The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs announced today that Amherst has been awarded a grant for $105,665 to help acquire land for development of the proposed Town Farm and Public Gardens at the Fort River Farm in East Amherst.
Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) grants are designed to help cities and towns acquire land for conservation and outdoor recreational uses. To qualify for the grants, communities must fund projects upfront and the protected open space must be open to the public. The Kestral Trust is committed to help Amherst with bridge funding.
According to the grant application submitted by the Town:
“this 19-acre farm field and wetland is located in the East Amherst Village Center with frontage on Fort River. It will be used for new model community garden with a large tillable area instead of individual plots. Licenses may also be granted to area farmers to farm 1-2 acre plots. A trail with accessible component will be integrated throughout property with educational signage. Adjacent to Fort River Elementary School, it can be accessed via an easement through adjacent properties, and by footbridge to be built from the school.”
To complete the acquisition, the Town will be required to find additional funds. A November 15 story in the local newspaper describes the next steps planned by Town officials. The Community Preservation Act Committee voted unanimously to support a request for CPA funds. The proposal will go before Town Meeting in the spring.
Grow Food Amherst is planning a discussion meeting to be held on Thursday, April 10 at the Woodbury Room of the Jones Library at 5:00pm to seek public input and support for the project.
Anyone who wants to get involved is invited to this public meeting on: