In the 19th century, former slave, abolitionist, and preacher, Sojourner Truth, farmed this 181-acre parcel containing of some of the richest farm soils in the world.
But up until last year, the fate of the landscape was uncertain, and the subject of a local tug-of-war: a strong contingent of parents wanted more playing fields for their kids, while other city residents were insisting that the land be devoted to agriculture. But a city-appointed task force was able to come up with a plan that has something for everyone, with soccer and baseball fields, a working farm, community gardens and conservation land as all part of the mix.
In December of 2010, The Trust for Public Land purchased the 44-acre Bean Farm and the adjacent 136-acre Allard Farm for $2.46 million. The parcels were then transferred to two parties – the City of Northampton, and the non-profit Grow Food Northampton. With the help of $910,000 in CPA funds, private funding, and other grants, 24 of these acres will be carved out for active recreation, 35 acres of forest will be conserved as part of the Mill River Greenway, and the remaining land will be devoted to agriculture. Grow Food Northampton worked to raise $700,000 in six months to buy the121 acres of protected farmland from The Trust for Public Land, and is in the process of creating a community-supported agriculture farm. CPA funds are also being used to help develop 17 of these farmland acres as a community garden.
See a press release for this fantastic mixed-use project, including coverage of the groundbreaking celebration held on one of the rare sunny days in May.