A few ideas to get you started growing local.
Whether you’re interested in keeping a few pots of herbs on your windowsill, or have plans for a large backyard garden, growing some of your own food is about as local as you can get. There is an enormous amount of information for the home gardener available in books and magazines, on the Internet, and through community education—we couldn’t even begin to list all the resources here!
The University of Massachusetts Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory is located on the campus of The University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Testing services are available to all. The function of the Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory is to provide test results and recommendations that lead to the wise and economical use of soils and soil amendments.
The Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association provides soil testing, a gardening hotline, and a wealth of locally relevant online resources.
There is a wealth of local online resources focused on a variety of topics. Some of the most active and useful resources include:
- The Western Mass Permaculture Guild List features posts on a wide range of topics, including events, workshops, action items, and skillsharing.
- The Pioneer Valley Backyard Chicken Association hosts a very active listserv which is an excellent resource for anyone interested in keeping chickens.
- Pat Leuchtman writes about gardening in a weekly column in The Recorder and on her blog, Commonweeder.
The National Gardening Association maintains extensive information for the home gardener.
For information on community gardens and a database of community gardens around the country, visit the American Communty Gardening Association online.
The National Policy and Legal Analysis Network put together a Community Garden Legal Toolkit designed to help overcome the legal and practical barriers to establishing community gardens on non-municipal land. It’s is available as a free download.