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Holliston Agricultural Commission Newsletter Winter/Spring 2018-2019

by PJ Kilkelly
April 19, 2019

Holliston Rail Trail First Night Walk

The Holliston Agricultural Commission hosted a fire pit station at the Annual Holliston Rail Trail First Night Walk, on December 31. The station was located near the Arch Street Bridge and provided special treats to residents, including hot apple cider and cookies, including a taste of locally grown culinary lavender used in sugar cookies. Over 38 gallons of fresh Massachusetts made cider were consumed during this event.

MAAC Annual Meeting 

The Massachusetts Association of Agricultural Commissions met on February 23, in Groton, for their annual 2019 Meeting. Representatives from across the state came together to attend two educational sessions, including: Agricultural Commissions Roles in Municipalities, by attorney, Frank Diluna, and Pesticide Regulations, by Farm Bureau representative, Brad Mitchell; in addition to an annual business meeting attendees received informational updates on various agricultural related topics. Attendees also enjoyed a potluck lunch.  

Agricultural Commissions Expanded Roles in Municipality

During the annual MAAC Meeting, attorney Frank Diluna, expressed clarification on some existing laws. Specifically: Under Section 8L (b) a municipality which accepts this section may establish a municipal agricultural commission to promote and develop the agricultural resources on the municipality. Unless otherwise restricted by law, a municipal commission may: (i) buy, hold, manage, license or lease land for agricultural proposes…”  In the future, Holliston may execute these rights under the current law. 

Two Upcoming Boot Camps

Pesticides 101

On April 24, 2019 from 6 to 8 p.m., the Massachusetts Association of Agricultural Commissions will host an educational boot camp titled, “Ag Com Boot Camp on Pesticides 101” located at Norfolk Aggie High School, in Walpole. Each licensed pesticide applicator attendee will receive two pesticide credits for attending, as part of their continuing education requirements. This educational event seeks to include municipal boards and commissions, applicators, farmers and community members to address pesticide regulations.

Forest Management

Coming soon, with a date to be determined, the Massachusetts Association of Agricultural Commissions will be hosting a Forest Management program. Presentations will include a case study on the town of Weston’s approach to forest management, including: improved health of the forest, income potential, improved trails, and a list of benefits to the community.

Community Gardens at Pinecrest

Each year, the Holliston Agricultural Commission offers residents the option to lease one of 33 gardening plots to grow their own garden. Each plot is a 10 x 10 raised bed, and is protected by a metal fence. The community garden plots are located at the Pinecrest Golf Course (back parking lot), 212 Prentice St., Holliston. Plots are available each year on April 1, and residents are responsible for supplying their own tools, organic fertilizer, seeds, plants, and labor to maintain their plot. Water is available onsite. If you are interested in leasing a plot, download the application form on our website: www.hollistonagcom.org  A few plots are still available for the 2019 growing season.

Holliston Butterfly Aviary to Open for the Season

The Butterfly Aviary will be opening again for the season in June 2019. The Butterfly Aviary is located at the Pinecrest Golf Course (back parking lot), 212 Prentice St., Holliston. At the butterfly aviary, we emphasize community education through the breeding, feeding, displaying and releasing of butterflies into our community. There are many types of butterflies that are in trouble due to habitat loss and pesticide use. At the butterfly aviary we continue to support efforts to provide a safe haven to butterflies in our community. You can do your part by planting native plants, including Milkweed, the only plant Monarch Caterpillars eat. The Holliston Agricultural Commission will have Milkweed seedlings and Monarch Caterpillars available for you to take home later this year.

Sam Placentino Pollinator Garden

The Holliston Agricultural Commission is working together with representatives of the Sam Placentino Wellness Committee and administration to raise funds for a planned pollinator garden at the front entrance of the elementary school. Our goal is to create a living classroom where students, teachers and parents can witness first-hand the complete lifecycle of the Monarch Butterfly. If enough funds are raised, the pollinator garden will be in place by Spring/Summer 2019.

New Website

The Holliston Agricultural Commission is launching a new website this Spring! The new website will help accomplish our mission – to support, promote, and enhance the long term viability of the Holliston agricultural community with the aim of helping commercial agricultural businesses become as economically and environmentally sound as possible. We help to protect agricultural lands, preserve rural character, provide a voice for farmers, and encourage agricultural based businesses and educational opportunities in the town of Holliston.

Farm Day 2019

Mark your calendars! On Sunday, September 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Holliston Agricultural Commission will be hosting its annual Farm Day, where local farmers open their doors to the community and showcase what they do with various activities, including: displays, tastings, crafts, animals, and tractors. This is a fun event for people of all ages! This event will run rain or shine.

Interested in learning more about the Holliston Agricultural Commission? Join our meeting on the first Tuesday of every month, 7 p.m. at Town Hall. Everyone is welcome!

Board Members: PJ Kilkelly, Cherie Hafford, Carrie Marsh, Charlie Roberts
Associate Board Member: Grace Kilkelly

 

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Comments (3)

We have one open board position and two associate member openings.

- Pj kilkelly | 4/19/19 2:40 PM

Are there vacancies on the Commission?

- Mary Greendale | 4/19/19 12:48 PM

Wow !!! Great update , What a terrific job our Ag commission is

Doing for our community & Town !!

- Mark Ahronian | 4/19/19 9:45 AM

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