Wakeman Town Farm — remember it? — is moving along steadily, in its transition phase after this summer’s kerfuffle.
According to spokeswoman Elizabeth Beller, the transition team — which also includes Liz Milwe and Cathy Talmage — is working diligently to restore WTF to an “educational center for sustainable living.” The emphasis is now on education, not farming.
Fundraising is the primary goal. Once funds are secured, the team plans to go before the Board of Finance to demonstrate its financial viability. The hope is to do this in early October — at the latest, early November.
An energetic, rapidly growing group of volunteers is working to maintain the farm. Former steward Mike Aitkenhead and his family are among them. “We hope they will return as stewards,” Elizabeth says.
“A core group of volunteers is working on a new mission statement, logo, and a signature image,” she added. “Most importantly, we want the message out there that we are an ‘inclusive’ group, hoping to involve the entire community in our efforts.”
A website is live: www.wakemantownfarm.org. So is a Facebook page: “Wakeman town Farm Sustainability Center.”
Recently, the team visited Ambler Farm in Wilton. Elizabeth calls it “a thriving, town-owned, school-teacher-as-steward run facility, with a wealth of educational programs, summer camps for kids, and membership opportunities for the entire community.” It’s a model WTF hopes to learn from.
Ambler Farm’s steward and a board member spent 2 hours explaining their philosophy and management, giving a tour and answering questions. “We left the meeting inspired that we could do everything they’re doing at Ambler,” Elizabeth says.
Also ahead: a summer camp for youngsters; adult (and kid) workshops, and a farming intern program for middle and high school students.
There will be a new flock of baby chicks, and bunnies, in the spring. Maybe French Angoras — to harvest their wool for spinning into yarn — along with dwarf dairy goats.
The bad news: The group has to raise $25,000 to cover operating costs for one year.
The good news: They’re passionate about doing it. And — like the transition no one thought possible — they’re getting it done.
(The 1st WTF fundraiser is a cocktail gathering this Saturday, September 10, 5-7 p.m. at the Bellers’. A 2nd fundraiser is set for Sunday, September 25, at the home of Andrea Mathewson. Tax-deductible donations — payable to “Town of Westport,” with “Wakeman Town Farm” on the memo line — can be sent to Elizabeth Beller, 4 West Ambler Rd., Westport, CT 06880.)