LETTER: Resident like Hamid’s ideas on farming

To the Editor:

The Town of Hamden does own many acres of open space. There are several parcels of land that would be ideal for farming. From the old Masselli farm, located towards the south part of Hamden, to Brooksvale Park, located toward the north side of Hamden, some portion of the available land should be utilized for farming operations.

Farming encompasses a multitude of choices including organic, traditional, co-operative, community, commercial and educational. Connecticut has embraced agriculture as a mainstay and has a long tradition deeply engrained in our rich history. Yet, it has been declining. Because of this decline, the next generation is losing touch with our historical past.

I had a chance to speak with Salman Hamid, the Republican candidate for mayor, about this issue. He explained that in his dealings with voters and as an educator, he has been interested in developing a program that would partner commercial farming operations with community interests.

For example, he said the Masselli farm land could be cleared at the expense of the town. Then, the land could be leased to a commercial farming operation to cover the cost of the clearing and longer-term maintenance. The farm operators would agree to set aside a parcel of land for community farming, as well as establish a program for educational purposes. The education program would be developed to allow students at various grade levels to learn, participate and even help cultivate crops similar to the ones at Brooksvale Park.

The income from the leased land would offset the clearing cost and provide funds at no expense to the taxpayers. The community benefits from: 1) a fresh source of produce 2) land set aside for community based farming and 3) enriched educational programs.

I have never met a candidate whose ideas make this much sense. I have read about his past proposals from part-time teachers, ballpark maintenance competition, animal shelter memorial wall and now this. I think it’s time for a change. What we have now does not seem to be working.

Yotam Ashkenazi

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