Good thing Westport GVI never settled on a commercial space suitable for distributing the CSA from Shelton-based Stone Gardens Farm they started last year for Westport residents. As fortune would have it, the Wakeman Farm and house on Cross Highway became available for lease from the town for $1 per year last spring and Westport GVI’s team jumped at the chance to lease the property. The town embraced their proposal for a Town Farm on the site and GVI recently announced the signing of a five-year lease and plans to once again farm the 2.2 acre property.
Westport GVI is a group with clarity of vision and the people and resources to see it realized. The house is being spruced up so the future residents can move in by June. May this be a happy home to Mike Aitkenhead, Staples HS Environmental Teacher and 2009 Westport Teacher of the Year, who will take up residence at and oversee the Town Farm along with his wife, Carrie, and their one year old son, Ethan.
Don’t mind the dumpster; there’s no gutting going on in this historic house. You can see from the above photo that there’s no insulation in the walls and the plaster was cracking so badly in some places that it had to be removed. Think of how beautiful this spacious house is going to look with some new wall board, paint, appliances and fixtures.
The aged red barn is being renovated from the inside out in preparation for CSA season. This is where you will come to pick up your Stone Gardens Farm CSA share each week from Carrie. Don’t have a share yet? Sign up now! Future plans include the addition of CSA shares from other area farms and add ons like local eggs, cheese, poultry, meat, flowers and honey to make the CSA more full service. These will come after appropriate food service licenses have been obtained and the Town Health Department has given its blessing.
Planting of organic vegetables will begin in the spring at Wakeman Farm, but don’t expect enough production for their own CSA. A farm stand is more likely. The intention was never to grow enough food for the whole town, but rather serve as a model of environmentally sustainable agriculture and an educational facility.
Town Farm Director Becky Howe cited a book, The Backyard Homestead, as the foundation of their message to the public, “You can grow all the food you need on a quarter acre. Anybody can do this. We’re going to be a model of how to do it and provide continuing education to the community in everything from composting to organic gardening to beekeeping so they can get comfortable doing these things on their own.” Andrew (from Andrew’s Local Honey) is going to drop off one of his hives here and Westport GVI board member Sherri Brooks Vinton will give canning and preserving workshops. Get excited but be patient, be supportive, and visit often. It’s going to take the whole community to make this work, and there’s not doubt that it will.