NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Public Services Committee is gathering information before making recommendations about North Adams becoming a pollinator-friendly community.
The committee on Thursday determined to get data from the Department of Public Works as part of its research.
City Councilor Eric Buddington introduced the resolution on Oct. 11 to the City Council on Oct. 11, which referred it to the Public Services Committee to vet. Yhr
"We have a lot of community gardens in town and I would very much like to see the future of agriculture protected because I don't think we can count on California to give us our produce forever," Buddington told the committee. "We should protect our farmland and general farming ability."
The non-binding resolution will make the city a pollinator-friendly community that would encourage policies and practices that support pollinator health. This would include not using pesticides or any other chemicals harmful to pollinators – such as bees.
Committee member Keith Bona was hesitant to pass the resolution on to City Council for fear that it would simply die and be forgotten.
"Unfortunately in council, I feel like a lot of these get passed and you hear about it but that's it," Bona said. "I feel like if we just approve it, it won't have the impact we want it, too."
Committee member Josh Moran agreed and suggested forming an ad hoc committee to guide the DPW and the Parks and Recreation Committee in best practices.
"I would like this resolution to have legs ... because I don't want to see it get left behind," he said. "Maybe we can form a committee to advise and determine best practices and determine what practices we already follow."
Local beekeeper Tony Pisano, who attended the meeting, said there are plenty of things the city can do and may already do to help pollinators.
"I know this is nonbinding and it is not law but I think it would be great if the city was more aware of what they do and how it effects pollinators," he said.
Pisano said the city could avoid cutting certain plants throughout the year, reseed with pollinator favorite plants, avoid harmful pesticides and let some areas got to meadow.
Buddington said there are plenty of areas in the city that are not mowed regularly because of the lack of manpower and to create a policy that segregates certain areas as pollinator areas that are not maintained could actually save time and money.
Moran felt it did come down to aesthetics and the city would have to let residents know they were not just neglecting city property.
Pisano said many communities allow portions of land go to meadow but cleanly mow around them or paths through a meadow, so it looks intentional. He said the areas could be roped off and educational signage could be placed.
Moran said the educational portion of the designated areas may inspire people to make their own properties bee friendly.
"One out of every three bites of food is from a pollinator ... you can't have a burrito without pollinators," he said. "A lot of people think their food is just grown on a farm and it has nothing to do with insects."
Pisano said the larger state effort is to ban insect deterrents that include neonicotinoids from shelves and only allow license handlers to use the harmful chemical that can hurt pollinators.
The committee will meet with representatives from the DPW and the Parks and Recreation to fill out the resolution and figure out what the city already does that would be considered pollinator friendly.
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