by Charles Farrow
A variety of opinions were expressed at Thursday’s public meeting over the proposed Center for Community Agriculture for the town-owned Harris property on Mt. Parnassus.
The project, which has a six year history, proposes a large portion of open space with a small portion to be developed with community gardens, year-round growing structures, a barn dedicated to education, and food processing, all of which are permitted under the current zoning regulations.
The initial question was how to determine what amount the town can spend within environmental, historic, reasonable, etc. constraints. One element was to expand the town’s agricultural profile and take advantage of grants available to that sector.
Some of the positive opinions expressed included education of young farmers is critical, the town can begin to return farmland to its historic use, there is real economic opportunity in organic farming, the town would be able to address issues like safe food practices and food security, and the fact that there are intangible benefits that come from a long-term commitment to food production.
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