BY KAREN SCHWALBE
On a chilly March morning, the smell of fresh-baked muffins and even fresher coffee wafted out the door of Reed’s farm stand – the home of Under the Sun Farm. It was a welcoming first impression to a new business in North Dighton. Milton Teixeira, along with his wife, Caitlin, have recently opened in the location of the former Reed Brothers Produce and Garden Center, a fixture in the Dighton/Rehoboth area. The farm stand is open and stocked with the basics, including the all-important coffee and on-site bakery, to accommodate longstanding regular customers. Under the Sun Farm sells both its own produce as well as more traditional merchandise making it a destination market for the neighborhood. This past weekend the greenhouses officially opened with flowers, seedlings, baskets and bedding plants. I was able to catch up with Milton and Caitlin as they were preparing for the upcoming season.
Milton has been farming since the age of eight and his passion for it hasn’t diminished. A graduate of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, Milton is obviously very good at what he does. Read more →
BY KENDRA MURRAY
If there’s one thing I’d love to see flourishing in my garden, I’d have to say coffee plants. However, with our coldest days sometimes dipping below zero, I think I’m out of luck. Despite the fact that I’ll never have a coffee plantation in my yard (as long as I’m living in Massachusetts, anyhow), I can still pick up some locally roasted beans from Jim’s Organic Coffee (and that’s just as good)!
I had the pleasure of visiting Jim’s Organic Coffee, talking with owner Jim Cannell and getting a great tour and company history from Sandy Davis, the Marketing Manager. Before we sat down, Sandy offered me a cup of coffee. I was given the choice between the Jo-Jo’s Java, a medium roast and a best-selling blend, or the Sumatra French Roast, a single-origin dark roast. Though I was curious to try the most popular flavor, I stuck to my usual: a dark roast, black. Sandy poured me a tall cup of the Sumatra. Deep and bold, it is the only single origin dark roast that Jim’s offers. One word: fantastic.
Jim Cannell started the first all organic coffee roasting company in the United States. After selling that business, Jim’s Organic Coffee was born. Twenty years later, Jim’s is still committed to roasting a quality bean and maintaining quality relationships with the farmers who grow those beans. Jim himself has visited nearly all of the growers who supply him through organic co-ops across the globe. Read more →
NORTHAMPTON, MA, April 25, 2016–Nearly 30 percent of New England’s farmers are likely to exit farming in the next 10+ years, and nine out of ten are farming without a young farmer alongside. This is according to new analysis of U.S. Census of Agriculture data that was part of a study released today by American Farmland Trust (AFT) and Land For Good (LFG). The year-long study— that also included focus groups of older farmers—sheds new light on what will be needed to facilitate the transition of farms and farmland in New England to a next generation of farmers. At no point is a farm’s future more at risk than during this transition.
Ninety-two percent of New England’s 10,369 senior farmers do not have a farm operator under age 45 working with them. While this does not mean that these farmers don’t have a succession plan, it suggests that the future of many of these farms is uncertain.
“It was a real wake-up call to see how few farmers age 65+ have a next generation working on the farm with them,” said Cris Coffin, Policy Director for Land For Good, who directed the study. “The 1.4 million acres these senior farmers manage and $6.45 billion in land and agricultural infrastructure they own will change hands in one way or another, To keep this land and infrastructure in farming as it transitions, we will need better policy tools and increased support services to exiting and entering farmers.” Read more →
The purpose of the Ag-Energy Special Projects Grant is to provide funding for agricultural energy projects that would typically require higher capital cost but potentially yield greater savings and/or positive agricultural impacts in an effort to improve the farm’s energy efficiency and to facilitate adoption of less conventional, alternative clean energy technology applications. By implementing these projects, the agricultural operation will demonstrate novel ideas that will help farms become more sustainable while contributing to the goals of: the MA Food Systems Plan; MA Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Implementation; and the MA Global Warming Solutions Act; and to advance technologies that can be replicated at other agricultural operations in Massachusetts.
AgEnergy Special Projects is a competitive, re-imbursement grant program that funds specifically specified project categories up to varying amounts according to the project category. All projects must be completed by June 30, 2017. The RFR deadline for applications is June 10, 2016.
In addition to posting on the state website COMMBUYS (www.commbuys.com/bso/), Ag-Energy Special Project Grant details and application are also available at www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/agr/about/divisions/ag-energy.html.