Just Because It’s Cold Doesn’t Mean the Ag Commission is Dormant
From P.J. Kilkelly
APR Approved on Thistle Dew Farm
On October 28, 2019, during the Special Town Meeting, Holliston residents voted to approve the Agricultural Permanent Restriction (APR), on Thistle Dew Farm. During the prior year, Holliston Open Space Committee and Holliston Agricultural Commission met with representatives from the Sudbury Trustees and Community Preservation Committee to discuss the opportunity of adding a 28-acre parcel to the State APR program. Although the entrance to the land is located at 28 South Street, Ashland, the majority of the property is in Holliston, and would provide continuous open space and trail access to other recreational areas including Warren Woods and Waseeka Wildlife Sanctuary, in addition to being a working farm.
Chicks are born at the Holliston Library
In the fall of 2019, the Holliston Agricultural Commission worked together with the Holliston Library to educate residents of all ages on the lifecycle of chickens and quails. Two hatches were successfully incubated at the Holliston Library and residents were invited to witness the new life.
Multi-Town Agricultural Commission Meeting
On October 23, 2019, the Medway Agricultural Commission hosted a regional Multi-Town Agricultural Meeting. Many topics were discussed including regional farm promotions, events, and education. Towns in attendance were: Medway, Holliston, and Franklin. Special guest, Laura Sapienza-Grabskit of the Massachusetts Association of Agricultural Commissions, mentioned a new law regarding food safety, as it will be impacting farmers markets too ( FISMA to track where the food comes from). The next Multi-Town Agricultural Commission meeting will be held inHolliston, on March 10, 2020.
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 over 1,000 cookies. Local Holliston ingredients included culinary lavender from Broad Hill Lavender Farm and sweet potatoes from Upswing Farm. Over 37 gallons of fresh Massachusetts mulled cider was consumed during this event.
MAAC Annual Meeting – Save the Date
The Massachusetts Association of Agricultural Commissions is planning a 10-year anniversary luncheon and education workshop on February 22 at 10 a.m. at the Holiday Inn & Suites Marlborough, 265 Lakeside Ave., Marlborough. A series of topics will be discussed. Tickets are $35 each. To RSVP, go to the MAAC Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2721877184522845/?active_tab=about Check Facebook for a final workshop sessions, topics may include: new hemp industry in Massachusetts, AgComs working with municipalities, and laws regarding herbicides/pesticides.
Farm Day 2020 – Save the Date
Mark your calendars! On Sunday, September 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Holliston Agricultural Commission will be hosting its annual Farm Day, when 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.
COMMUNITY PROJECTS YEAR IN REVIEW
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, please call 508-328-0210 to inquire about availability. Improvements will be made to the garden bed fencing in the spring of 2020 and include perimeter garden fencing and some raised beds will receive new boards.
Holliston Butterfly Aviary
The Butterfly Aviary will be opening again for the season in June 2020. The Butterfly Aviary is located at the Pinecrest Golf Course (back parking lot), 212 Prentice St. At the butterfly aviary, we emphasize community education through the breeding, feeding, displaying and releasing of butterflies into our community. In the summer of 2019, the Holliston Agricultural Commission released over 200 Monarch butterflies in Holliston and distributed over 200 Monarch caterpillars to area Milkweed plants, including over 50 caterpillars to the Sam Placentino Pollinator Garden.
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 residents to take home later this year.
Sam Placentino Pollinator Garden
Just in time for the start of the 2019-20 school year, there is a new look to the front of the Sam Placentino Elementary School. A 64 foot long raised garden bed was constructed to house over 500 carefully selected plants that will attract and nourish Monarch Caterpillars and Butterflies. The Holliston Agricultural Commission worked together with representatives of the Sam Placentino Wellness Committee and administration to raise funds for a pollinator garden at the front entrance of the elementary school. Our goal was to create a living classroom where students, teachers and parents can witness first-hand the complete lifecycle of the Monarch Butterfly. For the 2019-2020 school year integrated curriculum has been developed for pollinator education in science, math, reading, writing, and art.
Many thanks to local businesses and organizations that donated their time and resources, including: Holliston Garden Club, Kamataris Landscape, Official Tree Business, Weston Nurseries, Broad Hill Lavender Farm, and Upswing Farm.
Top 10 Reasons to support local farms, Holliston!
When you buy local produce and support local farms you are supporting agricultural in our community. For more information, go to: https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2016/08/tc/10-reasons.pdf
- Locally grown food tastes and looks better.
- Local food and farms supports local families.
- Local food builds trust and is much safer to consume.
- Local farms build community.
- Local farms preserve open space.
- Local farms keep taxes down.
- Local farms benefit the environment and wildlife.
- Local food makes a lighter carbon footprint.
- Local food preserves genetic diversity.
- Local farms are an investment in our future.
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, Shawn Murphy
Associate Board Member: Grace Kilkelly