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Mar. 18, 2024: Alien gardens of liberty

Sometimes it feels like we’re making our own adages about things being lost and found.

In the instance of Mr. Universe, Hampshire College’s Salman Hameed, it’s with the ongoing question of extraterrestrials and whether they’ve visited us or not. The Department of Defense has recently released a paper on this subject, with perhaps disappointing results depending on which side of this coin one finds themselves on. We look at how those findings might fit with the bigger picture of speculating on life in the cosmos.

Where Holyoke is concerned, its in a housing project forgotten over the years. We speak with local historian and PhD candidate Erika Slocumb about her podcast “Drawing Liberty Park from Memory” where she speaks with folx from the local black community about the Liberty Park Housing Project, a federal initiative that became the only public housing in the city to allow people of color. Through that lens we’re able to discover more about all of our communities and the traces that they leave over the years.

And it’s being found in the changing of hands. The Kitchen Garden Farm has seen a shift in leadership, where two of the longtime workers have now taken over the operation. We head to Sunderland to talk with Max Traunstein and Lilly Israel about the triumphs and challenges of stepping into their new roles as owners, including a bit of fundraising they’re doing to help with the closing costs for the endeavor.

And then of course, we have to see how the giardinera gets made, because it’s too delicious not to do so.

Christopher “Monte'' Belmonte is host and executive producer of NEPM's The Fabulous 413. He was born and raised in Massachusetts and has been a radio host in western Massachusetts for the last 20 years — the last 17 of them as host of Mornings with Monte on The River 93.9/WRSI.
Kaliis Smith is a radio host and producer for NEPM's The Fabulous 413. She was most recently host and producer at The River 93.9/WRSI where she appeared on Mornings with Monte for the Nerdwatch segment and hosted weekday evenings.