harm to the needy recipient. Because Shelburne Falls is in an active agricultural region, making arrangements to glean the produce left over after harvesting may be a way for residents to obtain food and reduce waste, especially when the cost of obtaining safe and nutritious food is an issue.

Maple Sugaring Maple sugaring is a low cost but labor intensive form of food production that has strong regional and historical associations in eastern North America. Before European settlers, Native Americans were converting sap from various trees, including maples and birches, into a sweet drink or cooking additive. Traditionally, sugar maples (Acer saccharum) are tapped in late winter or early spring, and the raw sap is collected in buckets. On average, it takes



around forty gallons of raw sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup, depending on the sugar content of the sap. Maple sugaring can be an extensive operation, or it can be performed on a small scale. Sugar maples can be tapped by hand and the sap collected in small quantities. The sap can be boiled in large-scale traditional sugar houses, or simply on a cook top or wood stove. Maple sugar is an excellent local replacement for refined sugar.


Mushrooms Mushrooms are neither plants or animals. The living body of the fungus is a mycelium which is a web of tiny filaments called hyphae. The mycelium is the underground part usually hidden in the soil, in wood, or another food source. The part that humans eat is the above-ground “fruit.� Because mushrooms have no chlorophyll, they must get all their nutrients from organic matter in their growing medium. Two types of material are generally used for growing mushrooms: compost or hardwood logs that have been inoculated with mushrooms spores. The best way to learn about growing mushrooms at home is to start with a kit. Since many types of mushrooms aren’t edible and may even be poisonous to consume, growing from a kit will ensure that the mushroom mycelium is untainted. Oyster, button, shiitake, wine caps, and Portobello (crimini) are among those that can easily be grown at home. Once the basics of mushroom growing are mastered, more labor intensive but less expensive productions methods can be employed. These include preparing

the compost as a growing medium, inoculating the compost with live spores, and ensuring the mushroom medium is kept at optimal growing conditions, which will vary depending on the type of mushroom that is being grown.

Preservation Techniques There are many methods of preserving food, including canning, drying, freezing, and fermenting. Food preservation has long been both an art and a necessity, especially in the days before refrigeration and easy access to grocery stores. People living in remote areas kept a portion of what they grew at home for use through the winter. Canning is the process of putting foods in glass jars and heating them to a temperature that destroys the micro-organisms that cause food to spoil. During the heating process air is driven out of the jar and as it cools a vacuum seal is formed. The vacuum seal prevents air from getting back into the product bringing with it contaminating micro-organisms. Drying involves removing the moisture from foods like fruit, vegetables, and meat. Once dry, the food can be stored for long periods without spoiling because the moisture content is so low that spoilage organisms cannot grow. One advantage of dried foods is that they take much less storage space than canned or frozen foods. Food can be dried by the sun if the air is hot and dry enough, or in an oven or food dryer if the weather is humid. Freezing keeps food safe by slowing the movement of molecules, causing microbes to enter a dormant stage. Freezing preserves food for extended periods because it prevents the growth of micro-organisms that cause both food spoilage and food-borne illness. Fermentation is a natural food preservation process that uses a few simple ingredients. Fermented foods provide us with the right balance of micro-organisms. Fermented foods include sauerkraut, cheese, yogurt, miso, soy sauce, cider, pickles, sauerkraut, beer, and wine


Improper preservation can impair the quality and safety of the food, it is important to learn correct preservation techniques. Food that has been properly preserved will keep indefinitely; however, for the best flavor and texture, use within one year. Only the quality suffers with lengthy storage.

Rooftop Gardening Rooftops gardens are very often container gardens on a roof, using containers of varying sizes, though raised beds and greenhouses can be constructed on rooftops. Rooftop gardens are an efficient use of underutilized space, they help minimize stormwater run-off from roofs, and they add thermal mass to the top of buildings. Like container gardening, rooftop gardening permits growing plants in places where soil and space are unsuitable or non-existent for gardening. Before planning a rooftop garden, assure that the structural integrity of the building and the load-bearing capacity of the roof can safely hold the weight of all the added materials for and people tending to the garden; consult a licensed engineer. Safe and easy access for the transport of people and materials to the rooftop, as well as access to water for the plants is also necessary.

Root Cellar Storage Conditions Very cold and humid 30-45°F 95-99% RH

Cold and dry 32-40°F and 6075% RH

Very cold and less humid 32-45°F and 8095% RH Roots Nuts Cabbage Tubers Onions Apples brassicas garlic grapes Table 11. Different crops require different storage conditions.

Root Cellars Root cellars were once very common in rural areas. Families fortunate enough to have a spring on their property often sited the root cellar over the spring; the cool water allowed items like milk to be stored without spoiling. Root cellars offer protection from freezing temperatures and are an excellent way to store certain foods for winter consumption. The benefits of a root cellar include reduced electricity costs, both in storing food and in processing, there is no need to heat water for canning, or to purchase and sterilize jars and lids. Money is also saved in the cost of the food itself, food produced at home during summer is cheaper than purchasing an expensive melon would be in January. A root cellar can provide much more space than a refrigerator; size can be tailored to the amount of food to be stored and the number of people to be fed. A root cellar is usually constructed by digging into a hillside, and often has chambers that provide different storage conditions. A stand alone root cellar will likely require state and local permits. Root cellars can be built into a corner of an existing basement next to at least one exterior wall, preferably with a window that can be retrofitted with a vent system. The advantage to a basement root cellar is that no outdoor trips are needed during cold winter months. Closets and attic spaces can serve as food storage areas but must be insulated well, not heated during the winter, and kept below 65°F, though many foods require much colder temperatures. Root cellars work by conduction, convection, and thermal mass to provide optimal temperature and humidity for storing produce.

Cool and humid 40-50° and 8595% RH

Warmer and dry 40-60°F and 6080% RH

Cucumbers Peppers tomatoes

Squash Melons Sweet potatoes




Conduction uses the constant temperature of the earth found a few feet below the surface to keep temperatures cool. The temperature below frost level remains a fairly constant 52°F or so. Convection is important to release warm air and bring in cooler air, but to vent away moisture that would otherwise cause spoilage. The thermal mass of thick masonry walls along with the contents stored in the cellar help to maintain an even temperature. A thermometer is essential for the root cellar; one with minimum/maximum readings will give information about temperature fluctuations. Design considerations for building a root cellar include siting it out of direct sun; a north-facing hillside is ideal. Vents located above the winter snow line and protected with a gable or some other means to keep precipitation out are necessary. In a large or tightly enclosed cellar, both an air intake and an outlet are needed. Storing canned food is not recommended in a root cellar because the humidity level required to keep root crops will rust the lids. Table 11 outlines the five climate zones in a root cellar and the crops that store best in each. Carrots and other roots do best when stored in moist sand, sawdust, or moss. Apples and other fruits need to be in an area near a vent to allow ethylene gas to escape. With a well-planned root cellar, even fresh tomatoes, tender dandelion shoots, nuts, pears and cantaloupes can all be preserved. It is important to check the items stored regularly and use or discard any that are beginning to show signs of spoilage. Chaisson, Chris. The Return of the Root Cellar. Vermont’s Local Banquet, Spring 2009. Bubel, Mike and Nancy. Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables (Second Edition). Storey Communications, Inc.

Season Extension Greenhouses range widely in shape, size, and materials. They can be constructed from wood, PVC piping, metal, or a combination of the three and either be connected to an existing building or stand alone. Greenhouses are controlled environments where seedlings can be started early, and food produced late into the season, or

Cold frame

even throughout the winter. In addition, they create a warm and enjoyable place to spend time. Cold frames are generally smaller structures compared to greenhouses. They are typically four-sided boxes with a clear lid, usually placed at an angle to capture sunlight. They offer a cheap and less imposing form of season extension compared to building a greenhouse. They offer a gardener a tool to moderate the weather and extend food production into parts of the year when regular crop production is not possible.

Seed Saving Seed saving is the ancient and crucial practice of collecting, storing, and later planting the seeds or other reproductive material from open-pollinated plants, both annuals and perennials. Collecting seeds is relatively easy, and can be done entirely by hand, on occasion using simple tools like screens to speed the process of separating seeds from their parent plant material. It is important to allow seeds to dry before storing them in airtight glass or metal containers in a cold, dark place. Seeds can be planted according to the growing season of their parent plant.


Silvopasture Silvopasture is a highly managed form of agroforestry that combines livestock with forest ecosystems. Forage crops are grown in the understory of timber stands and livestock are introduced, creating a multi-functional form of production. Both the livestock and the forest stand are managed as one system, utilizing unused understory land. This practice offers economic benefits to the farmer, ecological benefits of species diversity to the natural system, and adds beauty to the landscape. Agroforestry Notes, 1997. Silvopasture: An Agroforestry Practice. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. November 1997.




Arbor Day Foundation. Accessed February 2009. ATTRA-National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. http://attra. Accessed March 2009. Burnham, Mrs. Walter E., Mrs. Elliot H. Taylor, Mrs. Herbert P. Ware, and Mr. Thomas W. Walkins. 1958. History and Tradition of Shelburne, MA. History and Tradition of Shelburne Committee. Burros, Marian. 2008. “Uniting Around Food to Save an Ailing Town,” New York Times, October 7, 2008. Children’s Health Environmental Coalition HEALTHEHOUSE/education/articles-detail.asp?Main_ID=146. Accessed January 2009. Christensen, Roxanne 2007. “SPIN-Farming: advancing urban agriculture from pipe dream to populist movement.” In Sustainability: Science, practice, and policy, Fall 2007. Volume 3, Issue 2. pdfs/SPIN%20Article-SSPP%20essay.pdf. Accessed March 2009. Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) http://www. Accessed January 2009. Cross, Beulah. 1979. The History of Buckland, Volume II 1935-1979. Town of Buckland. Cuba Agriculture Information. January 2009. Davis, Donald R., Melvin D. Epp, and Hugh D. Riordan. 2004. “Changes in USDA Food Composition Data for 43 Garden Crops”, 1950 to 1999. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 23, No. 6, pp. 669-682. Deerfield River Watershed Association. Accessed March 2009. Dodson Associates, Ltd. 2003. Open Space Planning for Five Deerfield Watershed Towns: Mapping and Geographic Analysis.

Eoeea/docs/eea/water/deerfield_openspaceplan.pdf Donahue, Brian. 1999. Reclaiming the Commons: Community Farms and Forests in a New England Town. Yale University Press. Enriquez, Laura J. 2000. Development Report No. 14. Cuba’s New Agricultural Revolution: The Transformation of Food Crop Production in Contemporary Cuba. Published online by Food First: Institute for Food and Development Policy. ( Accessed January 2009. Funes-Monzote, Fernando. “Towards sustainable agriculture in Cuba.” ( Towards%20sustainable%20agriculture%20in%20Cuba%201st%20 August%5B1%5D.pdf). Accessed January 2009 Healthy City, Burlington, Vermont. healthy_city/index.shtml#farm. Accessed February 2009. Hewitt, Ben. 2008a. “The Town That Food Saved,” Gourmet Magazine, October 20, 2008. Hewitt, Ben. 2008b. “A Giant Cheese Cave,” Gourmet Magazine, October 20, 2008. Jacke, Dave and E. Toensmeier. 2005. Edible Forest Gardens, Ecological Vision, Theory, Design, and Practice for Temperate Climate Permaculture. Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, Vermont. Jeavons, John. 2006. How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible On Less Land than You Ever Thought Possible (Seventh Edition). Ten Speed Press. Berkeley, CA. Jorgensen, N.1978. A Sierra Club Guide Naturalist’s Guide: Southern New England. Sierra Club Books, San Francisco. Louisiana State University-Ag Center Research and Extension (LSU). Accessed February 2009. Kansas State University. KSU horticulture report Vegetable Garden Planting Guide. Kansas State University. Available online at http://www.oznet.ksu.



edu/library/hort2/mf315.pdf. Accessed February 4, 2009. Manataka American Indian Council. html. Accessed January 2009. Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. http://www.mass. gov/agr/facts/franklin.htm. Accessed March 2009. Mayhew Tools. Accessed March 2009. MyFarm. Accessed February 2009. Nason, Rev. Elias. 1873. Gazetteer of Massachusetts. B.B. Russell, Boston. Nationmaster,,-Massachusetts. Accessed March 2009.


Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, 2004. Core Habitats of Shelburne Falls. BioMap and Living Waters: Guiding Land Conservation for Biodiversity and Conservation in Massachusetts, pp. 1-2. Neighborhood Gardens Association (NGA). Accessed March 2009. Nuestras Raíces. Accessed March 2009. Oppenheim, S. 2001. “Alternative Agriculture in Cuba.” American Entomologist, Winter. Vol. 47, Number 4. Pg’s 216-227. Available online at: http:// pdf. Accessed January 2009. Path to Freedom. Accessed March 2009 Peters, C.J., N.L. Bills, J.L. Wilkins, and G.W. Fick. 2008. “Foodshed analysis and its relevance to sustainability” in Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, Cambridge University Press. Peters, C.J., A.J. Lembo, G.. Fick. n.d. A Tale of Two Foodsheds: Mapping Local Food Production Capacity Relative to Local Food Requirements. Cornell

University, Ithaca, New York. Peters, C.J., J.L. Wilkins, and G.W. Fick. 2008. “Testing a complete-diet model for estimating the land resource requirements of food consumption and agricultural carrying capacity: The New York State example.” Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems: 22(2); 145–153. Pirog, R., T. Van Pelt, K. Enshayan, and E. Cook. 2001. “Food, Fuel, and Freeways: An Iowa perspective on how far food travels, fuel usage, and greenhouse gas emissions.” Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Rathke, Lisa. 2008. “Giant cheese cave gives small makers new opportunities.” Associated Press. articles/2008/02/29. Accessed March 13, 2009. Rosset, P.M. 2000. Hungry for Profit: The Agribusiness Threat to Farmers, Food and the Environment. Edited by Fred Magdoff, John Bellamy Foster and Frederick H. Buttel. New York: Monthly Review Press pp. 203-213. Russell, Howard S. 1976. A Long Deep Furrow, Three Centuries of Farming in New England. University Press of New England, Hanover, New Hampshire. Seattle Urban Farm Company. Accessed February 2009. Shelburne Falls Area Business Association. Accessed January 2009. Somerton Tanks Farm. Accessed March 2009. SPIN Farming. Accessed March 2009. Thompson, E.H, and E.R. Sorenson. 2000. Wetland, Woodland, Wildland: A Guide to the Natural Communities of Vermont. Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Nature Conservancy. Town of Buckland, Massachusetts. 2006. Zoning Bylaws. Approved by the Office of the Attorney General, January 31, 2006.


Town of Shelburne. Accessed January 2009. Town of Shelburne, Massachusetts. 2008. Zoning Bylaws. May 6, 2008. U.S. Census Bureau. 1990 and 2000 Census Information. http://www. Accessed February 2009. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Code of Federal Regulations in Title 16, Part 1303 U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2002. “Profiling Food Consumption in America.” Accessed March 2009. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2005. “Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Accessed January 2009. U.S. Department of Agriculture. National Agroforestry Center (NAC) Accessed March 2009. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. Soil Survey of Franklin County, Massachusetts. Issued February 1967. United State National Arboretum. “Climate zones.” http://www.usna.usda. gov/Hardzone/ushzmap.html. Accessed January 2009. U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. 2005. Electronic Information Bulletin Number 3. C. Dimitri, A. Effland, and N. Conklin. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Accessed March 2009. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). 1941. Greenfield, MA Quandrangle USGS 15 Minute Series. University of Illinois Extension., accessed February 2009.

University of Massachusetts. “Soil Lead Levels: Interpretations and Recommendations,” University of Massachusetts-Amherst Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory. University of Massachusetts Extension. “How much water does my vegetable garden require?” Accessed March 2009. United States National Arboretum. “Climate Zones.” http://www.usna. Accessed January 2009 Vermont-towns. 2009. Accessed March 12, 2009. Wessels Living History Farm. Accessed February 2009. Wessels, T. 1997. Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England. The Countryman Press, Woodstock, Vermont. Wheeler, Guy. 2009. Shelburne Falls Fire and Water District Superintendent, personal communication. Wikipedia: Accessed January 2009 The World Resource Institute. 2001. People and ecosystems: The fraying web of life. Living In Ecosystems. United Nations Development Program, World Bank, World Resources Institute. ( Accessed January 2009. Wright, Leslie. 2009. “Ideal Setting,” Vermont Life, Spring 2009. Your Backyard Farmer. Accessed

February 2009.




IN THIS SECTION APPENDIX A Agricultural Yield Charts APPENDIX B Recommended Reading



Appendix A: Agricultural Yields Tables The following three tables are provided to give the gardener in Shelburne Falls an idea of what sorts of produce and when it would be in season. These are not comprehensive; any gardener who wants more information is encouraged to consult the resources

that the information in the tables was drawn from and the resources listed in the Recommended Reading section (Appendix B).

Typical Season Length for Common Annual Crops The growing season table is based on one developed by the Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture. A gardener in western Massachusetts could expect similar growing season dates given the local climate.





Expected Yields of Annual Crops per 100 feet of row The following table provides information on expected crop yields for many common annual vegetables. Information is gathered from three different sources so that gardeners can compare the range


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

of potential yields. Individual results may vary given the unique site characteristics, growing conditions, microclimates, and soil nutrient levels of each local property.

Louisiana State University

Kansas State University


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

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.

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.


Okra Onions (plants or sets) Parsnips Peas (southern) Peas (English) Pea (snow) 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)

175 lbs. (6 bu.) 220 lbs. n/a 20 lbs. shelled 40 lbs. 65 lbs. 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

*Jeavons uses a slightly different calculation to determine crop yields, measuring yields as the amount grown in 100 square feet. This is comparable to the linear measure of 100 feet, if it is assumed the row is 1 foot wide.

100 lbs. 100 lbs. 100 lbs. 40 lbs. 20 lbs. n/a 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

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 a range of crop yields for biointensive methods. The 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.


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


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

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.

Jacke and Toensmeier* 1-40 lbs. 1-30 bu. 1-2 bu. 3-4 bu. 1-2 qts. 4-8 qts. 8-10 lbs. at age 10 11-33 lbs. 1-2 bu. 1 bu. ž bu. 2 bu. at age 10 8-10 lbs. 3-5 qts. 3-5 qts.


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. 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.

Dewberry Elderberry Filbert (Hazelnut) Gooseberry Grapes, table Grapes, wine Heartnut Hickory, shagbark Hickory, shellbark Jostaberry Kiwi, hardy Lignonberry Mulberry Oak, bur Oak, Schutte’s Pawpaw Peach, dwarf

2-4 qts. 15+ lbs. 20-25 lbs. 4-6 qts. 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.

*Jacke, Dave and E. Toensmeier. 2005 (revised 2007). Edible Forest Gardens, Ecological Vision, Theory, Design, and Practice for Temperate Climate Permaculture. Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction,VT

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.

Jeavons, John. 2006. How to Grow More Vegetables (Seventh Edition). Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA †


Appendix B: Recommended Reading This list offers a few suggestions for those readers who want more information. This is by no means a complete list, there are many other resources readily available, including abundant information on the internet. Food Security For Hunger-Proof Cities: Sustainable Urban Food Systems Mustafa Koc, Rod MacRae, Jennifer Welsh, Luc J. A. Mougeot


Civic Agriculture: Reconnecting Farm, Food, and Community Thomas A. Lyson Growing Better Cities: Urban Agriculture for Sustainable Development Luc J. A. Mougeot Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty Mark Winne Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System Raj Patel Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times (Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series) Steve Solomon

Eating Locally Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, and Fair Carlo Petrini In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto Michael Pollan The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals Michael Pollan Food Preservation How to Dry Foods D. DeLong How to Dry Fruits and Vegetables at Home Food Editors. Farm Journal Putting Food By (3rd ed.) R. Hertzberg, B. Vaughan, and J. Greene Wild Fermentation Sandor Ellix Katz


Gardening and Composting Sunset Western Garden Book Kathleen Norris Brenzel

How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine John Jeavons

Worms Eat My Garbage, How to Set Up and Maintain a Worm Composting System Mary Appelhof

Mushroom Cultivator: A Practical Guide to Growing Mushrooms at Home Paul Stamets and J. S. Chilton

Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening Louise Riotle

Guide to Mushroom Growing Fred Atkins

Roses Love Garlic: Companion Planting and Other Secrets of Flowers Louise Riotle All New Square Foot Gardening Mel Bartholomew Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding! Patricia Lanza Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Resource for Every Gardener Edited by Fern Marshall Bradley and Barbara W. Ellis The Edible Garden Hazel White and Janet H. Sanchez

The Biology and Cultivation of Edible Mushrooms. S.T. Chang and W. A. Hayes


Perennial Vegetables Eric Toensmeier Permaculture Edible Forest Gardens, Ecological Vision, Theory, Design, and Practice for Temperate Climate Permaculture Dave Jacke with Eric Toensmeier Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America Lee Allen Peterson Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture Toby Hemenway Introduction to Permaculture


Bill Mollison and Reny Mia Slay Sustainable Cities: A New Design Synthesis for Cities, Suburbs, and Towns Sim Van der Ryn and Peter Calthorpe Urban Agriculture The Integral Urban House: Self-Reliant Living in the City The Farallones Institute Sustainable Cities: Concepts and Strategies for Eco-City Development Edited by Bob Walter, Lois Arkin, and Richard Crenshaw


Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems: Principles and Practices Peter Newman and Isabella Jennings City Bountiful: A Century of Community Gardening in America Laura J. Lawson

Garden Your City Barbara Hobens Feldt and Paula Brinkman

Sustainability and Agriculture Becoming Native to this Place Wes Jackson

Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community Heather Coburn Flores

Meeting the Expectations of the Land: Essays in Sustainable Agriculture and Stewardship Edited by Wes Jackson, Wendell Berry, Bruce Colman

Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn Fritz Haeg, Diana Balmori, Rosalind Creasy, Michael Pollan, Lesley Stern, Michelle Christman, Stan Cox, Michael Foti

Ecology and Natural History Wetland, Woodland, Wildland: A Guide to the Natural Communities of Vermont Elizabeth H. Thompson and Eric R. Sorenson

Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes: Designing Urban Agriculture for Sustainable Cities Andre Viljoen

The Forgotten Pollinators Stephen Buchmann and Gary Paul Nabhan

On Good Land: The Autobiography of an Urban Farm Michael Ableman and Alice Waters The Fatal Harvest Reader: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture. Edited By Andrew Kimbrell


If we don’t get sustainability in agriculture first, sustainability will not happen. Wes Jackson