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First Annual Community Farm Day

by Ben Kaplan
June 13, 2017

This past Sunday was the second annual Community Farm Day at the Holliston Community Farm. Friends and family gathered on the farm grounds on Rogers Road for six hours of food, live music performed by The Hoot Owls, and a plethora of activities ranging from face-painting and hayrides to blacksmith demos and a nature walk.

This past Sunday was the first annual Community Farm Day at the Holliston Community Farm. Friends and family gathered on the farm grounds on Rogers Road for six hours of food, live music performed by The Hoot Owls, and a plethora of activities ranging from face-painting and hayrides to blacksmith demos and a nature walk. The event, which was organized by the Friends of the Community Farm and the Community Farm Advisory Board, showcased a number of local businesses and organizations including T.C. Scoops Ice Cream, the Stone Soup Artisan Group, and the Holliston Agricultural Commission.

One of the celebration’s main events was the grand opening of the farm’s new bee sanctuary, or apiary. Kriss Westland, a member of the Advisory board and the Norfolk County Beekeepers Association said that she got the idea when she attended a seminar where a community apiary in Pennsylvania was mentioned. The Beekeepers Association has provided grant funding for the fencing of the area and the hives and in return received a reserved spot of a few spaces for the next ten years. The apiary will be a place for both pollinating experts and newbies alike to participate in the upkeep of their own bees. For $25 a person can rent up to two hives. In the future Westland hopes that they will also be able to hold educational activities to teach about this great hobby.

The ceremony included a panel of speakers who elaborated on the importance of bees on both a personal, environmental, and economic level. Presenters included State Representative Carolyn Dykema, Chief Apiary Inspector of the State Apiary Program Dr. Kim Skyrm, Vice President Dave Shaner of the Norfolk County Beekeepers Association, and apiary inspector Ken Warchol.

“Bees are more than just cute bugs, they are an essential link in our food supply,” said Rep. Dykema.”

“Bee pollinated crops account for 40% of Massachusetts agriculture,” said Shaner.

The day served not only as a way for residents of the town to enjoy the beautiful weekend weather, but also as an opportunity for them to learn about the development of the relatively young farm and the resources it hopes to provide as it grows into a local landmark. Kristen Heller, a member of the “Friends of ” group, explained how the farming community is a warm and welcoming place, even for those with no farming experience whatsoever such as herself and that the organization is trying to reach out to the public to get them to be a part of it.

“This year we’re really focussing on getting the word out,” said Heller. “We want community involvement. We want to hear what they want us to be. The future of the farm is now and we think it can be a great asset for the town to have.”

There are a number of ongoing projects at the farm, mainly rebuilding and and cleanup of the property and barn. According to P.J. Kilkelly, creator of the Community Farm Board, volunteers have hauled out over 60 tons of trash and metal from the area. A new outlining fence has also just recently been finished. Kilkelly also adamantly stated that the farm would be a place for locals to relax and learn.

“We would like to see it serve different groups in town, whether you’re interested in nature, agriculture, animal science, or education,” said Kilkelly. “That was one of the great things about the property, it has a lot of different elements.

Though the farm does not receive financial aid from the town, much of the work is done by volunteers and the “Friends of” group is always looking for new members. Attached below is a photo of services and materials that farm is in need of.

“There is a lot to be done,” emphasized Heller. “Both our board meetings are public, so we’d really like to see more people go to them. I think that it’s really important that people go and voice what they want to see. I have two boys and so for me I’d like to see the farm be something that as they grow they can keep coming back to and being a part of.”


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Comments (2)

Thanks Ben for covering the event. Just a couple corrections this was our first Community Farm Family Day Event and we do not receive financial aid from the town. Thank you to every one who helped make this event successful. Pj

- Pj Kilkelly | 6/13/17 12:51 PM

Meeting times and locations are listed on the farms website.

- Kristen Heller | 6/13/17 8:10 AM



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