Videos: Agricultural Commission Debates Open Space Plan, Keep Farming Survey

Here is a complete video recording in two segments of the 12/13/10 meeting of Northampton’s Agricultural Commission. Segment 1 is 60 minutes long. Segment 2 is 1 hour 49 minutes long. These recordings were made by Adam Cohen.

In Segment 1, the commissioners discuss the new city Open Space Plan (PDF) that appears on its way for approval. They seek reassurance that the plan will not encourage the public to trespass on private farmland, especially in the meadows area. This could happen if trails are built in certain locations. Current problems include:

  • People and their dogs are passing through fields, damaging crops

  • Dog waste can contaminate hay and make it unusable

  • People might get injured by farm equipment such as tractors. It’s not always easy for farmers to see them through the crops and other obstacles.

In Segment 2, the commissioners discuss the new Keep Farming initiative. Over the next few months, this initiative seeks to assess current agricultural activity in Northampton. This assessment faces some challenges, such as building trust with local farmers and protecting their proprietary information.

See also:

Videos: Meadow City Conservation Coalition Founded; Farmers Wary (11/29/10)
Some meeting attendees, including current Ward 3 City Councilor Angela Plassmann, reported that farmers in the meadows are wary of the new organization. There appears to be concern that the current agricultural uses of the meadows might come to be impacted in a negative way. There is also distrust stemming from the adoption of the Meadows Land Use Plan in 2005.

Video: Best Practices Forum Studies Evolution of Meadows Plan (8/29/08)

City of Northampton Meadows Land Use Plan 2005

Northampton’s Draft New Open Space, Recreation, and Multi-Use Trail Plan (PDF, 2010)

Video: Wayne Feiden Presents Draft 2011-2017 Open Space, Recreation & Multi-Use Trail Plan

Video: Second Forum on Northampton Open Space, Recreation & Multi-Use Trail Plan (9/23/10)

Video: Glynwood Presents “Keep Farming” at Agricultural Forum (9/25/10)