Wakeman Farm to Become Locus of Westport GVI’s Green Food Initiatives

These doors are the future entrance to the CSA pick up.
These barn doors are the future entrance to the CSA pick up.

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.

The house is being restored to get ready for its new residents - the Aitkenhead Family.
The house is being restored to get ready for its new residents - the Aitkenhead Family.

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.

The house and barn viewed from Cross Highway.
The house and barn viewed from Cross Highway.
A view of the house from Cross Highway
A view of the house from Cross Highway

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 office, cold storage and CSA share distribution will be housed in the barn.
The office, cold storage and CSA share distribution will be housed in the barn.

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.

18 acres of the original Wakeman Farm are now home to Westport's middle and high school on Wakeman Farm Road
Most of the original 18 acres of Wakeman Farm are now home to Westport's middle and high schools on Wakeman Farm Drive.

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.

The new slop sink is ready to clean some farm fresh vegetables. The setup includes a classroom for classes and workshops.
The new slop sink is ready to clean some farm fresh vegetables. The facilities also include a classroom for classes and workshops.

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.

2 thoughts on “Wakeman Farm to Become Locus of Westport GVI’s Green Food Initiatives”

  1. I am the nephew of Ike and pearl. My father was John Wakeman He was born in that house in 1903.

    You should know that Robert and Niame Wakeman were partners in the Wakeman Farm for many years after he came home from the war. They live in Stuart Florida, ages 90 and 89. I believe ,strongly, that you people and the town of Wesrport should reconize ” Uncle Bob and Aunt Niame’s life time contibrution to what you have left there.

    Please reply, Yours Truly, Charles Wakeman

    • This reply was submitted to the administrator by Westport GVI, the group responsible for managing Wakeman Farm, via email for reposting in response to your comment:
      We have met with the family, given them tours, are including them in our historical book, are doing a show at the Westport historical society next summer on the history of the Wakeman Farm, etc. We are very involved with the family on this, are honoring them every step of the way, and believe in our hearts what we are doing is consistent with their desires when they sold their farm to the town. If there is any member of the (very large!) family that does not feel included they should contact us ASAP. Further communications and inquiries on this topic can be directed to Wakeman Town Farm/Westport GVI at http://westportgvi.org/TownFarmCSA.aspx.

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