Green Village Initiative and the Town of Westport just released this news. “06880” will report further news as it becomes available.
The board of directors of the local nonprofit Green Village Initiative and the office of the Westport Selectman announced today that GVI will end its lease of the Wakeman Town Farm & Sustainability Center. “The farm and its improvements” will be returned to the town.
Over the past 2 years, the press release says, GVI has invested over $150,000 in the farm. It has also arranged “in-kind donations from local businesses and (organized) thousands of volunteer hours between the GVI team, Staples interns and Builders Beyond Borders students.”
“We are grateful to GVI for its wonderful generosity in gifting the improvements and for the work it has done to restore the property to a working farm,” said First Selectman Gordon Joseloff.
“Through the application of funds and volunteers, and with the support of literally hundreds of families and local businesses, GVI in two years transformed the Farm into a new historical, refurbished facility that benefits the entire town.”
Added Selectwoman Shelly Kassen, “GVI has never wavered from its commitment to this community. They are a gem that we can all be proud of.”
Three former GVI board members will continue providing support to the farm by assisting the town with its management.
GVI’s remaining 19 board members will “resume the work of carrying out the group’s mission.”
GVI chairman Dan Levinson said, “we at GVI have decided that the town is the best steward for this project long-term while we dedicate our efforts to other community-building and environmental projects in Westport and surrounding towns. This outcome is best for the community, best for the farm, and best for GVI.”
Peter Wormser and Liz Milwe — GVI board members who left the board in the controversial decision not to renew the contract of “town farmer” Mike Aitkenhead — will stay active with the farm.
The couple said, “we think this is a great gift that should work extremely well long-term for the farm and the town. It also works to keep the community and especially the kids involved with the future of The Farm. GVI’s gift to the Town will be appreciated for generations to come.”
Over the past year, the press release said, the farm “has been managed by Mike and Carrie Aitkenhead, who are departing The Farm.”
The release added:
“The Aitkenheads were a great couple for The Farm and GVI is forever grateful for their hard work and enthusiasm and their good accomplishments at Wakeman’s,” said GVI board member Sal Gilbertie.
“They leave with our sincerest thanks and very best wishes for their continued success and good example to the Westport community.”