Since the Public Forum at the high school in the late fall, much has happened:
– Just Roots has held regular monthly meetings, usually at the CDC, on the third Thursday of the month. The meetings are open to all people interested in Just Roots and the creation of a Town Farm. To date, groups working on more specific tasks, such as the Community Garden, have been generated from the Thursday meetings. There is also a welcomed element of fun and socializing as we get to know one another.
– Just Roots published a 32 page pamphlet entitled “Town Farm Public Forum, The Community Speaks.” Dedicated to Tom MacLean, this pamphlet caught the spirit and the words of the forum. The pamphlet was printed by CopyCat and mailed to the forum sponsors, the Greenfield Town Council, the Mayor’s office, and the High School.
– The pamphlet articulated the will of the community as it was expressed at the Town Farm Public Forum. The community wants a community farm. They want the farm to be connected to the schools. They want the farm to provide access to food and land for those who wish access. They want the farm to provide training for the underserved.
– Soon after the pamphlet was mailed, the state made an offer to the town to place 31+ acres of the town farm in the state APR program in return for $200,000+.
– A few weeks later, the Mayor brought this offer to the town council and the council accepted it unanimously.
– Just Roots then formed a number of committees that started meeting weekly to begin to shape the public input gathered at the forum into a plan for a Community Farm. Conversation and/or collaborations continued over the months with the Franklin County CDC, Greenfield Community College, 4 Corners School, Greenfield High School, and Greenfield social service agencies.
– Just Roots began the process of incorporating as a non-profit corporation in February. Articles of Organization were filed with the state in early April. Federal Form 1023, requesting tax exempt status, will be filed with the IRS in the next two weeks.
– As part of the process of forming a corporation, a nine member Board of Directors for Just Roots was elected.
– In February, the Just Roots Board voted to hire Jay Lord as Director of Just Roots and David Paysnick as consulting farmer for the Town Farm project.
– In April, the Mayor officially accepted the state’s APR offer for the town.
– In mid-April, the town released a RFP for the town Farm and Just Roots began to assemble the committees’ work into a coherent plan in proposal form.
– The proposal is now moving through many edits to be ready for submission to the town by Mid-May. The proposal deadline is May 27th.
– The town will make its final decisions concerning the future town farm plan by June 3rd. We have our fingers crossed.
– For the second year, through the work of Loren Kramer, Just Roots has a thriving Community Garden on the Town Farm property.
– The collaboration with Four Corners elementary school is progressing to include a program of on-site gardens which will grow food for the school. The amount of food will be small at first, but the process has begun.
And that’s the news. Thank you for your continued interest and support and the many ideas you contributed at the forum, in committee meetings, and on the street, that have now grown into a community farm proposal. Hopefully, soon we will all be working in the cool of the early summer morning growing crops and community, open to all, on the community farm. The farm will need all of our skills and energy to make this green and tasty dream a reality.