I love my small town living. I enjoy the greenery, the local produce, and the easier living. That’s why I’m proud to be sponsored by the Monsanto Fund’s America’s Farmers Community Outreach programs. Thoughts and views are 100% my own.
For years after I had left New Jersey for San Francisco, and then eventually for a sleepy spot in the woods of western Massachusetts, I’d still call New Jersey home. If I was visiting my parents, I’d say I was “heading back home.” And in truth, I’m proud of my hometown. I grew up in cornfields, on baseball diamonds, at school events, and at 4H horse and craft shows. I grew up on a mountain full of farms and trails and bicycles. Sledding hills and friendly neighborhood kids.
I love my home, and I love that this is the only home my kids have known. I hope they grow up to be #MyTownProud too! And I love that this town is on their birth certificates. We chose this town after driving over 3,000 miles from San Francisco – by way of Las Vegas, a blizzard going over the Rockies, a fogged-in Mt. Rushmore, a rainy Gary, Indiana, time in the Twin Cities, and a night on the US side of Niagara Falls. We saw SO MUCH of this great country – and took two weeks to explore.
Then, we landed at my in-laws’ doorstep, exhausted and expecting a child! We could have gone anywhere in the northeast, for the most part, but we fell in love with western Massachusetts – a part of the country I’d only ever visited twice. I had never seen a place so green. This is culture and food and land and recreation. Here are 10 things I love about my community.
1 – When we aren’t together in person, we have wonderful and supportive online communities. We have one just to help people find lost cats! We have hand-me-down boards for people to re-home their items to good homes. There’s a page to warn each other about bears, fisher cats and skunks in the neighborhood! You can even use it to borrow sugar, find a handyman, or find a yoga class. While no one would argue that in person is best, this is a GREAT way to connect.
2 – The four seasons, first of all, but also the festivals and fairs that celebrate our unique land and its offerings. Who doesn’t love a good Peach Festival or Maple Fair? I mean, this is the very stuff that makes small town living more amazing!
3 – Culture. We have small cities and small towns sandwiched right here, and all of them share one thing in common – unique culture. There are art galleries down the street from me, and just last week I attended an immersive, OUTDOOR play. Wow!
4 – People go above and beyond to help each other. We run fundraisers and meal trains. We abide by the “It takes a village” mentality. I still remember my friend Leah babysitting for Scarlet when I had my first ultrasound with Des. Then when Des was born, she came over with a full meal for Scarlet, a full meal for me, and baby gifts. She held Des so I could eat and relax. If you need help, someone will help you. I love our community for that. I’ve received and have organized meal trains.
5 – There’s an emphasis on local, quality food, and farm-to-table fare that I have never seen anywhere else! I’ve only lived in three places, but western MA is a food-lover’s paradise. We’re written up in so many travel foodie articles.
6 – The land, and the wildlife in it. You NEVER know what you’ll see in your own garden and beyond.
7 – I love town center celebrations! We celebrate park and restaurant openings and even re-openings. We have tree lightings and barn-raisings. The town of Conway, MA had a 250th birthday party in June! We used to live there, and didn’t miss it.
8 – There’s a vibrant downtown and nightlife. I love driving through town after a movie, and seeing people walking through the streets late at night. There’s good music, food, dancing, and even breathing circles. There’s always something to do!
9 – I love the emphasis on handmade goods and gifts. I love the access to it too. There are galleries with all handmade items and you can find so many treasures while browsing through our community. I love to shop locally and handmade.
10 – Lastly, it’s a GREAT place to raise, support and encourage children. There are many local play groups that are free. You can use drop-in daycare just to grocery shop! There are organized parent night outs and plenty of ways to connect.
I’m so proud to be from a small town, and to live in this rural setting I enjoy every day now. What I love is that The Monsanto Fund celebrates these amazing communities, and helps to make them even more vibrant for future generations through America’s Farmers Community Outreach. These America’s Farmers programs, sponsored by The Monsanto Fund, help put the farmer in the center of the story. In America’s rural communities, farmers not only provide food and fuel, but they are pivotal characters in their communities. They often serve as the backbone of the areas in which they live – like here. Through the Grow Communities, Grow Rural Education and Grow Ag Leaders programs, The Monsanto Fund celebrates the accomplishments throughout communities with grants to help them continue to grow and thrive.
Why are you #MyTownProud? Share your own why on social media with the #MyTownProud hashtag! Connect with America’s Farmers on their website, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and share your stories in those places!