News Roundup: Farming and Environmental Solutions

Above: Legislators representing Southborough met with Trustees employees at Chestnut Hill Farm this week. And an installation at Art on the Trails is being used for more than just enjoying art on the trails this summer. (photos L-R from Facebook and by Beth Melo)

I’m rounding up recent stories in the media that have Southborough connections. Both relate to cultivating plants.

Our Congressional representative’s annual farm tour included a stop at a working Southborough farm. In other news, the winning entry in Art in the Trails was covered for environmentalists’ use of the exhibit as research into environmental solutions for problems caused by pollution.

On Rep. McGovern’s farm tour, focus turns to bringing younger farmers into the fold — Spectrum News (August 23, 2023)

McGovern at Chestnut Hill Farm from FacebookThe Worcester news station covered US Rep Jim McGovern’s visit to Chestnut Hill Farm on his annual farm tour. (Based on a Facebook post by the farm, he was also joined by Southborough’s State Senator Jamie Eldridge and State Rep. Kate Donaghue. plus Trustees executives.)

McGovern is Senior Member of the House Agriculture Committee. In July, he introduced a new Farm Bill to replace the one that is set to expire Sept 30th.

The Spectrum story focuses on McGovern’s priorities for the bill and how it relates to experiences of the farm’s manager. Bullets highlight:

What You Need To Know

  • Rep. Jim McGovern continued his annual farm tour on Wednesday
  • At Chestnut Hill Farm in Southborough, much of the focus was on bringing younger farmers into the industry
  • Erin Espinosa, the farm’s 29 year-old field crop manager, said financial incentives and more pathways to farming could help
  • She said many farmers have to work second jobs to make a living

The story also highlighted the farm’s quick response to a call for help when immigrant families were suddenly relocated to the area:

“I got that call at 1 p.m. on Monday, and within an hour I was able to make sure that we had hundreds of pounds of food going out into the community, feeding those families that need it,” Espinosa said. “We were only able to do that because we already had these relationships built, and we’re small enough that logistics can happen really fast.”

For the full story, click here.

(Note: As of yesterday, lawmakers appeared to acknowledge that a new Farm Bill won’t be agreed upon by both parties in time for that deadline. An extension may be passed until an agreement can be reached — with a new target deadline of December 31st. You can read about that in a Roll Call story that focuses more on the Senate than the House.)

Award-Winning Floating Wetland Possible Remedy for Blue-Green Algae Blooms — ecoRI News (August 24, 2023)

I previously wrote about this year’s winning installation in Southborough’s 2023 Art on the Trails exhibit. Now, an environmental news website has covered it in more detail with a focus on the environmental research of its creators:

It was created by sourcing native plants, and experiments with natural cordage. It shows how pollutants could be sucked from stressed waterbodies with a little help from human hands. . . 

The members of the Collective said floating wetland ecosystems, like the ones created by nature, “heal water by regenerating the food web. The genesis of an ecosystem begins with microorganisms. We are learning how to initiate a propensity for nutrient cycling and learning how to create the conditions for a collaboration with the more-than-human world.” . . .

Ice Pond, part of the 58.5-acre Elaine and Philip Beals Preserve, is a healthy ecosystem in little need of a floating wetland to pull pollutants out of the water, but it did give the Collective an opportunity to learn how floating wetlands create a habitat, observe the decay of the natural materials used to build the craft, and document the growth of the native wetland plants.

You can read more here, where you can also find links to even more details.

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