Posts Tagged ‘Northampton’

Two Videos from the Connecticut Valley

September 30, 2010

Connecticut River at Pittsburg, NH - Photo: Jerry and Marcy Monkman

Yes, work on Land&People is finally winding down (thanks for asking) and I am beginning to pay more attention to the world outside my office.

Which is why I am able to tell you about the arrival of not one, but two videos from the Connecticut River Valley, a place dear to my heart. In 1946, my parents arrived in Amherst, Massachusetts—in the heart of that valley—driving a World War II weapons carrier converted for domestic use and bearing yours truly as a babe in arms. I would live in the valley off and on for 37 years and would visit regularly for decades after that.

So I always pay special attention to TPL’s work along the Connecticut River. Jerry Monkman, one of our favorite Land&People photographers and a friend of TPL, has crafted a lovely 15-minute video on the river and the work of several conservation groups, including TPL, to protect it.

For an ex-pat New Englander, looking at Jerry’s photos is the next best thing to going home. While the interviews with conservationists are interesting, the real treat is to just sit and immerse yourself in the photos. A warning, though: don’t tell yourself that you’re only going to view a few minutes of the piece and then get back to work. That is not a feasible plan—at least not in my experience.

Farmland, Northampton, Mass. - Photo: Richard Shephard

The second video comes from Northampton, Massachusetts, across the river from Amherst—the closest big town to our small town in the 1950s. We called it “‘Hamp,” and I was tickled to see that the city is sometimes still referred to that way in the local media. Northampton is home to Smith College and in the heart of a “five-college area” that includes Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Hampshire colleges and the University of Massachusetts. Like many college towns, it has attracted an educated and progressive populace concerned with conservation and quality of life.

For about eight months, I have been following a complicated transaction in which TPL is acquiring two farms to make some of the land available for recreation and conservation and to preserve the best farmland for agriculture. Now a group of ‘Hamp residents has announced a fundraising effort to buy the agricultural land for a community farm. This story, in The Republican, a Springfield, Massachusetts newspaper, has the details.

Oh yes, the video. Well, this one is less than four minutes long, and its main job is to make a pitch for the funds. But if you are at all interested in community agriculture, then this one is also worth a look. The Northampton Community Farm is a truly ambitious effort—and one that makes me a little homesick. If we do a Land&People story about the project, I would almost have to go to go take a look, right?

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