Area briefs: Belchertown Farmers Market to open; CISA gives loans to farmers; Leverett foundation awards grants to school

Leverett Elementary School

Leverett Elementary School GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Published: 06-01-2024 1:42 PM

Belchertown Farmers and Artisans Market set to open

BELCHERTOWN — The Belchertown Farmers and Artisans Market will open for the season on Sunday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the Belchertown Common (corner of Route 202 and Jabish Street).

“A farmers market is such a gem for any local community. Belchertown is filled with farmers and creative artisans — we are creating a one-stop ‘pop-up shop’ on the Common every Sunday!” said market manager Brittni Robidoux.

Many farmers and artisans are scheduled to attend this season. Farms include Austin-Brothers Valley Farm, Grown Up Farm, Hope’s Tent, Inner Peace Farm, The Lavender Woods Farm, Oak & Ash Farm, Pretty Pickings Flower Farm (will start in July), Quabbin Hill Farms, Root the Future Farm, Rubee Ranch, Sugarbush Garden, Devon Lane Farm.

Food makers include Auntie Elsie’s Weekend Bake Shop, Batch Ice Cream Truck, Fortuna Artisan Cookies, P’Frogi by Irida, Cakes by PIP, Pit Beast, Shattuck’s Sugarhouse, Sir Barks-A-Lot Homemade Dog Treats, Wicked Good Treats by Elaine (starting in July).

Artisans include Cold Spring Soapery, Barton Beeswax Candles, Lois’ Creations, Pearl & Company, Pollywoguen Creations and Sara Crafts Things.

Hartsprings will have a truck parked on the Common on June 9 to accept donations.

To keep up-to-date on products available each week, visit

CISA’s zero-interest loans in emergency farm funds

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, in partnership with the Franklin County Community Development Corporation, recently made zero-interest loans totaling $222,400 to 10 local farms as part of its revolving Emergency Farm Fund. The money went to farms affected by extreme weather — including freezes that killed fruit crops, river flooding, and excessive rain — during the 2023 growing season.

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This round of lending offered zero-interest loans of up to $25,000 for Massachusetts farms in Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties. Loan recipients included: Antonellis Farm, Deerfield; Barstow’s Longview Farm, Hadley; Calabrese Farms, Southwick; Granny’s Place, Southwick; Many Graces, Northampton; North Hadley Sugar Shack, North Hadley; River Valley Farm, Whately; Rooted Flowers, Agawam; and Song Sparrow Farm, Florence.

The goal of the fund, which was established in 2011 in response to Hurricane Irene, is to respond to critical, time-sensitive needs and help farms recover from their losses.

The fund is managed by CISA and the Franklin County CDC.

Leverett Education Foundation awards grants to school

LEVERETT — The Leverett Education Foundation has awarded 10 grants totaling over $13,000 to teachers and staff at Leverett Elementary School. The grants were made to nine different teachers and staff and will help fund projects across the full range of grades from pre-school to sixth grade, as well as the LES Afterschool Program.

The grants, made possible by contributions from Leverett residents and from area businesses and community organizations, will support the following purchases and activities at LES.

■Cooking supplies and equipment for the early childhood and kindergarten classrooms

■Alternative seating options for the early childhood and kindergarten classrooms

■Flexible seating equipment for the first grade classroom

■Subscription to the Teachers Pay Teachers online curriculum resources

■Field trip to the Boston Museum of science for the third and fourth grades

■Social emotional picture books and psychoeducational titles for student instruction and counselling

■Mental health iPads for use with pre-K through sixth grade students

■Materials, equipment, and supplies for the greenhouse and garden program

■Mud kitchens and walkie-talkies for the Afterschool Program