We’ve had a great tour through the farmlands of Massachusetts this week! The tour has brought us to all sorts of family farms, community gardens, revolutionary agricultural projects, and more! We started off int the hometown of the two film-makers, Matt and Loren Feinstein: Colrain, Massachusetts. We arrived in the evening and kicked off with an event at the Green Emporium/Mike and Tony’s Pizzeria, the only pizza shop in this small population-2000 town.
We had a beautiful event with an incredible turnout of many great folks from Colrain; it was one of our biggest events yet, despite the fact that it is the smallest town we’ve stopped in! Jarabe and Inacio were joined in opening up the event by alocal folk band
The Feinstein family turned out in full force, with 3 generations of the family present to see the film (many for the umpteenth time) and to meet Ivania and Inacio. All-in-all the event felt very warm and the Ciclovida team felt very welcomed in this cozy little farm town.
The next day we headed out on bike east to Turners Falls, our next stop on the tour. We had a gorgeous ride weaving through the hills of western Mass, descending into the beautiful Pioneer Valley. We arrived at the Brick House, the community resource center that hosted the event. The Brick House is a great community space that has served many purposes through the years, as its mission is, “to provide accessible services, respond to immediate needs and foster community organizing efforts to address longer-term solutions for change and community development.”
That night we did a workshop on the Landless Movements in Brazil and had a great screening with a packed audience! After the show we headed out to Gill to stay with the wonderful folks at Undergrowth Farm. They welcomed us to the cozy home and shared some homemade kombucha, maple syrup, home-cooked food, stories, and even seeds with us!
In the morning we got a tour of their gardens where they already have som crops blooming! It was a short but very sweet visit, and Ivania shared with them that she was happy to visit their farm because their lifestyle seemed very familiar to her, similar to how she lives in Brazil.
They sent us off as we biked on eastward toward Orange, MA to check out the Seeds of Solidarity Farm. We had our most challenging ride yet as we biked uphill for over 2 1/2 hours to get out of the Valley! With tired legs we were welcomed to the Seeds of Solidarity Farm by Deb and Ricky, the two creators and workers of this organic, revolutionary, solar-powered, off-the-grid farm. At SoS they use innovative, yet very basic method of “no till” farming. They don’t till the soil but let instead let it recuperate and help it to do so by laying down cardbord to attract worms and fungus to nourish the soil. At the farm they do workshops and classes about this farming technique and also sell their produce at local farmstands. They have beautiful hoophouses bursting with greens and soon a whole array of other produce including tomatoes, corn, beans, and more! After spending the afternoon sharing stories, food, and seeds with them, we traveled off for Fitchburg. This time in van, and luckily for us as we soon discovered that Fitchburg is the second hilliest city in the country!
That night we had a small, intimate movie screening at The Rabbit Hole bookstore. We connected with some wonderful people from Fitchburg, including people working with the Cleghorn Neighborhood Center, Mass Local Food, and Growing Places, an awesome program helping people, particularly low-income people, all across Massachusetts start up community gardens. They are hoping to open up 50 new gardens this year! We had a great discussion after the movie in which people shared feelings of frustration that fighting against corporations sometimes makes you feel like you’re up against a huge wall, but also sharing that hearing about Ivania and Inacio’s form of resistance by biking 6000 miles really gave them hope. One woman from the audience also said something very poignant; she said: “I am beginning to realize that one of the most revolutionary things I am doing in my life right now is growing my own food.” Indeed we are seeing, day by day, that revolution and rebellion is indeed growing and being grown.