Wakeman Town Farm Raises The Roof

Pancake breakfasts and harvest dinners. Summer workshops and apprenticeships for kids. Chicken-keeping and cheese-making classes for adults; Family fun days, barn dances and holiday tree lightings.

With all that — and much more — Wakeman Town Farm provides a space for Westporters of all ages to connect with the land, learn about our past, and create a sustainable future.

Now, the space that serves so many of us so well needs us to serve it.

Wakeman Town Farm: the front view... (Photo/Peter LaMastro/LincLine Photography)

Wakeman Town Farm: the front view… (Photo/Peter LaMastro – LincLine Photography)

The farmhouse needs a new roof. The near-century-old structure’s leaky roof won’t last another winter. It’s jeopardizing the health and safety of its stewards — Mike and Carrie Aitkenhead — and their 2 young children, as well as the summer campers.

A new roof will make the house more energy efficient. It will also allow Farm Board meetings, community-supported agriculture storage and classes to take place safely and dryly.

Adding cisterns to downspouts to collect rainwater will save both money and water. (A 60-gallon barrel can consistently irrigate a 100-square-foot garden.) The cost for those improvements is $25,000.

...and the rear. (Photo/Peter LaMastro - LincLine Photography)

…and the rear. (Photo/Peter LaMastro – LincLine Photography)

Wakeman Town Farm also hopes to turn existing space into a multi-purpose classroom/kitchen. Year-round cooking classes can teach kids to turn the vegetables they’ve grown into great meals. There will also be farm dinners, featuring local farm-to-table restaurants and food purveyors.

Students of all ages (including those at after-school and summer programs) can attend old-school homesteading classes to learn skills like making cheese, plus preserves, jams, pickles and sauces using the bounty from Wakeman’s organic gardens.

With a large community table, the classroom can convert into a lecture hall, movie venue and community-meeting spot. Those improvements will run $70,000.

Fun with plants and chickens, at Wakeman Town Farm. (Photo/Peter LaMastro - LincLine Photography)

Fun with plants and chickens, at Wakeman Town Farm. (Photo/Peter LaMastro – LincLine Photography)

Wakeman Town Farm has created an easy-to-use online fundraising site. Clicking it — and donating any amount — is one way to “Raise the Roof.”

Another way is to purchase the ever-popular (ask your kids why) “WTF” t-shirt. Just email the color (gray, Nantucket red or green) and size (men’s or women’s S, M, L or XL) and quantity to: wakemantownfarm@gmail.com.

There’s also a PG-version, in white, for kids’ S, M or L sizes.

Wakeman Town Farm is a fantastic town resource. We’ve always shown it lots of love.

Now let’s pony up some bucks.


6 responses to “Wakeman Town Farm Raises The Roof

  1. Steve Correll

    The photo of Wakeman’s Farm brings me right back to summer time in Westport in the 1970’s. We [myself & four brothers & sisters] lived around the corner on North Ave. opposite Pleasant Valley La. I remember late in the afternoon my Mom or grandmother would send me on my bike to buy the fresh picked corn, which was sold in the rear part of their farmhouse seen in the pic. A dozen ears cost $1.00! Seems like a bargain now, but I think the family homestead at 104 North Ave. cost $68,000 in 1971 as a point of reference… The good old days!

  2. Why is this initiative so important? Imagine trying to host a big event without a proper indoor space. An weather report, like the one for this weekend, sends the whole volunteer crew at Wakeman Town Farm into crisis mode. Case in point: This Sunday, we’re hosting a down-home Barn Dance and Chili Cook-off (from 1:30-6 on Sunday, Aug. 3, open to the public). What do we do if it rains?

    The threat of rain or inclement weather basically paralyzes our efforts, whether we’re hosting a major community event or a farm-full of jr. farmers at camp time. With a new roof and a serviceable indoor classroom/community space, we become fully functional, no matter the weather! We’ll be able to host camp programs, films, community gatherings, farm dinners, cooking classes, homesteading workshops and so much more.

  3. J. Whitehead

    I love seeing that photo of Wakeman’s! Went there all the time growing up in W’port. They always gave a baker’s dozen if you bought twelve ears of corn. Plums, fresh flowers, berries, everything they sold was a hit. Such a distinct memory….Thank you posting photo and link to help support this enterprise.

  4. Jo Shields Dickison

    I’ll make a donation in appreciation for my son’s summer interning and all he learned, including among other things, how to hurl a good-sized rock at pesky woodchucks (without ever hitting one…)!

  5. For those who want to donate by mail rather than online, please send a check with “WTF Capital Campaign” in the memo to:
    Wakeman Town Farm, 134 Cross Highway, Westport, CT 06880