What’s Going on at the Holliston Agricultural Commission

MAAC Annual Meeting – Save-the-Date
Issue Date: 
February, 2020
Article Body: 

The Massachusetts Association of Agricultural Commissions is planning a 10-year anniversary luncheon and education workshop on February 22 at 10 a.m. at the Holiday Inn & Suites Marlborough, 265 Lakeside Ave., Marlborough. A series of topics will be discussed. Tickets are $35 each. To RSVP, go to the MAAC Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/
2721877184522845/?active_tab=about Check Facebook for a final workshop sessions, topics may include: new hemp industry in Massachusetts, AgComs working with municipalities, and laws regarding herbicides/pesticides.
Multi-Town Agricultural Commission Meeting
On October 23, 2019, the Medway Agricultural Commission hosted a regional Multi-Town Agricultural Meeting with Medway, Holliston and Franklin. Topics included regional farm promotions, events, and education. Special guest Laura Sapienza-Grabskit of the Massachusetts Association of Agricultural Commissions, mentioned a new law regarding food safety will impact farmers’ markets, too (FISMA to track where the food comes from). The next Multi-Town Agricultural Commission meeting will be held in Holliston, on March 10, 2020.
Community Gardens at Pinecrest
Each year, the Holliston Agricultural Commission offers residents the option to lease one of 33 gardening plots to grow their own garden. Each plot is a 10 x 10 raised bed, and is protected by a metal fence. They are located at the Pinecrest Golf Course (back parking lot), 212 Prentice St., Holliston. Plots are available each year on April 1, and residents supply their own tools, organic fertilizer, seeds, plants, and labor to maintain their plot. Water is available. If you are interested in leasing a plot, please call (508) 328-0210. Improvements will be made to the garden bed fencing in the spring of 2020 and include perimeter fencing and boards for some raised beds.
Holliston Butterfly Aviary
The Butterfly Aviary, located at the Pinecrest Golf Course (back parking lot), 212 Prentice St., Holliston, will be opening again for the season in June 2020. At the butterfly aviary, we emphasize community education through the breeding, feeding, displaying and releasing of butterflies. In the summer of 2019, the Holliston Agricultural Commission released over 200 Monarch butterflies in Holliston and distributed over 200 Monarch caterpillars to area Milkweed plants, including over 50 caterpillars to the Sam Placentino Pollinator Garden.
You can support the local butterfly population by planting native plants, including Milkweed, the only plant Monarch Caterpillars eat. The Holliston Agricultural Commission will have Milkweed seedlings and Monarch Caterpillars available to take home later this year.
Farm Day 2020 – Save the Date
Mark your calendars! On Sunday, September 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Holliston Agricultural Commission will be hosting its annual Farm Day, where local farmers open their doors to the community and showcase what they do with various activities, including displays, tastings, crafts, animals, and tractors. This is a fun, rain or shine event for people of all ages!
Community Projects-Year n Review

APR Approved on Thistle Dew Farm
On October 28, 2019, during the Special Town Meeting, Holliston residents voted to approve the Agricultural Permanent Restriction (APR), on Thistle Dew Farm. Although the entrance to the land is located at 28 South Street, Ashland, the majority of the property is in Holliston, and would provide continuous open space and trail access to other recreational areas including Warren Woods and Waseeka Wildlife Sanctuary, in addition to being a working farm.
Chicks are born at the Holliston Library
In the fall of 2019, the Holliston Agricultural Commission worked together with the Holliston Library to educate residents on the lifecycle of chickens and quails. Two hatches were successfully incubated, and residents were invited to witness the new life.
Holliston Rail Trail First Night Walk
The Holliston Agricultural Commission hosted a fire pit near the Arch Street Bridge at the Annual Holliston Rail Trail First Night Walk, on December 31 and provided special treats to residents, including hot apple cider and over 1,000 cookies.
Sam Placentino Pollinator Garden
Just in time for the start of the 2019-20 school year, there is a new look to the front of the Sam Placentino Elementary School. A 64-foot-long raised garden bed was constructed to house over 500 carefully selected plants that will attract and nourish Monarch Caterpillars and Butterflies. The Holliston Agricultural Commission worked together with the Sam Placentino Wellness Committee and administration to raise funds for a pollinator garden at the front of the elementary school. Students, teachers and parents can witness first-hand the complete lifecycle of the Monarch Butterfly. For the 2019-2020 school year, integrated curriculum has been developed for pollinator education in science, math, reading, writing, and art.
Many thanks to local businesses and organizations that donated their time and resources, including: Holliston Garden Club, Kamataris Landscape, Official Tree Business, Weston Nurseries, Broad Hill Lavender Farm, and Upswing Farm.
Top 10 Reasons to support local farms, Holliston!
When you buy local produce and support local farms, you are supporting agricultural in our community. For more information, go to: https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2016/08/tc/10-reasons.pdf
1. Locally grown food tastes and looks better.
2. Local food and farms supports local families.
3. Local food builds trust and is much safer to consume.
4. Local farms build community.
5. Local farms preserve open space.
6. Local farms keep taxes down.
7. Local farms benefit the environment and wildlife.
8. Local food makes a lighter carbon footprint.
9. Local food preserves genetic diversity.
10. Local farms are an investment in our future.
Interested in learning more about the Holliston Agricultural Commission? Join our meeting on the first Tuesday of every month, 7 p.m. at Town Hall. Everyone is welcome!
Board Members: PJ Kilkelly, Cherie Hafford, Carrie Marsh, Shawn Murphy
Associate Board Member: Grace Kilkelly