A Long Row in Fertile Ground
Western New England’s agricultural legacy has persisted for more than three centuries, through waves of migration, technological innovation and economic uncertainty. In many ways it is the birthplace of American agriculture that exists to this day. This WGBY production examines the history and present day status of agriculture in the region. The documentary, was produced by Emmy Award-nominated WGBY producer Dave Fraser.
The Connecticut River Valley is home to New England’s longest river, a remnant of the last Ice Age. But the receding glaciers also left behind another gift—some of the richest soil on Earth. This fertile valley has attracted Native Americans and settlers since the early 1600s. It remains a commercial provider of products such as tobacco, tomatoes and corn. More recently, the idea of Community Supported Agriculture—community members and farmers in a relationship of mutual support based on an annual commitment to one another—was born in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.
Interviews with a number of farmers, land preservationists and agricultural scholars from Deerfield to Great Barrington help provide a comprehensive view of this treasured resource and illuminate the complex story of the land, its people, its culture, and its agriculture. This WGBY production begins to tell that story.
Contributing to the program are John Brady, geology professor at Smith College; Kristin DeBoer, executive director of the Kestrel Land Trust; Joanna Ballantine, regional director for the West Division of the Trustees of Reservations; Phil Korman, executive director of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture); and Rich Hubbard, executive director of the Franklin Land Trust.
Local producers featured in the program include Clarkdale Fruit Farm in Deerfield, Luther Belden Farm in Hatfield, Winter Moon Farm in Hadley, Szawlowski Potato Farms in Hatfield, Red Fire Farm in Montague and Indian Line Farm in South Egremont, the first CSA farm in the country.
Watch a preview of this new WGBY original documentary:
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