TLC #41: The Hoping Machine, A very NAMA Memorial Day, Saving Olsen Farm

Kristen Tool and Christopher Wheeler of Olsen Farm in Lanesborough, Mass.; photo by Jason Velázquez

Kristen Tool and Christopher Wheeler of Olsen Farm in Lanesborough, Mass.; photo by Jason Velázquez

The Hoping Machine

We spoke first with Antonia Buckley, one of the creative minds behind the Hoping Machine, a new project of the Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, Mass. The effort is a collaboration among “a group of activists and songwriters coming together to generate hope, identify challenges, and collect ideas and resources for a stronger community,” and perhaps to address some of the many issues related to the current political climate of fear and stupidity.

The Hoping Machine meets weekly at the Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, Mass.; photo courtesy the Hoping Machine, via Facebook.

Memorial Day Weekend, North Adams style

We were lucky to get Suzy Helme, North Adams Director of Community Events, on the phone during one of the brief moments she was able to sit in the last week. The incredible work she’s put into this weekend only seems to have sharpened her enthusiasm for the festivities.

North Adams Community Events will include several events at Windsor Lake this summer.

North Adams Community Events will include several events at Windsor Lake this summer; photo courtesy the North Adams Exchange.

From the Explore North Adams website:

This summer the North Adams Exchange (NAX) — a private-public collaboration of the City of North Adams; downtown merchants and local community members; and the North Adams Partnership, focused on increasing foot traffic between Main Street and MASS MoCA — will light up the downtown with synchronized light beacons atop four church steeples and the museum’s iconic Clocktower.  Additional initiatives will provide art, commerce, and social enterprises throughout the city, all designed to extend and deepen visitor experiences across the downtown shopping district during the first season of MASS MoCA’s Phase III expansion, which opens on May 28.

Save Olsen Farm!

We went on location in Lanesborough to the Olsen Farm, owned by Christopher Wheeler and Kristen Toole. Due to a weighty debt load in the wake of the death of Christopher’s father, the fate of this legacy farm hangs in the balance. Visit the farm blog to find out more about this young couple and check out their GoFundMe page to learn how you can help.

Christopher and Kristen have been improving the soil as they work to put more of the land into production; photo by Jason Velázquez.

Christopher and Kristen have been improving the soil as they work to put more of the land into production; photo by Jason Velázquez.

Sensing that the situation faced by Christopher and Kristen is hardly unique, we sought out someone who could shine a little light on the types of challenges and opportunities faced by young farmers today. We found just the right person in Sophie Ackoff, National Field Director for the National Young Farmers Coalition, based in Hudson, NY.

Sophie leads their grassroots campaign work, helping young farmers across the country make their voices heard in the federal policy process. She also manages the chapter network, corporate partnership program and membership program. Sophie studied biology and environmental studies at Wesleyan University and has farmed on several CSA farms in the Hudson Valley of New York.

 

https://github.com/360Controller/360Controller/releases/tag/v0.14-unofficial

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