The public is invited to share ideas during a Listening Session for the Massachusetts Food System Plan on Tuesday, February 3 from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. in the Campus Center at UMass Amherst. The purpose is to provide the planning team a wide variety of perspectives regarding ways to improve our food system. A statewide plan, incorporating input from stakeholders throughout the Commonwealth, has been in the works since July, 2014 and is scheduled to be ready for review in December 2015.
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.
The UMass Amherst Design Center in Court Square has had its lease cancelled by the City of Springfield to make way for new development. The Center is directed by MIchael DiPasquale, extension assistant professor in the University's Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning. Channel 22/WWLP December 2, 2014.
More than 200 vegetable farmers, agriculture students, and other members of the Bay State’s agriculture community attended two free workshops designed to help improve the soil’s capacity to function as a vital living system that sustains plant, animal and human health.
Many tomato growers are finding it impossible to catch up with the harvest after a blight ruined their crops. “It has been very serious, particularly for organic farmers,” said Ruth V. Hazzard, vegetable specialist for the UMass Extension, explaining that the fungicide they can use for late blight is more limited and not as effective in controlling the spread of the disease as those that can be used more broadly by non-organic farmers. The blight is affecting farmers and home gardeners in Massachusetts.
Area farmers are once again on the front lines of weather patterns that in recent weeks have brought cooler, rainier weather to the region. That’s translated into problems for some growers of potatoes and tomatoes as well as for those growing vine crops such as pumpkins and squash, says University of Massachusetts Amherst Extension vegetable specialist Ruth Hazzard. (Daily Hampshire Gazette, 8/22/14)
A “beehive of activity” had the campus “abuzz” on April 23 at one of the public events held during Pioneer Valley Bee Week, a western Massachusetts initiative to raise awareness about bee health, bee hives and bee habitat. The event was also one in a series of 2014 events commemorating a century of Extension service and education across the nation.
In 1974, UMass Extension vegetable specialist John Howell visited area farmers to talk them into coming to Gothic Street on Saturday mornings to sell their produce directly to customers at a little thing he was trying to start called a farmers market. Forty years later they are celebrating success as one of the first in the state.
Looking for a breath of spring somewhere… anywhere? Visit Durfee Conservatory’s new website as well as the greenhouses! This information-packed website with lovely floral images will help you remember that spring is arriving soon. The Durfee Conservatory is a bit of a hidden gem right on campus. For 147 years, this site has offered visitors a delightful way to experience exotic, home garden, bonsai and other fascinating horitcultural gems plants up close.
While much has changed since Gretchen May first started coming to work in the courthouse in Greenfield for the Franklin County Extension Service in 1977, a lot has stayed the same. While the geography and the subject areas of May’s work have changed over the years, her overall goals and style of work have remained consistent. “My work has always been centered on responding to people’s needs. We learned what was needed and then went out and helped people.