Middle School Students Raise The Roof

The other day, Wakeman Town Farm received a welcome donation to its “Raise The Roof” campaign.

But the money to help replace a leaky roof did not come from a big local business or hedge fund manager. The donors were 2 Westport 8th graders.

Hannah Schmidt and Nina Barandiaran raised $145 through a bake sale. In keeping with the WTF theme, it featured vegetable-themed goods (think carrot cake). Hannah and Nina came up with all the ideas on their own.

Hannah (left) and Nina with one of their intriguing, farm-related creations. (Photo/Carrie Aitkenhead)

Hannah Schmidt (left) and Nina Barandiaran with one of their intriguing, farm-related creations. (Photo/Carrie Aitkenhead)

The money is much needed. Carrie Aitkenhead — who with her husband and fellow farm steward Mike Aitkenhead has worked with Hannah for 3 years — says that rain leaks into her bedroom during heavy rain. Towels and a canning pot temporarily solve the problem.

“When we heard that the girls took it upon themselves to raise money for the farm, the whole WTF board was humbled and floored,” Carrie says. “These 2 girls are wonderful.”

Of course, WTF hopes that many more Westporters — hedge fund managers as well as middle school students — will pitch in too. A Harvest Fest — the 3rd annual farm-to-table event — is set for Saturday, September 13 at WTF on Cross Highway.

WTF logoIt features great food, including local meats, artisanal cheeses and seasonal produce, contributed by local farmers and prepared by local rock-star chefs. Many local restaurants and caterers are contributing, including Saugatuck Craft Butchery, Tierra, Le Farm, Da Pietro’s and Saugatuck Sweets.

There’s also wine, beer, Prosecco and signature cocktails, plus a live band and auction. Items for bid include a private 4-course dinner party prepared by chef Jon Vaast at Sugar & Olives, and luxury BMW racing bikes.

In addition to the new roof, funds support youth programs, including summer camps and  homesteading workshops.

You know — the kind of stuff Westport youngsters love. And help support, in their own special, bake sale way.

(For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.) 



6 responses to “Middle School Students Raise The Roof

  1. Congratulations to all the Middle School students who care so much for our community, sustainability and local farms. Keep involved! Great story…

  2. Way to go, Hannah and Nina! It’s awesome to see you both putting your money where your heart is – at WTF. I’m sure those were some delicious baked goods, too! So proud of our friend!

  3. Barbara Schmidt

    Hannah, we are so proud of you and your friend Nina. It is really great what you both have done.

  4. Thank you for sharing the story about these two amazing young women! If others are inspired to donate to the farm’s ongoing Raise the Roof Campaign, attached is a donation link. Thanks again, Dan, for shining the spotlight on young people doing wonderful things (and for your support of Wakeman Town Farm). http://raisetheroof.brownpapertickets.com

  5. Update: Dan, we just had to let you know that your article on Nina and Hannah inspired Robin Tauck, a regular WTF donor, to once again reach out to us with a sizable donation!

    In the past, Tauck has donated funds to purchase a Greenhouse, brought the hip TRIP ‘N Trailer to the farm (which provides rakes, trowels and garden tools for more than 150 hardworking volunteers), and donated to our Middle School Apprentice Program. This time, her donation is through TRIP Foundation. She explains, “TRIP Foundation, at http://www.tripgiving.org, is all about ‘Culture Matters.’ Locally, nationally and internationally.”

    Tauck explains, “It was a pleasure to donate to ramp up the Middle School program…and I was thrilled to see the “two girls” and their Raise the Roof efforts. The wonderful kids of the Middle School age group are so influential for engagement and life-changing experiences. The Middle School Farmers’ Apprentice Program was fun to support in 2014, and has shown great progress in the recent 6 months. Love the Local effort – and it preserves the culture of Westports farming roots.”

    “Way to go kids! And town supporters.”

    If others are feeling inspired and would like to donate to the Raise the Roof campaign, please visit: http://raisetheroof.brownpapertickets.com

  6. Hannah and Nina should be commended for their commitment and generosity. I do have one concern, though. And this is it: as Wakeman Town Farm is owned by the Town of Westport, why would the routine maintenance of same be the responsibility of two (really caring) 8th graders? If Town Hall springs a leak in its roof (oops, awkward example, it evidently already has one, but never mind) do the town employees working inside need to hold a bake sale? What about Staples or the Emily McLaury House? The fact that a town-owned structure is shipping water and evidently has been for some time is, among many other things, a fire hazard, and is simply not acceptable. It should be fixed right now. Period. I’m not in any way, shape or form criticizing what Hannah and Nina did, quite the opposite, in fact – we need more people of all ages with that kind of public spirit and I just hope that the Town will not actually accept the fruits of their labor for something that I’m pretty certain should be covered by our taxes. The Wakeman Town Farm, like Fodor Farm in Norwalk, is a truly wonderful asset to our community and has many aspirations – perhaps someone from the Marpe administration will see to it that Hannah and Nina’s kind and selfless efforts are directed towards the furtherance of the latter.