Meeting: Growing food in Community

Amherst Growing Food in Community Meeting
Amherst Town Hall
June 7, 2012

(Pdf version)

Who is in the room and what is your interest?
Betsy Krogh – growing at home since the early 70’s including an edible forest garden, root
cellar, canning and drying, neighbors sharing eggs, expand the community gardens
Molly F alsetti-Yu – part of Transitions Amherst, teach at Smith, encourage students
Kathleen Doherty – UMass Permaculture, worked with Northampton to produce a
brochure on how to create a permaculture garden, more accessible to non-homeowners
Michelle Chandler – specialty micro-farm, hens and rabbits, Master Gardener, all about
growing food, canning
John Root – gardening for years, permaculture, working at Triple Brook, Earthwise
Landscaping is a new business, chair of refuse and recycling committee, need to compost
Julie Federman – Health Director, 5-year community transformation grant called “healthy
hampshire” looking at high rates of obesity, food and fitness at the policy level, how to
promote community gardens or local store, making food part of the local landscape
Valerie Cooley – teaches policy, knows food policy, students coming to home, social
entrepreneurship training, micro-agribusiness incubator
Bill Cooley – North Amherst, property which is overgrown, interest in bees and chickens
with neighbors, makes beer and mead, permaculture ideas into zoning, working with
Stockbridge students
Bernard Brennan – Amethyst Farm, Ag Commission, Transition Amherst, Master
Gardener, horses, bees, goats, maybe a cow, CSA member, grow community, host a CSA
and farmer training program, large herb garden, edible forest garden
Mona Naimark – Transition Amherst, compost toilets, yes I care, we are all needed
Sue Morrello – gardening in public spaces, apartments need public space, grow food
everywhere programs
Stephanie Ciccarello – Town Sustainability Coordinator, new position, town is supportive
of green issues and energy conservation, growing more food is important, students need
to be encouraged to grow food, education is needed
John Gerber – I would like to be a cheerleader for all of these wonderful ideas
Wide Ranging Discussion: Conservation Department manages community gardens and
it has been difficult to maintain, there are different models for manages community
gardens, clearing house or inventory to identify land opportunities for sharing space and
ideas, help people figure out how to share space with their neighbors, Gardening in
Community and garden together rather than dividing up plots works because it was
focused on social gathering and learning, community garden at the Survival Center, bread
and other food from the Survival Center to raise animals, Cambodian gardeners need
space, focus on different populations, shared kitchens for teaching workshops especially
connecting with the faith community – this will keep costs down, network to connect
people, yahoo group or phone number to call to connect people who want to plant with
land, growers dating service, gardensharing, online gardening clearinghouse, connect to
libraries, hyper-locavore, yardsharing, sharing backyards, perennial food gardens at
schools lower maintenance costs, is there a place to store equipment, tool library, seed
library, outreach to colleges, wish list on town web site, connection with ag school, does
the business school provide opportunities for students to gain experience, lets focus on
hunger, lets feed the hungry, Rachels Kitchen for gleaning, glean orchards, and more.

Some Specific Ideas
 canning workshops
 edible landscape trees in town
 shade tree committee for gardening
 neighborhood experiments
 town farm
 town gardens
 gardening in community (work together)
 wish list on town web site
 community farm
 grow food and grow community
 Transitions Amherst event
 skill sharing open mike
 gleaning events
 Portland Fruit Tree Project (gleaning for the hungry)
 database connecting people
 work with Stockbridge students on town projects
 tool registry – by neighborhood
 nut trees at the Survival Center
 town and gown relations
 block party in fall with Alex and the BID
 engaging students
 educational event in the fall with Kathy Harrison
 permaculture brochure (like Northampton)

Next Steps
1. Stephanie will facilitate the next meeting on July 11 at 10:00am
2. We will invite others to the next meeting
3. We will identify 3 top ideas and form working groups to take action
Thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts and passion around growing food in
community in Amherst . Attending this meeting is not a commitment to continue to
engage in this conversation. Everyone is busy. However, we do hope you will continue
to share your time and energy to the best of your ability.
Thank you.

Betsy Krough
Molly Falsetti-Yu
Kathleen Doherty
John Root
Julie Federman
Valerie Cooley
Bill Cooley
Michelle Chandler
Bernard Brennan
Mona Namark
Sue Morrello
Stephanie Ciccarello
John Gerber

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