The land now used by Brookfield Farm is owned by the Shaw family and
is mainly used for growing corn. It has also been used as a chicken
farm, a dairy farm, and an orchard during this century.
1976 - 79
Claire and David Fortier purchase the last three building lots in a
90-acre tract of agriculutral and forest land (the purchase was made
possible by the owners' sale of land on the Holyoke Range which the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts bought to pursue its plan to create the
Holyoke Range State Park). The owners merge the three lots which become
the 64-acre tract now in the Trust's ownership. The Fortiers make the
first attempts at working the land. With the help of their son, they build a
small pole barn, plow the first fields, and set up Fortier Farm, Inc, a
for-profit corporation to help with the goal of developing a farm.
1980 - 86
Ian and Nicki Robb are hired to develop the farm. Small organic gardens
started. One cow purchased, and equipment priorities drawn
up. Four-acre market garden eventually developed to sell produce to
local wholesalers. Farm name changed to Brookfield Farm.
Brookfield Farm becomes third community supported farm in the US.
Apprentices taken for first time. Fifty-five member households join
in supporting the farm. Approximately 4 acres of vegetable
Creation of the BFCT to take on responsibility of running farm and
clarifying and expanding the mission to include education of farmers and
1987 - 91
Farm grows from 55 households to 100. Members pay their share of the
running costs and in return may take as much produce as they need (if
available). Approximately 7 acres of vegetable
production. Apprenticeship program develops, taking on 2-3 trainees
each year. Educational programs begin using the farm as an
"outdoor learning center."
Town of Amherst buys the development rights to the land of the Trust, setting it aside for agricultural use only.
1992 - 94Farm maintains support from approximately 140 households, but struggles with retaining members due to increased competition and
difficulty with share structure. Ten acres of vegetable
production. Farm experiences a financial crisis. Apprentices
not taken. Original founders pass away. Ian Robb leaves the farm
for personal reasons. Dan Kaplan hired as assistant manager.
1995 - 1999
Nicki Robb leaves the farm. Dan Kaplan hired as farm manager. Share
structure is changed to reflect changes in local market. Membership
grows to 570 households. Infrastructure, finances, and membership
base is developed. 25 acres of vegetable production. Apprenticeship
program is rekindled and CRAFT program is initiated.
2000 - 2003
Membership grows to 520 households. 24 acres of vegetable production
expanded onto Gray's Farm & Bramble Hill Farm. Assistant Manager's
position (full time/year round) created. Irrigation system & compost
pad installed. Equipment upgraded. CSA distribution developed &
streamlined. More local farm products offered for sale at CSA
distribution. Barn Raising Campaign launched in June 2003
2004 - present
Complete renovation and construction of farm center (including root
cellar, office, greenhouse, and workshop). Membership steady at 525
shares and 30 acres of production. Equipment continues to be
upgraded. Winter Share inaugurated in 2005. Production intiated at Small
One?s Farm and phased out at Bramble Hill Farm.