A free workshop for farmers to enhance native pollinator habitat and production
Thurs. Sept 22nd, 4:30-6:30 pm, Just Roots Farm, Greenfield MA

Farmers and others are invited to a free workshop entitled Attract Native Pollinators to your Farm at Just Roots farm in Greenfield, on Thursday, Sept 22, 4:30-6:30 pm. Attendees will hear from farmers and others about how and what to plant, tips on maintenance, sources of funding and technical assistance before pizza and a tour of the farm. Registration is requested to help plan refreshments.

“Building native pollinator habitat is critically important for food production as well as to address the pollinator, biodiversity, and climate crisis,” says Nancy Hazard of Greening Greenfield. “Just Roots, CISA, UMass Extension, and NOFA joined us to organize this workshop.”

Meryl LaTronica, Just Roots farm director will welcome attendees and share her experience. Two years ago, Just Roots moved their honeybee hives off the farm and added pollinator strips to attract native pollinators. “We are happy to report that we did not see any drop in food production!”

Meryl will be followed by two Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) staff. Michelle Cozine, state biologist and Rose Schwartz, soil conservationist for Franklin County, will talk about NRCS grants and technical assistance for building native pollinator habitat on farms.

Dan Pratt, founder of Astarte Farm, in Hadley, will then share his decade-long experience with planting pollinator habitat in every nook and cranny around the farm, and his experience with working with NRCS.

“This workshop is timely,” says Hannah Whitehead, Extension Educator with UMass Amherst, who helped create the workshop. A UMass survey sent out last winter found that Massachusetts farmers are eager to learn how to establish pollinator habitat, as well as how to assess bee abundance and diversity on their farm. “On-farm pollinator habitat has been shown to enhance bee abundance and diversity, and to boost pollination services. It is also a way for farmers to support the health of the broader agroecosystem. When we surveyed farmers, we found that they are excited to learn what they can do.”

Rosemary Malfi, coordinator of the Northeast Organic Farming Association’s pollinator protection program, agrees. Last year NOFA/Mass created this program for land managers, the general public, and community groups and organizations working to protect pollination systems in New England. Through education, outreach, and on-the-ground projects, NOFA’s Massachusetts Pollinator Network (MAPN) aims to expand pollinator habitat and reduce the use of pesticides across our great Commonwealth.

“We timed this workshop to take place during Climate Change & Farming Week 2022, a new initiative that CISA is hoping to hold annually to draw attention to how farms and farmers are facing and adapting to climate change in our region,” adds Stephen Taranto, recently hired by Communities involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) to develop climate change adaptation support programs. The CISA program coincides with the United Nations Climate Week NYC 2022, the 15th annual global climate gathering.

To register for the workshop, go to www.JustRoots.org and click on programs, and choose events and workshops.

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Additional links:

CISA’s Western Mass Climate Change and Farming Week 2022:


Climate Week NYC 2022 - https://www.climateweeknyc.org

Mass Pollinator Networkmasspollinatornetwork.org (updated regularly with resources and events)

Greening Greenfield’s Pollinator Campaigns - https://www.greeninggreenfieldma.org/latest-news/53-main-page-news/26-pollinator-campaigns-1

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