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688 Action Items Found
Provide more education and technical assistance to homeowners and landscapers for proper methods of composting and proper disposal of yard waste through local boards of health, energy committees or other municipal groups.
Assist farmers in the conversion of on-farm and local food wastes to be converted into animal feed where appropriate.
Expand nutrient management planning and implementation technical assistance, especially in light of the new regulatory requirements. The NRCS, UMass Extension, Massachusetts’ Conservation Districts, and other technical assistance providers should provide increased resources and expertise.
Increase soil testing on land used for urban farming where food is grown in soils of unknown quality. Cities could use Boston’s soil safety protocol as a model.
Explore with MassDEP streamlining the assessment and remediation of contaminated soil on land used for urban farming.
Develop a resource guide for urban farming soil remediation that includes best practices, applicable regulations, and funding sources. City, state, federal agency programs should be included in the guide.
Municipal and regional planning staff should collaborate with urban farms to secure EPA Brownfields Assessment Grants, EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grants, and Massachusetts Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities Program (PARC) monies.
Continue to collect data on carbon levels in soil to identify areas that need interventions and to track progress. Carbon data is currently being collected by the nonprofit organization Soil Carbon Coalition.
Provide additional financial support beyond what NRCS now provides and expand markets for cover crops. UMass Extension is researching cover crops and can help identify new markets such as using grain for the craft beer industry.
Research the feasibility of offering incentives, such as property tax reductions, to farmers and landscapers for maintaining soil organic matter.
Explore carbon credits as an additional tool for implementation of the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act, a framework for reducing heat-trapping emissions to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Encourage the appropriate use of fertilizers and expand nutrient management technical assistance to provide guidance to farmers on the exact types and amounts of nutrients needed.
Provide education and guidelines for alternatives to typical soil amendments, such as wood ash and paper fibers. There needs to be greater availability of information about these amendments and guidance from MDAR on their proper utilization.
Expand public/private markets for Massachusetts-produced compost.
Develop a baseline for how much water is currently being used by the agricultural sector, research likely future needs given projections related to climate change, and target policies based on research findings.
Develop and disseminate guidelines on voluntary on-farm water conservation best practices.
Provide the resources and technical assistance needed to help farmers adapt to increased impacts from flooding, drought, and other expected impacts of climate change.
Increase utilization of NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds by allowing regionally-appropriate practices and providing assistance with the application process.
Increase municipal solutions for more water conservation, including targeted property- and home-owner education, in urban, suburban, and rural areas.
Provide technical assistance to food processors on water conservation practices and technologies.