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Great Barrington Local Food System Study Now Available
02:06PM / Friday, April 29, 2022
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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Growing Better Great Barrington, a report and action plan to strengthen the town's local food system, is now complete and available to the public. 
Completed by The Conway School, the study was funded with a grant from the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
"We care a great deal about food in our community— where it comes from, how it is grown and how all members of our community can have equitable access to healthful food," said Chris Rembold assistant town manager and director of planning and community development  "This is especially important as climate disruption and economic shocks stretch our food systems and our food dollars."
The report is available on the town website. Its findings and recommendations will be the topic of a conversation Wednesday, May 4 at 10 a.m. during Coffee with the Town Manager. Guests Jovanina Pagano, vice chair of the town's Strategic Sustainability and Livability Committee, and Luke Pryjma, vice chair of the town Agricultural Commission will join the online talk.
The Growing Better report was prepared in collaboration with members of the town Agricultural Commission and the Strategic Sustainability and Livability Committee, with support from the town's office of planning and community development. The Agricultural Commission held a lead role in planning, grant writing and project development. 
The study involved community forums during the winter, along with research into the local food economy through the lens of farms and farmers, food security, natural resources, social justice, climate change and historical land use.
"Our town has a compelling need to implement food system improvements now and we also need to educate young people about growing food regeneratively for future community food security," said Agricultural Commission chair Vivian Orlowski.
Among the recommendations:
  • Increase security for farmers and farms through community land ownership, conservation easements, farmland leases and land sponsorship programs
  • Explore rematriation and reparations with indigenous people of the region
  • Create community growing spaces, especially for under-represented community members
  • Invest in food processing infrastructure, including community kitchens 
  • Prioritize vocational training and affordable housing that supports agricultural and food workers
  • Develop regional working groups to leverage shared funding and resources and equitable decision-making
To join Coffee with the Town Manager, visit the town calendar for log-in details on Coffee day.
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