The Northampton Community Farm farmland
In the 1840s, it was owned by the famous abolitionist community, The Northampton Association of Education and Industry, and grew diverse crops that sustained local heroes like Sojourner Truth and David Ruggles as they worked to fight slavery and gender inequality.
When an earthenwork dam breached on the Mill River in 1874, sending 600 million gallons of water through Williamsburgh, Skinnerville and Leeds, much of the debris carried by the flood (factories, homes, bridges and river stone) was strewn on these farm fields.
In 1902, Henry Bean purchased 47 acres of the land and, thereafter, five generations of Beans raised fruits, vegetables, hogs, and chickens for local markets. Due to residential encroachment and competition from industrial agriculture, however, the Valley’s family farming culture declined during the 20th century. By the 1970s, the Bean Farm was one of the last family farms in Florence.
Meanwhile, the adjoining farmland (owned most recently by Allard Farm based in Hadley, MA) grew tobacco from the late 1800s through the 1960s, then single crops such as corn, hay, and pumpkins during most of the remaining 20th century. In recent years, this land was leased by Swaz Farm and grew potatoes.
The Bean and Allard families are pleased to know that this land is now a permanent agricultural resource for our community.