Thursday, December 06, 2012

New Entry Sustainable Farming Project

Tufts University's New Entry Sustainable Farming Project was covered this week in the Boston Globe, which described the project's matchmaking service connecting new farmers to both mentors and tillable land.
New Entry uses GIS mapping data to screen for potential farm plots.

The map sets contain a long list of criteria to distinguish individual parcels. For example, New Entry can filter the parcels based on size, ownership, zoned usage, and the quality of the soil.

The system is so sophisticated it can pick out suburban homesteads with large patches of unused land, so New Entry was no longer limited to looking at obvious candidates, such as existing farms.

The screenings are used to narrow the farmland hunt to the best candidates to approach about allowing use their land.

Once New Entry identifies sites, it approaches agricultural officials in the towns involved to work with landowners interested in turning over property to farmers.

See the project's website for an inspiring array of resources and training programs for both farmers (including a special focus on small-scale immigrant farmers in Massachusetts) and consumers.

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