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Extension in Western Massachusetts

About Western Massachusetts

The western region of Massachusetts is composed of Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin Counties. The largest city in the region is Springfield, located in Hampden County, along the Interstate 91 corridor on the Connecticut River.

21st century 4-H

Many baby boomers grew up with the idea that 4-H was a great program for teaching kids how to farm. In our minds, we carry images of young children proudly holding blue ribbons won for their healthy calves and sheep at the county fair. This, we think, is 4-H.

Not so fast. 

Stewarding the Land

Standing on North Pleasant Street at the corner of Presidential Drive in Amherst, Massachusetts, your eyes are invited to span the wide expanse of a peaceful hayfield across the street. Now close your eyes and image a herd of creamy Jersey cows grazing on that hillside. Insert barns, a milking parlor, several homes, smaller farms to the right, hard-working farmers and farm hands and you will begin to understand the beehive of activity that took place on this field from the late 1800’s until 1964.

Research, Fieldwork, Scholarship

With the inauguration of its innovative Extension faculty positions, the Center for Agriculture is further bridging the gap between lab, classroom, and field. Eight professors join the cadre this year, bringing the current total of Extension faculty members to 14 and adding weight to UMass Amherst’s capacity to bring research-based solutions to critical real-world problems in fields such as green building, food production, and ecosystem management.

Building Trust Where They Live

Mothers going without… so their children can eat. Parents working round the clock… and then see no alternative to fast foods. Women returning home from correctional programs… without the skills to prepare meals for their families. This is the face of hunger and nutritional need—and these are people that UMass Extension serves daily from its Nutrition Education Program regional office on Wilbraham Street in Springfield.

They Got the Power

Back in the 1960s, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) got its start by knocking on doors—literally. The very first EFNEP Nutrition Educators, recruited from the communities in which they lived, spent their days going door to door, fresh groceries in hand, introducing themselves to low-income homemakers with the words “I’m from UMass, and I can show you how to get more food for your money.” One homemade chicken dinner later, and another family was on the road to healthier eating.