Conservation, Environment And Land Use

Think tanks are a way to also talk about the land, land use, and the future of our environment. This image shows the lovely scenery in Western Massachusetts.

Agriculture and natural resource conservation are at the heart of Western Mass’s identity.

From the food we eat to the flowers we buy to the beer, wine and cider we drink, farmers are some of the most essential people in our region.

But, we often take them for granted. As climate change reshapes our landscapes and the cost of everything from fuel to machinery increases exponentially, it’s harder and harder for small farms and related businesses to stay afloat. Often, they feel left to do it alone.

Even scarier, we all know that farming must survive if we do. But the pipeline of new farmers is bleak. Low returns on investment, difficulty obtaining financial support, and increased competition from major corporations and special interests turn subsequent generations away from the economic viability of agricultural work.

It’s long past time to create a proactive and comprehensive policy package to mutually support the needs of farmers, animals and the environment.

To this end, we’re currently interested in the following:

  • Reducing animal cruelty and supporting better welfare practices
  • Encouraging the adoption of sustainable farming practices to combat climate change
  • Reducing barriers to entry and supporting and training the next generation of farmers
  • Increased investment, better lending practices, business assistance and other resources for sustainable farming models and small local farms owned and operated by historically or routinely excluded farmers