*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***
DATE: Tuesday, Aug. 21
TIME: 9:30-10:30 a.m.
WHAT: Congressman James McGovern Farm Tour Stops at UMass Amherst
WHERE: Agricultural Learning Center, 911 North Pleasant Street, Amherst
As part of his eighth annual Farm Tour in western Massachusetts, Congressman James McGovern will make a stop at UMass Amherst’s Agricultural Learning Center (ALC), where approximately 30 of its 60 acres are in production this summer. The focus of this season’s tour is farms that produce and sell food and produce to schools and other institutions.
Center director Amanda Brown says 10 active faculty-sponsored projects employing 20 undergraduate student summer workers are currently underway at the ALC, including:
- a silvo-pasture, combining a woodland nut crop and grazing sheep in a mutually beneficial way
- a chicken-raising operation as a source of lean local protein
- the “Food for All” garden, which provides fresh local produce to the Amherst Survival Center and the Amherst-based soup kitchen, Not Bread Alone
- a native plant demonstration plot, pollinator garden and permaculture garden
- honey bees
- an off-grid greenhouse funded by a National Science Foundation grant, now up and running, will allow students to grow produce year-round without fossil fuels
- an organic vineyard, now staked out, will be planted in the fall
- an organic apple orchard
- a demonstration plot of cover crops, grain and pasture management
Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy is expected to greet McGovern, after which Brown, faculty and students will give him a tour of the newly renovated Stockbridge School of Agriculture horse barn, relocated at the ALC on North Pleasant Street.
Brown says, “Our students very much appreciate the work that Congressman McGovern does; it aligns with their morals and values. From what we’ve heard about his past farm tours, we are expecting this to be a real listening session because he really listens. This will be an opportunity for us to talk about the challenges that face small farming operations and to hear about practical solutions.”
“We are very flattered and excited for him to hear from our students, who are the next generation of farmers,” she adds. “We are creating the type of place here and a lifestyle that the students want to have for themselves when they start their own small farms.”