matching farmers with digital maps
By Michael Prager for the Boston Globe
DECEMBER 03, 2012
GROTON — Susan and Paul Shay bought their four-acre dream spread years ago, with the idea of returning some of the land to farming. But other than for a brief period of being leased to hay farmers, the land had lain fallow for several decades.
Meanwhile, when Seona Ngufor immigrated to America 10 years ago, she held onto the idea she would take up farming — as in her native Cameroon — if only she could get access to a farmable plot. Ngufor has just completed her first season, during which she grew eggplants, tomatoes, and other vegetables and greens on a portion of the Shays’ property along the Nashua River.
They were brought together by an unusual matchmaking service that uses geographic information system mapping data to pair would-be farmers with property owners who have extra land. The matching service is the work of the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, a nonprofit organization in Lowell that trains farmers in organic growing and helps them find a plot to work.
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