Hilltown Voices: Nutwood Farm receives grant for solar powered well

  • Seva Tower and Kalyan Uprichard with their planted nut trees on their farm, Nutwood Farm in Cummington. STAFF FILE PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

For the Gazette
Published: 3/3/2019 8:03:42 PM

CUMMINGTON — Nutwood Farm will soon have a solar powered pump to run its well, thanks to a $1,000 grant from Greenfield Common Good, a nonprofit non-bank financial institution that supports social change and community empowerment.

“We applied last summer and we were very excited when we heard we got it,” farm owner Seva Tower said.

In December, Common Good selected 14 projects to receive $19,000 in grants, loans, and equity investments. The projects that received funding focused on topics such as food systems, sustainability and renewable energy, small business development, social justice and the arts.

“We have been thinking a lot about water, and while we are blessed with water in the Northeast, it is still a precious resource,” Tower said. “Climate chaos also makes things a lot more challenging, and a solar water pump on the well will ensure that we can still pump water if the electricity goes out.”

Tower owns the farm with partner Kalyan Uprichard. Utilizing a swale and berm system, the couple has planted 350 nut trees to produce hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts, hickory nuts and butternuts.

“Nuts are a great source of protein and they are a heart-healthy food,” Tower said. “We eat a lot of nuts around here but they are not grown here. They are all imported from California, Arizona, Oregon, Turkey and Brazil.”

By growing these trees sustainably and supplying nuts locally, Tower and Uprichard hope to help shift the local food system toward “regenerative agriculture and develop long-term food sovereignty and bold economic sufficiency.”

Tower says that they have received a great deal of support from the community and people in the region. She noted that it has been difficult to secure loans from traditional banks and praised Common Good for helping their farm.

“It’s a small amount but really useful, and it is so refreshing because we have struggled to get financing from traditional institutions,” she said.

Common Good is a system where members use credits instead of dollars at participating retailers. Those dollars then sit in a pool that builds as more people use the Common Good card. The pool eventually grows to the point where the funds can be dispersed for projects that benefit the local community.

“The Common Good is a pretty incredible organization and it is amazing to have them in this area,” Tower said.

Goshen Melt Down

GOSHEN — It is time once again to place your bets on the annual Goshen Melt Down, where your best guess on when the ice on Hammond Pond will melt could not only win you some cash, but benefit a local group, organization or individual in need.

This popular hilltown charity has raised $13,300 for local nonprofit groups and events and given out $9,500 in prize money to the lucky winners since 2005.

Organized by Fire Capt. Bob Labrie, participants place wagers on when the official cement meltdown block placed in the middle of the pond, will sink through the melting ice.

This year the proceeds of will go toward the Hampshire Regional High School musical theatre’s “Scene and Heard Campaign,” the goal of which is to purchase 12 body microphones, two moving lights and special Marley flooring for the theatre program.

Tickets can be purchased for $1 each at the Goshen Fire Department website, goshenmafire.com, or on the department’s Facebook page. Participants can make as many guesses as they like by purchasing multiple tickets.

The deadline for ticket submissions is Sunday, April 1, at 11:59 p.m.

The person or persons who come closest to guessing when the block goes down without going over the time, will split the proceeds with the Scene and Heard Campaign. The Melt Down also accepts straight out donations to designated charity.

Plainfield broadband public hearing

PLAINFIELD — There will be a public hearing on Monday with the Finance Committee regarding broadband service in Plainfield.

The meeting is designed to provide residents with information on the broadband project prior to the March 12 special Town Meeting at which voters will consider an article for $400,000 to cover the cost construction and installation of broadband in Plainfield.

The meeting will take place at the Town Hall at 7 p.m.

Ideas for this column on life in the hilltowns can be sent to Fran Ryan at fryan.gazette@gmail.com
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