A pandemic, lockdowns and inflation expose fragile food-supply techniques. Nice Barrington is seeking to repair that | Southern Berkshires






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Elizabeth Eager, of Indian Line Farm in South Egremont, together with Noah Cohen, checks the standard of tomatoes harvested for his or her Group Supported Agriculture final 12 months. 



GREAT BARRINGTON — Look out on the expanse of rolling hills and fields, and it is a surprise anybody in Berkshire County can’t get sufficient wholesome meals.

Or {that a} grocery store could be out of eggs.

Nice Barrington is seeking to change this incongruity and the reliance on a now-shaky provide chain. Entry to wholesome meals and a spot to develop it are central to an initiative that quickly will take form.

The city held its first “Rising Higher Nice Barrington” assembly Feb. 3 to start envisioning a plan to offset the reliance on company meals techniques, significantly throughout unstable financial intervals or amid climate shifts that would have an effect on the availability chain.

This could imply, partially, extra rising of meals on the town, and ensuring residents can afford it or develop it themselves.

“That is of explicit significance because the local weather disruptions and financial shocks stretch our meals system and our meals {dollars},” stated City Planner and Assistant City Supervisor Christopher Rembold, who’s the undertaking supervisor for the trouble.






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Tess Adams harvests purple carrots at Indian Line Farm in South Egremont. Entry to wholesome meals and a spot to develop it are central to an initiative that quickly will take form in Nice Barrington.




The city will maintain a second public assembly, by way of Zoom, on March 3 as it really works to assemble concepts from residents and people already engaged on these points with numerous organizations.

The undertaking is funded by a $10,000 state grant that may pay for pupil consultants from the Conway Faculty of Panorama Design in Northampton to drag collectively all of the ideas, analyze land use and flesh out sensible options that it’ll current this spring.

Conway college students have completed this earlier than. Initiatives embrace evaluation and suggestions for different communities, together with Northampton and Springfield.

Orchestrating the trouble are Nice Barrington’s Agricultural Fee and Strategic Sustainability Committee.

The native meals resilience concept isn’t new. Teams like Berkshire Grown, Berkshire Agricultural Ventures and the Nice Barrington Farmers’ Market lengthy have labored to assist farms and farmers.



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In the meantime, different organizations and meals pantries have helped ensure that residents don’t go hungry amid a rising meals insecurity disaster that the coronavirus pandemic worsened. Rising inflation is deepening the issues. So is the rising price of housing and land, making it onerous to discover a place to develop meals.

Rembold informed The Eagle that this undertaking is constructing on the persevering with work of all these teams, and making a mannequin that would clear up the issue at its root.






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Farmer Sean Stanton greets his pigs at North Plain Farm in Nice Barrington. The city has begun envisioning a plan to offset the reliance on company meals techniques, significantly throughout unstable financial intervals or amid climate shifts that would have an effect on the availability chain.




The Agricultural Fee additionally has labored towards this effort. It created a pollinator plan in 2018 to make sure a sturdy ecosystem. It now needs to drag collectively authorities with the enterprise, faculty, farming and religion communities to assist clear up the meals downside, stated Fee Chair Vivan Orlowski, who stated the pandemic is spurring momentum.

“Now, extra persons are recognizing the urgency of creating native options,” she stated, noting creator Michael Pollan’s article concerning the pandemic revelation of “The Illness of Our Meals Provide,” knocking the grocery store mannequin of abundance and low-cost costs that couldn’t be maintained throughout a disaster.



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No matter is deliberate for land use in Nice Barrington, fee member Luke Pryjma hopes folks will do not forget that this land is sacred to the Stockbridge Munsee Group Band of Mohican Indians, whose ancestors have been compelled off their homelands.

“We welcome of us to carry the historical past,” he stated.