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Rural Commonwealth Posts

Ag Summit Follow-up Projects

More than 60 people attended last weekend’s Ag Summit in Buckland. Based on notes from the Summit’s four workshops, questions attendees asked legislators, and feedback we received after the event, it is clear that the agricultural community in western Massachusetts has several distinct needs. Based on this information, Rural Commonwealth is launching the following projects. Hands-on Grants Training Rural Commonwealth will deliver a series of how-to workshops in 2018 that introduce farmers to relevant grant opportunities and provide hands-on training. In each workshop, we will focus on a specific grant or two, highlighting 1) what each grant offers and 2) eligibility,…

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Ag Summit Recap

Despite freezing rain, over sixty people made it to Mohawk Trail High School on Sunday for the Rural Commonwealth Ag Summit. The four, morning workshops covered small batch food production, municipal issues for agriculture, marketing ag products, and product distribution were lively centers for sharing information and experience. Small Batch Food Production: Michelle Olanyk, Owner and Fudge Artist at Mo’s Fudge Factor told her story of growing her business from kitchen based to retail and wholesale delivery. Municipal leaders and ag business owners – bridging the gap: Jay Healy led a discussion of how ag businesses and towns work together…

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Small-Batch Food Production with Michelle Olanyk, Owner and Fudge Artist at Mo’s Fudge Factor

This week, we’re highlighting the wonderful folks who will be presenting workshops and leading discussion groups at the Rural Commonwealth Ag Summit on Sunday, February 11. This free, one-day event will be held at Mohawk Trail Regional High School and is made possible with a grant from Greenfield Savings Bank. The ideas for sessions at the Summit came from the farmers, foresters, and wood product producers we met and interviewed for our Western Franklin County Business Report. Small-Batch Food Production (9:30 – 10:30) with Michelle R. Olanyk, Owner and Fudge Artist at Mo’s Fudge Factor I started Mo’s in 2005, I had worked…

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Farm product distribution session with Marty’s Local and Sidehill Farm

This week, we’re highlighting the wonderful folks who will be presenting workshops and leading discussion groups at the Rural Commonwealth Ag Summit on Sunday, February 11. This free, one-day event will be held at Mohawk Trail Regional High School and is made possible with a grant from Greenfield Savings Bank. The ideas for sessions at the Summit came from the farmers, foresters, and wood product producers we met and interviewed for our Western Franklin County Business Report.  Product Distribution (11:00am – noon) This session features one of the owners of Sidehill Farm (either Amy Klippenstein or Paul Lacinski, depending on who needs…

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Rural Commonwealth hosts Small Town Summit in Dalton

On January 15, 2018, Rural Commonwealth convened a meeting of the Small Town Summit in the Selectboard Room in the Dalton Town Hall. Thirty Selectboard and Finance Committee members, along with other interested folks, filled the room to discuss issues affecting our small towns. Along with our faithful folks, we are happy to add people from Clarksburg and Lanesborough. Rural Commonwealth is tracking legislation that affects small towns. Now that the Governor’s budget has been published, we will be preparing a letter available to towns wanting to urge consideration of our rural needs. Issues include lack of revenue for towns,…

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Municipal leaders and ag business owners – bridging the gap

This week, we’re highlighting the wonderful folks who will be presenting workshops and leading discussion groups at the Rural Commonwealth Ag Summit on Sunday, February 11. This free, one-day event will be held at Mohawk Trail Regional High School and is made possible with a grant from Greenfield Savings Bank. The ideas for sessions at the Summit came from the farmers, foresters, and wood product producers we met and interviewed for our Western Franklin County Business Report.  Municipal leaders and ag business owners – bridging the gap (9:30am – 10:30am) Many of our rural towns are “right to farm” communities, but the municipal…

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Ag Summit marketing workshop with Beth Lewand of Cricket Creek Farm

This week, we’re highlighting the wonderful folks who will be presenting workshops and leading discussion groups at the Rural Commonwealth Ag Summit on Sunday, February 11. This free, one-day event will be held at Mohawk Trail Regional High School and is made possible with a grant from Greenfield Savings Bank. The ideas for sessions at the Summit came from the farmers, foresters, and wood product producers we met and interviewed for our Western Franklin County Business Report.  Ag Business Marketing Workshop (9:30am – 10:30am) Are you looking for ideas about how to market your ag business? If so, you’re not…

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Ag Summit – February 11, 2018

Farmers, small-batch food producers, foresters, wood product producers, and municipal leaders are invited to attend a free Ag Summit on Sunday, February 11 at Mohawk Trail Regional High School (24 Ashfield Road, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370). This one-day event, hosted by Rural Commonwealth and made possible by a grant from Greenfield Savings Bank, will feature workshops in the morning, discussion groups at lunch, and presentations by federal and state legislators on agricultural issues in the afternoon. The event is free. Attendees should bring their own brown bag lunches. Registration begins at 9:00am, with workshops starting at 9:30. In anticipation of…

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Legislative updates

We’re following nearly 90 pending bills in the Massachusetts legislature that concern rural communities across the state. As you can see on the spreadsheet below, many of these bills have been in committee for months, and in order to move forward, they must be released from their respective committees by February 7. Between now and then, we will be tracking the progress of these bills and sending out legislative alerts to our email list as appropriate. These bills also will be a topic on the agenda of tomorrow night’s Small Town Summit in Dalton. If you are interested in joining…

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Meeting in Boston about rural economic development

Yesterday, Beth Bandy and Toby Gould met with Jay Ash, Secretary of Economic Development and Matt Beaton, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs at 100 Cambridge Avenue in Boston. At Secretary Beaton’s request, we presented several current Rural Commonwealth projects. Along with the Assistant Secretary for the Environment, Dan Sieger, a good conversation ensued showing interest in the work of RC. Secretary Beaton was particularly interested in the Ag Summit to be held on February 11, 2018 at Mohawk Trail High School. He stated that he would like to listen and hear what folks in agriculture and forestry have to…

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