HOLLISTON AGRICULTURAL COMMISSION Update
We are looking forward to the spring and summer growing season. Plans are underway to open the butterfly aviary in May.
The Holliston Agricultural Commission has been busy over the last six months. It has been a period of transition and re-building. We are seeking one more member to fill a vacancy. If you are involved in agriculture or have an interest, please come to a meeting. We meet the first Wednesday of the month at 7 pm at Town Hall.
We are looking forward to the spring and summer growing season. Plans are underway to open the butterfly aviary in May. We will be adding a few new observation boxes so visitors can view all the different stages of the butterfly cycle. More books will also be added to the library and hatching kits will be available for families to take home for a small fee.
Community Garden plots like the ones shown above are available at Pine Crest for $50 for the season, and additional plots are available at the Community Farm on Rogers Rd.
Last Month we attended the annual board meeting and educational session for the Massachusetts Association of Agriculture Commissions (M.A.A.C.) at the Topsfield fairgrounds. This was a great opportunity to network with other Ag Coms. It was also interesting to hear how other communities are dealing with Ag related issues.
We voted to support a series of Bills for the Second Legislative White Paper for Ag day at the state House on April 4, 2017, each town had one vote. The Bills are as follows HD340, HD645, SD850, HD1356, HD13680, HD2338, HD2574, and HD2385, sponsored by Representative Carolyn Dykema. An act to ensure appropriate regulation of piggeries. We also voted to elect Jamie Cruz owner of Springdell Farm in Littleton to be director of the Middlesex County Branch of the Ag Com.
On Sunday Feb. 26, I attended the annual Semap Conference in Dighton, MA. There was a workshop for Ag Commissions. This was also very informative and was attended by Ag Coms across the state. All Ag Coms were given the opportunity to speak about their home town commissions and to share what they are doing. This was followed by a discussion about the new AG Commission statute Chapter 40A Sec 8L which allows Agriculture Commissions on behalf of the town to acquire and take management responsibility for parcels of farm land, in order to keep the land in active agriculture. Holliston would have to take this to a town meeting to adopt the provisions.
There are approximately 200 Ag commissions across the state and progress is being made at the state level to grant the commissions more authority. We will continue to stay engaged and informed of the changes.
Thank you Holliston for your continued support of agriculture.
PJ Kilkelly Chairman
Helen McArthur Treasurer
Charlie Roberts Clerk
Natalie Kent – Associate member
Tyla Doolin – Associate member