Mike and Carrie Aitkenhead are synonymous with Wakeman Town Farm.
Their official title was “stewards.” But they’ve really been shepherds, leading the town-owned facility from a fledgling farm into a flourishing year-round center for environmental education, community events — and plenty of produce.
Yet after 7 years as the public faces of the Town Farm — and inspirations to Westporters of all ages — they’re leaving Cross Highway.
Mike’s contract is up in June. He and Carrie have decided to concentrate on growing something else: their family. They have 2 young children, who have grown up at Wakeman Town Farm.
Mike will continue as a beloved environmental science teacher at Staples High School — just down the hill from WTF.
He and Carrie promise to stay part of the farm. They’ll serve on the advisory board, and will teach and participate in events there throughout the year.
“Farm life takes a tremendous commitment of both time and energy,” Mike explains.
“We’re so proud of the work we’ve done to build the farm into what it is today. But as it grows and expands, it’s time for my wife and me to pass on the torch so that we can enjoy more time with our own 2 amazing young children.”
“We’re excited to see the farm embark on its next great and exciting chapter. We look forward to watching it grow and flourish under the guidance of its dedicated committee of volunteers.”
Mike calls his family’s time at WTF “an amazing adventure and incredibly rewarding experience.” He credits the farm with enriching his family’s life immensely.
“We’re forever grateful for all the love we’ve received from this incredibly supportive community.”
WTF co-chairs Liz Milwe and Christy Colasurdo praise the Aitkenheads profusely.
“We are very sad to see them go. Yet we recognize that running an operation like Wakeman Town Farm is a tremendous undertaking in every sense of the word.
“Both Mike and Carrie poured their hearts into making the farm a magical community resource. We are devoted to continuing the great work they started.”
The chairs call Mike “the Pied Piper of teens.” They promise that the junior apprentice and senior internship programs he started will continue.
Carrie’s forte was working with younger children, through programs like Mommy and Me and summer camps. The popular summer camp will also continue, beginning July 10.
“As the Aitkenhead family steps down, we cannot overstate their immense impact on the farm,” the co-chairs say.
The Aitkenheads leave just as the farmhouse has been renovated. A search is underway for their replacement.
To everything there is a season. Thanks, Mike and Carrie, for all the seasons you gave, to all of us!