A pandemic, lockdowns and inflation expose fragile food-supply systems. Great Barrington is looking to fix that | Southern Berkshires


Elizabeth Keen, of Indian Line Farm in South Egremont, alongside with Noah Cohen, checks the top quality of tomatoes harvested for their Group Supported Agriculture last calendar year. 

Fantastic BARRINGTON — Glance out at the expanse of rolling hills and fields, and it is a marvel anyone in Berkshire County just cannot get sufficient healthier food.

Or that a supermarket could possibly be out of eggs.

Excellent Barrington is seeking to alter this incongruity and the reliance on a now-shaky offer chain. Obtain to balanced food and a spot to grow it are central to an initiative that quickly will consider condition.

The town held its initial “Growing Far better Good Barrington” meeting Feb. 3 to commence envisioning a prepare to offset the reliance on corporate food techniques, specifically through unstable financial intervals or amid climate shifts that could affect the offer chain.

This would imply, in portion, additional developing of foodstuff in city, and creating sure residents can afford it or increase it on their own.

“This is of certain worth as the local weather disruptions and financial shocks extend our food stuff procedure and our foodstuff dollars,” explained Town Planner and Assistant City Supervisor Christopher Rembold, who is the venture manager for the exertion.


Tess Adams harvests purple carrots at Indian Line Farm in South Egremont. Access to healthful foodstuff and a location to grow it are central to an initiative that shortly will get condition in Excellent Barrington.

The town will hold a second community assembly, by using Zoom, on March 3 as it functions to get concepts from people and those people previously performing on these problems with various companies.

The challenge is funded by a $10,000 condition grant that will pay for student consultants from the Conway University of Landscape Style in Northampton to pull alongside one another all the ideas, analyze land use and flesh out practical methods that it will existing this spring.

Conway college students have done this right before. Projects consist of analysis and tips for other communities, which includes Northampton and Springfield.

Orchestrating the exertion are Excellent Barrington’s Agricultural Fee and Strategic Sustainability Committee.

The regional food items resilience plan is not new. Groups like Berkshire Grown, Berkshire Agricultural Ventures and the Good Barrington Farmers’ Market lengthy have worked to aid farms and farmers.

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Meanwhile, other companies and meals pantries have assisted make guaranteed citizens really do not go hungry amid a expanding food insecurity disaster that the coronavirus pandemic worsened. Escalating inflation is deepening the challenges. So is the rising charge of housing and land, building it tough to find a put to develop food items.

Rembold advised The Eagle that this task is developing on the continuing operate of all these groups, and building a model that could clear up the dilemma at its root.

North Plain Farm Pigs

Farmer Sean Stanton greets his pigs at North Plain Farm in Wonderful Barrington. The town has begun envisioning a plan to offset the reliance on company foods systems, especially all through unstable financial durations or amid climate shifts that could have an affect on the provide chain.

The Agricultural Commission also has worked towards this work. It created a pollinator system in 2018 to assure a robust ecosystem. It now desires to pull with each other govt with the business enterprise, school, farming and faith communities to assistance resolve the food stuff difficulty, mentioned Fee Chair Vivan Orlowski, who stated the pandemic is spurring momentum.

“Now, more people are recognizing the urgency of creating local answers,” she stated, noting writer Michael Pollan’s report about the pandemic revelation of “The Illness of Our Foodstuff Provide,” knocking the supermarket model of abundance and low-cost costs that could not be preserved all through a crisis.

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No matter what is prepared for land use in Good Barrington, fee member Luke Pryjma hopes individuals will remember that this land is sacred to the Stockbridge Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians, whose ancestors were being forced off their homelands.

“We welcome folks to hold the background,” he claimed.