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Around Easthampton: Planning Department helping residents to start composting

Park Hill Orchard in Easthampton holds its second sculpture show. See listing.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ADRIAN FELICIANO

Park Hill Orchard in Easthampton holds its second sculpture show. See listing. PHOTO COURTESY OF ADRIAN FELICIANO Purchase photo reprints »

The Easthampton Planning Department is offering residents a deal to encourage them to start composting this spring.

Residents can purchase discounted compost bins for $40 at the department and get free environmentally friendly tools for around the yard.

“Part of planning is environmental stewardship,” Assistant Planner Jamie Webb said. “Any food that gets diverted from the waste stream and stays in people’s yards is really beneficial for the environment.”

Webb said the compost bins and $10 kitchen scrap buckets are available to residents through a $4,000 grant the city received from the state Department of Environmental Protection in 2004 to promote composting and waste reduction. Since then, the city has sold out of and reordered the bins six times, partially relying on the $40 fees to replenish the supply, he said.

The department is also giving away recycling bins, rain water gauges and hose sprayers that reduce leaking. Supplies are limited and will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Residents can purchase the compost bins by bringing cash or check to the Planning Department in the basement of the Municipal Building at 50 Payson Ave., Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information, call Webb at 529-1405.

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Orchard art

Two years after the success of the first Art in the Orchard sculpture exhibition at Park Hill Orchard, organizers are looking for artists to help make this year’s summer-long show “stronger and richer.”

Farmers Russell Braen and Alane Hartley partnered with Easthampton gallery owner Jean-Pierre Pasche and other community volunteers to create the exhibit in 2011, which exceeded all their expectations, Pasche said.

They hoped for 1,000 visitors, but over 4,000 came to wander through the 127-acre Park Hill Road farm that summer to view over 20 diverse sculptures created by local and regional artists. The exhibition, which was partially funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, won one of three Gold Star Awards from the council for being an exemplary project.

In a press release, Pasche said this year’s Art in the Orchard exhibit will showcase 20 to 25 outdoor works and installations from Aug. 10 through Oct. 31. Special events will also be held there most weekends, including music and dance performances, moonlit walks and field trips.

Hartley and Braen see Art in the Orchard as a way to connect “culture with agriculture,” Pasche said in the press release.

“They envision their working fruit farm as a ‘fruit park’ where people in the community hold and participate in all kinds of events such as birding walks, apple picking and sculpture exhibitions,” he said.

Artists are invited to submit up to three works for consideration by the May 31 deadline. Additional information and applications are available at www.parkhillorchard.com/art.

If selected, artists will receive a $300 honorarium and the works can also be available for sale in the orchard and online.

Video, TV programming

Anyone interested in learning about videography or getting involved in the city’s cable TV station can learn about both at Easthampton Community Access Television’s annual meeting April 8.

Director Kathy Lynch said the annual meeting includes a brief meeting and video presentation and time for mingling and refreshments. It takes place at White Brook Middle School on Park Street from 6 to 8 p.m.

“We are a community resource paid for by the cable subscribers of Easthampton and we’re here to serve the city and facilitate and teach anybody about making video and television programming,” Lynch said last week. “We feel like everyone in the community is a member.”

After receiving training, residents can produce their own videos or television programming using ECAT’s professional equipment and live video production studio. They can also volunteer to record community events or create other programming for ECAT’s three cable channels: channels 5, 19 and 20.

Those planning to attend should RSVP to Lynch at 203-1360 or kathy@ecatchannel5.org.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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