It has been a tribute to the citizens of the Merrimack Valley and much of Essex County that farms are not endangered species but actually are thriving…and multiplying. The Open Space Committee and CEB along with citizens from other communities worked hard to preserve the Common Pasture. In Amesbury, farms are being planted instead of yet another housing complex.
That is why our Farmers Market beginning tomorrow and every Sunday almost all the way into December is a huge tribute to the efforts of our citizens and local communities. Now soon, we will see community gardens spreading. CSA shares in local farm crops now have waiting lists and are expanding.
And yet, there are always threats. Newbury wants to rezone their pristine lands along Route One so it can look like Rowley’s worn-out commercial strip. There are pressures to build and to sell prize agricultural lands. What of Turkey Hill Farm? A huge expanse of land with an uncertain future.
We all need to be diligent. There are threats against our quality of life coming from every direction and sometimes from ill-advised people from within our own communities. This is not capitalism vs. socialism; this is one avenue of capitalism over another avenue of capitalism. Do we have housing developments and big shopping centers with a few meager parks or do we have local farms producing the very stuff of life without all the extra packaging and huge amounts of energy to transport it here? Do we breath the fresh air of plants and enjoy the soul-stirring wildlife and enriching watersheds; or do we run from one air-conditioned building to the next ever seeking the newest ‘shiny thing’?
Where would you prefer to live? Where would you prefer to raise a family? In New Jersey where flat plains reveal miles and miles of buildings, roads and ever more housing? Where floods cause horrific damage due to the miles of impervious surfaces? Or, would you prefer to live where wildlife is all about you, surrounded by open spaces of farms and forests?