O Cannabis: Time to Get Growing
Jan08

O Cannabis: Time to Get Growing

Bay Staters are still waiting for finalized regulations for the commercial recreational marijuana industry in Massachusetts, but the regulations around adult recreational use for individuals were established in December 2016. After voters passed Question 4 on the 2016 ballot, lawmakers passed the “Regulation of the Use and Distribution of Marijuana not Medically Prescribed” law that legalized personal use and possession of up to one...

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Getting on the Ballot: What we’ll be Voting on in 2018
Jan02

Getting on the Ballot: What we’ll be Voting on in 2018

From September to the end of November,  Mickey Prout, 22, a student at Westfield State University, and other volunteers would set up tables in the dining commons to talk to other students about two statewide ballot initiatives: raising the minimum wage and establishing paid medical and family leave. Stopping people during busy lunch hours to talk about politics wasn’t always easy, but Prout said that he liked the challenge and that...

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A Cannabis Cafe Could be Coming to Easthampton with New State Regulations
Dec26

A Cannabis Cafe Could be Coming to Easthampton with New State Regulations

Last week I sat down with Karima Rizk for a cup of coffee in her kitchen in Easthampton to discuss her new business, Cafe Vert. The coffee was like many other homebrewed cups of coffee: it was rich, balanced, and welcoming on the brisk December morning. But unlike most cups of coffee, the coffee beans that Rizk used were roasted with CBD (a cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis). “What is new, and what we have a gold opportunity to...

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Advocate Guide to Last Minute Gifts
Dec18

Advocate Guide to Last Minute Gifts

Well you’ve gone and done it again. Christmas is this weekend and your stockings hung by the chimney with care are going to empty unless you get moving. Fear not procrastinators! The Pioneer Valley is full of places to do your last minute shopping without breaking the bank. Read on for some gifts that you can run out and grab right now for $50 or less.   Alcohol and Food If you’re shopping for a friend or a family member over 21...

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Bearing the Burden of Controlling Birth
Dec11

Bearing the Burden of Controlling Birth

Emily Cooper, 23, is a graduate student at UMass Amherst who has taken oral contraceptives since she was 15 years old. In 2013, when a condom failed during a snowstorm, University Health Services (UHS) and the university bus system were both closed due to the weather. Even though Cooper was also on the pill, she and her partner walked nearly two miles in the snow to get Plan B One-Step emergency contraception at CVS. Cooper said that...

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Advocate Guide to Giving Back
Dec11

Advocate Guide to Giving Back

Many people call this the season of giving. The Network for Good Digital Giving Index found that in 2015, 29 percent of giving occurred in December alone, and that 11 percent of giving happened in the last three days of the year. With those three days fast approaching, I wanted to shed a light on places where you can make non-monetary donations locally. Donating money to local organizations is a fantastic way to give back, and many...

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Wellness: The Importance of Exercise at Every Age
Dec04

Wellness: The Importance of Exercise at Every Age

On a blustery and cold November morning last week, people inside the Northampton Senior Center were keeping warm in a group exercise class and in the fitness room. Stan Plaza and his wife, Darlene Plaza, try to come to the Fitness Center a few times a week to use the exercise machines in addition to participating in outdoor activities. Stan Plaza was using a machine to do arm curls while Darlene Plaza used an elliptical. “It’s a good...

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O, Cannabis: The Benefits of Topical Weed
Nov27

O, Cannabis: The Benefits of Topical Weed

To start, an introduction. My name’s Meg, I’m a writer, a farmer, a gardener, a joker, a midnight … I’m the new cannabis columnist. Massachusetts is in the middle of its cannabis revolution and I don’t want you to miss a thing. With a new author comes a new perspective for O, Cannabis! I’m interested in your businesses, your growing techniques, and your medical uses. My hope is that this column will continue to be a hub for...

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D.I.Y. Holiday Gift Baskets with Local Food and Drinks
Nov27

D.I.Y. Holiday Gift Baskets with Local Food and Drinks

As a self-identified foodie, the holiday season is one of my favorite times of year. I get to eat food, make food, and give food away basically non-stop through the New Year. Whether it’s something that I canned over the summer or a product made by a local company, putting a few specialty food items together instantly makes a great gift basket or starting point for a cocktail party with friends. I went out in search of everything you...

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Former Inmates Launch Greenfield Compost Cooperative
Nov27

Former Inmates Launch Greenfield Compost Cooperative

Many residents of Greenfield will have an additional bucket on their curb next year. The Compost Cooperative is a newly formed worker-owned business that is going to start picking up commercial and residential compost in in Greenfield in 2018. The idea for the Compost Cooperative was born three years ago when a few educators and local cooperative business owners who were teaching at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office (FSCO) started...

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Holiday Events Across the Valley to Beat the Winter Blues
Nov21

Holiday Events Across the Valley to Beat the Winter Blues

Even though the holiday lights were strung up before the kids even trick-or-treated for their Halloween candy this year, the official start to the holiday season is this weekend by most people’s assessment. The Pioneer Valley will be abuzz with activity over the next few weeks, and choosing which events to attend can be a tough decision. To make it a bit easier, we’ve picked out a few events across the Pioneer Valley that are...

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Smashed Northampton Window brings Biblical Threat
Nov20

Smashed Northampton Window brings Biblical Threat

Two painted planks of wood covered one of the main display windows in front of Shop Therapy in Northampton on Monday morning. The smashed pane, which looked like someone’s elbow or head was pushed through it from the outside, was covered with a message in red capital letters painted on the wood: “Let it be known this is the 3rd broken window — for all those who linger, curse, shout, beg & disrupt this street: the...

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Congressman McGovern Tours Local Breweries to Support Federal Craft Beverage Bill
Nov06

Congressman McGovern Tours Local Breweries to Support Federal Craft Beverage Bill

Berkshire Brewing Company in South Deerfield is celebrating its 23rd year this fall. Despite the company’s success, president and owner Gary Bogoff still feels limited by the strain of state and federal taxes and regulations. If federal excise taxes were reduced, Bogoff already knows how he would use the extra money. “It would give us more capital to invest back in the business, more capital to give employee raises, it would make our...

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Loretta Ross and Sustainable Activism to be Highlighted at UMass Gathering
Oct30

Loretta Ross and Sustainable Activism to be Highlighted at UMass Gathering

Loretta Ross, an author, feminist, and expert on human rights and racism now teaching at Hampshire College, is clear on her views about President Donald Trump’s election: “The sky fell,” she said in a recent interview. But the point she really wants to drive home as keynote speaker of an upcoming social justice event at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is that Trump is an outcome — he’s not the cause. “America has a long and...

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Wellness: Your friendly gut bacteria
Oct30

Wellness: Your friendly gut bacteria

Madeleine Vanstory was visiting her sister, Melissa Redwin of Westhampton, when they decided to come to Nourish Wellness Cafe in Northampton for lunch with Melissa’s newborn, Lucena. “I finally made the connection, after decades of bad eating, (between) how you nourish your body with food and how you feel,” said Vanstory, a physician and health consultant in Oregon. “And I just know that I feel better when I eat things that require...

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