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The weather in June was rainy, but we were fortunate to have sun and warm temperatures for our environmental sustainability program day. This year, we focused on the ecological significance of Buzzards Bay along with other relevant environmental issues like sustainable agriculture and the local food movement.

Our day began at the Acushnet Sawmill – the 19 acre property, a working sawmill from 1886 to 1985, has been restored to its natural state by the Buzzards Bay Coalition. It’s hard to believe that the land at this site was once completely paved! The sawmill is part of a chain of properties the Coalition has acquired to provide access along the Acushnet River. Walking paths and kayak launches allow for more access along the river through this property.

BBC executive director Mark Rasmussen guided our tour and explained how the Coalition is working to preserve land in the Buzzards Bay Watershed. He also talked about factors that influence the health of the bay including runoff and nitrogen rates.

From Acushnet, we headed to Dartmouth for our next stop at the Sharing the Harvest Farm. There, Dan King, Director of Sharing the Harvest, provided an overview of the farm and its impact on the South Coast. Did you know that since its inception in 2005, the farm has donated over 450,000 pounds of produce for local food pantries?!

We also heard from Liz Wiley, Food Security Lead for Impact LABS, who discussed their innovative work and pilot deployments of IoT solutions to support local growers to build and sustain their businesses. During a recent 2.0 outing with our alumni network, Liz and the Impact LABS team shared similar info about some of their installations at Sharing the Harvest and other local farms. You can read more about that event here.

The farm tour continued at Brix Bounty Farm where farmer Derek Christianson discussed the farm’s emphasis on sustainable practices and soil quality to produce nutritious, high-quality produce. Karen Schwalbe, Executive Director of SEMAP – Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership also joined the group and discussed SEMAP’s work, the agricultural landscape of the SouthCoast and the environmental and economic implications of local food.

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