City converts vacant land into community farm

Historic farm preserved as community agricultural co-op
[image credit: Grow Food Northampton]

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.

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Category: Hunger


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Article by: Dave

Dave Cannon is a Seattle-based entrepreneur and consultant to nonprofits and small businesses. He loves Thai food and takes terrible photographs. You can follow him on Linkedin.
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