Gardening Tips from The Food Bank’s Farm!

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (Mass Appeal) We went live on location the Mountain View Farm in Easthampton to show you some gardening tips and to introduce you to just one of the ways that the Food Bank of Western Mass helps people in need.

Succession Planting Tips:

  • For summer plantings, select varieties labelled “heat tolerant” or “bolt resistant”​
  • In early spring and late fall, plant cold hardy butterhead varieties.
  • ​Sow a two week supply of lettuce every other week
  • Seed your last batch of lettuce one month before the average fall frost date in your area
  • Mark your calendar with frost dates and planting reminders

Fertilizing & Soil Testing Tips:

  • Collect at least one cup of soil from your garden, digging 6-8 inches deep in at least 6 different areas
  • Mix the samples together and spread on a paper bag to air dry
  • ​Send samples to your local agricultural extension for testing.
  • Add soil amendments such as compost or lime based on the results of your soil test.

Container Gardening

  • Sow loose-leaf lettuce in a well drained container at least 6 inches deep​
  • Try adding other baby greens like arugula or tatsoi to your lettuce mix
  • Fertilize with fish emulsion or compost tea when plants are 2 inches tall
  • When plants are 6 inches tall, cut leaves 1 inch above the soil
  • Continue watering the stems until plants are big enough for a second harvest

About the Food Bank Gardens:

The Food Bank Farm is a 60-acre parcel of land on the Connecticut River in Hadley. Since 1992, the land has been farmed without chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides, with the primary purpose of providing fresh, healthy produce to households in Western Massachusetts that face hunger or food insecurity. Additionally, the farm’s 60 acres are protected from any development, preserving an important riverside ecosystem.

The Food Bank Farm operates as a production farm in partnership with Mountain View Farm CSA, based in Easthampton. Mountain View Farm leases use of the land from The Food Bank, and in exchange, provides 100,000 pounds of fresh, local, chemical-free produce to The Food Bank for distribution to front-line food assistance providers and people in need throughout our region. Mountain View Farm also operates a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program out of its Easthampton farm, with CSA shares available to residents.

History of the Farm
The Food Bank Farm was started by the staff and board of The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in 1992. We were one of the first food banks in the country to start a farm, and the Food Bank Farm spearheaded a movement to create and support CSAs in the Pioneer Valley and beyond. The farm’s 60 acres of land in Hadley is owned by The Food Bank and portions of it are cultivated with the primary goal of bringing fresh, chemical-free produce to people in need of food assistance.

Between 1992 and 2009, Michael Docter was first employed and later contracted through his company, Cultivating Solutions Inc., to operate the farm as a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program through which hundreds of general public shareholders received delicious produce each year. At the time it was founded, the Food Bank Farm was one of the first CSAs in the Pioneer Valley, and was unique in combining a CSA model with a food assistance mission. Over the course of 18 growing seasons, the Food Bank Farm provided about half its annual harvest to The Food Bank’s warehouse for distribution to people in need of food assistance.

In 2009, The Food Bank Farm ended its CSA program and shifted to a production model in partnership with Mountain View Farm, in order to focus the use of the land on providing food for people in need. The partnership allows the land to continue to be stewarded and farmed without chemicals, while providing 100,000 pounds of fresh produce to the emergency food network each season.

For more information about the decision to transition from a CSA to a production model, read our Farm Transition FAQ or contact The Food Bank.

The Food Bank Farm operates as a production farm in partnership with Mountain View Farm CSA, based in Easthampton. Mountain View Farm leases use of the land from The Food Bank, and in exchange, provides 100,000 pounds of fresh, local, chemical-free produce to The Food Bank for distribution to front-line food assistance providers and people in need throughout our region.  Mountain View Farm also operates a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program out of its Easthampton farm, with CSA shares available to residents.

The Food Bank Farm was started by the staff and board of The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in 1992.  We were one of the first food banks in the country to start a farm, and the Food Bank Farm spearheaded a movement to create and support CSAs in the Pioneer Valley and beyond. The farm’s 60 acres of land in Hadley is owned by The Food Bank and portions of it are cultivated with the primary goal of bringing fresh, chemical-free produce to people in need of food assistance.

Between 1992 and 2009, Michael Docter was first employed and later contracted through his company, Cultivating Solutions Inc., to operate the farm as a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program through which hundreds of general public shareholders received delicious produce each year.  At the time it was founded, the Food Bank Farm was one of the first CSAs in the Pioneer Valley, and was unique in combining a CSA model with a food assistance mission.  Over the course of 18 growing seasons, the Food Bank Farm provided about half its annual harvest to The Food Bank’s warehouse for distribution to people in need of food assistance.

In 2009, The Food Bank Farm ended its CSA program and shifted to a production model in partnership with Mountain View Farm, in order to focus the use of the land on providing food for people in need.  The partnership allows the land to continue to be stewarded and farmed without chemicals, while providing 100,000 pounds of fresh produce to the emergency food network each season.

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