Northampton, MA– The third annual Together on the Land Tour visited blighted urban properties being rehabilitated by the Holyoke Community Land Trust, a resident owned manufactured housing park in Ware, a successful co-housing development in Northampton, an organic farm in Granby tackling long-term farm affordability and green community-built housing in Amherst.
What do these places have in common? A vision and the passion to make that vision a reality.
The hard work of the pioneers at each tour stop was self evident. In Ware, residents of a manufactured housing park came together to raise $1.1 million to buy their park from their landlord so that profits from rents could be invested in their community, not sent out of state. This vision became a reality because of the passion of their volunteer resident board of directors and the technical assistance of the Cooperative Development Institute. Oakwood has been transformed to the Quabbin Sunrise Cooperative.
That same passion that encourages the residents at Quabbin Sunrise to work for free on behalf of their community was evident at each tour stop. The farmers at Red Fire Farm have built a successful organic vegetable farm in Granby, but want their passion for farming to take root. They are purchasing additional farm land in Montague with the assistance of Mount Grace Land Trust so that they don’t have to rely on year-to-year leases on fields in Granby. And permanent farm affordability restrictions will ensure the next farmer has the chance to do the same.
The tour was an opportunity to learn more about the challenges of living communnally, establishing whole farm affordability, creating cooperatives and building homes with volunteer labor and much more. A program from the tour with resources is available online at www.vclt.org/tour2011.
Photo Credit: Laura Mason – all photos from 9/11/11 Together on the Land Tour
2011 Tour Co-sponsored by:
Cooperative Development Institute, Co-op Power, Equity Trust,
Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust & Valley Community Land Trust
2011 Media Sponsor: The Valley Advocate
2011 Special Thanks to Collective Copies and River Valley Market for their in-kind donations