Farms give way to urban development
When a historic farm in Florence, Massachusetts closed down, the city made plans to convert the land into sporting fields. A group of concerned citizens felt that the prime agricultural soil of the area would go to waste, and they worried about the dwindling food security of their town. They wanted a more public process to determine the eventual use of the land that would build the community while also remaining true to the integrity of the property.
Solution: Convert land into nonprofit community farm
After gathering hundreds of petitions, a coalition of community members succeeded in having the historic farm converted into a public agricultural cooperative. After incorporating as a nonprofit, they leased out parcels of farmland to local growers at affordable rates, producing fruits and vegetables for a new CSA program, grain for livestock and local breweries, and rotating livestock, with enough space left over for a large community garden and two baseball fields for good measure.
What could have been a sad story of agricultural decline and urban sprawl is now a model example of the power of smart land-use.
- Grow Food Northampton | Overview and History