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Meet Angela Roell of Yard Birds Farm in West

Today we’d like to introduce you to Angela Roell.

Angela, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
We started as an urban farm in Jamaica Plain, MA and transitioned to a rural lifestyle in 2013, when we got our first farm based bees.

Our dream has always been to run farm based education program from a small farm and apiary. We began our farm in the urban landscape of Jamaica Plain, a bustling neighborhood in Boston. We started with the objective of engaging our local community in food. We participated in garden build outs, panel discussions and volunteer days to generate buzz about our farm.

As momentum grew we realized that our dream of conducting place based education on a farm meant we’d need a “place”. We began the search for farm land.

In 2014 with the support of family, friends and customers we found the perfect place to call home. Our farm supports an educational space, homestead and apiary, while providing a lush ecosystem. We’re happy to be home and to share this great space with our community.

Here in the Pioneer Valley we ran a small CSA and wholesale veggie operation for 2 years.

In 2015, we received a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture and Resources to expand our apiary and transitioned to beekeeping as our primary operation.

We’ve been keeping bees since 2007 and have expanded our apiary significantly since then.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Transitioning from urban to rural life was challenging for us. Neither of us are from a rural location, so the lifestyle was a shift. We worked hard to build community in the Pioneer Valley and develop a sense of place centered around our farm and food systems work.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Yard Birds Farm – what should we know?
We integrate sustainable practices to:
Grow healthy honeybees, nourish community connections and promote place-based education.

What does that mean?
– We utilize innovative practices to produce northern honey and honeybees.
– We facilitate educational programming and on-farm research.
– We develop strong partnerships in order to improve the vitality of our community and our planet.
– We invite suggestions and promote creative discussion to improve our work

We are a small scale sustainable apiary, education hub and experimental market garden. We aim to build soil health by feeding our soil through cover cropping and organic mineral amendments. We grow honeybees and foraging plants on 21 acres of sandy loam in the heart of the Franklin County.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Grit, persistence and strong community connections established by showing up consistently as a member of the community. A little luck, love and support from family and friends goes a long way, too!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Angela Roell

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