March 20, 2014--The Lampson Brook Farm area of Belchertown will be the focus of upcoming efforts to identify ways that the former Belchertown State School (BSS) farm may contribute to local food security, as well as open space and park access needs that will benefit the entire community. The Belchertown Agricultural Commission has received an award of planning assistance by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission to help advance the work.
Lampson Brook Farm consists of some 400 acres of state-owned land that is currently leased and managed by the New England Small Farm Institute (NESFI). The land is adjacent to and just north of the former BSS campus and the Town’s newly developed Lake Wallace conservation area, now used for nature studies by Belchertown schools. The farm’s extensive trails are used by town residents for cross-country track practice and competitive events, and for informal passive recreation such as horseback riding, hiking, and birding. Also, Lampson Brook is the site of the Belchertown Community Garden, and adjacent active farmland is managed under sub-lease agreements with several small agricultural businesses.
PVPC planners will work with the Agricultural Commission, as well as with the Conservation and Historical commissions, the Planning Department, and NESFI, to recommend ways that ongoing development and management of Lampson Brook Farm can enhance local food security, protect the site’s historic vistas and natural resources, and further the goals of the Town’s Open Space and Recreation Plan and Community Plan. Recommendations will be incorporated into a Master Plan for presentation to and consideration by the Commonwealth.
PVPC’s services were awarded through a competitive proposal process and come at no cost to the Town. The work will be funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as part of PVPC’s Sustainable Knowledge Corridor project.