Photos: Deerfield Farms and Forests

These photos were taken on October 11 in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Deerfield borders Greenfield. They show a field of purple top turnips, the Connecticut river from Mount Sugarloaf state park, a field of cover crop, and a forest of trees with red and yellow leaves. To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image." photos by Eesha Williams

Groups Verify Restaurants' Local Food Claims

Three organizations verify restaurants' claims that they buy food from local farms. The programs are voluntary and at least two restaurants in the Valley have signed up. None of these organizations tell the public what percentage of a restaurants' food budget is spent on food from local farms.

Photo: Sap Flowing, Maple Syrup Is Being Made

Stuart and John’s Sugarhouse is in Westmoreland, New Hampshire. That's about a 10 minute drive from Brattleboro. On February 11, Stuart Adams, one of the farm's owners, collected sap and used it to make maple syrup. That was the earliest date in the year ever, he told the Keene Sentinel newspaper.

Environmental Victories

On December 23, environmental groups announced they had saved 3,486 acres of forestland near Amherst from development. It is the biggest such environmental victory in the Valley in years. Smaller parcels of land were protected near Brattleboro and Keene.

Photos: Farm Workers

Unless noted, these photos were taken by freelance photojournalist Ellen Kreitmeier. They show workers on a vegetable farm in southeast Vermont. In winter, most of the workers live in Jamaica, where their families live year round. These photos were taken this summer. The fifth, sixth, and seventh photos are by Eesha Williams. To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "See full size image."

Northampton Voters Will Decide Fate of Farmland, Forests

On November 8, the people of Northampton will decide whether farmland and forestland should be turned into parking lots, strip malls, ChemLawns, and other kinds of so-called development. “Northampton residents should save the Community Preservation Act by voting ‘no’ on Question 1," said Kristin DeBoer. She's director of

"The Act is one of the best tools towns have for conserving the farms, rivers, and forests of the Valley," DeBoer said.

Northampton Company Mows Lawns With Sheep

A locally-owned company is offering sheep lawn mowing services in Northampton. The advantages of sheep over fossil fuel powered lawn mowers include: the animals are usually silent; they don’t emit lung cancer-causing air pollution; they fertilize the lawn; and they produce cheese, yogurt, wool, and meat.

One hour of gas-powered lawn mowing produces as much pollution as driving a car for four hours. That’s according to:

Dairy goats also work well for lawn mowing.

Photo: Dairy Goats

This photo was taken on April 25. It shows goats watching rain fall outside their shelter at the New Leaf CSA farm in Dummerston, Vermont near Brattleboro. The goats are milked and the milk is made into cheese. To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "See full-size image." photo by Eesha Williams

Photos: Eagles Over River Farm

These photos were taken on February 4 in Gill, Massachusetts, near Greenfield. They show a pair of eagles, farm buildings, and the Connecticut river. The Golden eagles who live in the Valley go to Canada to raise their young. The Valley Post welcomes comments from anyone who can identify these birds. To make a photo bigger, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full-size image." photos by Eesha Williams

Activists Slow Pavers in Valley

On January 27, the Franklin Land Trust announced it had saved farmland and forest land from development in the Massachusetts towns of Ashfield (near Greenfield), Conway, Hadley (near Northampton), Heath, Leyden and Whately. In Ashfield, the Trust worked with landowner Peter Corens to conserve 81 acres of land, including pasture that was most recently leased to Sidehill Farm for their dairy operation. Also protected are critical woodlands and historic sites along Bear River.