Subscribers to our Weekly Update newsletter have been treated to a weekly “Spotlight” on area community farms over several months. With thanks to board member Carol Damm who has produced each of these spotlight articles, we have compiled them all on a single page for your perusal. The community farms highlighted are: Waltham Fields Community Farm, Newton Community Farm, Natick Community Organic Farm, Codman Community Farm (Lincoln), Land’s Sake (Weston), Gaining Ground (Concord), Wright-Locke Farm Conservancy (Winchester)
History: Waltham Fields Community Farm began in 1990 as group of individuals interested in the preservation of local farming. They put together a successful proposal to farm the fallow fields at a UMass Field Station in Waltham and began farming in 1995 as the non-profit “Community Farms Outreach” with the mission of hunger relief, education, and farm preservation. In 1997, the farm began a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in order to increase funding and soon after added an educational component for children. By 2002, the farm was able to support a year-round farm manager and assistant thanks to the success of the CSA. Since 2003, Waltham Fields has erected a heated greenhouse, consistently increased donations to hunger relief programs ($30,000 in 2007), created a once-a-week market to make fresh produce available to low-income residents and immigrants in Waltham, and expanded its educational outreach. Currently the CSA has a waiting list.
Sustainability Model: Waltham Fields Community Farm (WFCF) is first and foremost a non-profit dedicated to the promotion of local agriculture and food access using socially, ecologically, and economically sustainable practices. While not certified organic, WFCF has used organic practices in managing the soil and growing crops since 1995. The CSA pays for itself, which includes the salary of the farm manager and assistant farm manager. The produce is grown on a total of 10 acres of land. Any profit from the CSA goes into the programs that support the mission of the Farm. The farm raises funds through fundraising to subsidize the education programs which cost more than the subscription fees and for hunger relief. In addition, WFCF has the goal of distributing over $40,000 of produce to support its promotion of food access through 1) donating to emergency food programs, 2) subsidizing the Waltham Fields Outreach Market targeted to clientele of local social services organizations, 3) working with the local schools to have the farm’s produce for use in school meals, and 4) subsidizing CSA shares by other generous CSA members so that the Farm can offer half-price shares for those in need.
Community Education: As part of their mission, Waltham Fields Community Farm (WFCF) offers a variety of educational programs for both children and adults. The Children’s Learning Garden Progams gives youth the opportunity to learns about how food grows. In addition, they invite local teachers and other community groups to visit the farm as a group. WFCF includes Family Programs around specific subjects, such as composting and farm animals and Workshops for both teens and adults. The Farm reaches out to individuals in farming through service learning opportunities. For those who wish to be trained in sustainable farming practices, WFCF offers Assistant Grower positions for individuals with prior farmer experience.
Community Involvement: Waltham Fields Community Farm was founded by far-sighted volunteers and it was the hard work of these volunteers that created the current organization which is now managed by staff. However, volunteer activities are still an integral part of the Farm’s ongoing success and there are numerous ways for the community to get involved. Community members and other volunteers contribute by helping out in the fields and the greenhouse, assisting with the hunger relief program, volunteering for the education and outreach programs as well as helping in general office support.
For individuals interested in working on the farm, WFCF offers an optional orientation so volunteers can learn more about what happens in the fields. Families and individuals are invited to drop in times throughout the growing season to help plant, transplant, weed, harvest or participate in other farming tasks. Businesses, schools, religious congregations, and other organizations are also able to sign up to volunteer in the fields… a great team-building opportunity. Last year, WFCF had 1,100 individuals volunteering more than 3,100 hours.
The volunteer program not only allows WFCF to keep costs down, but it strengthens and builds the community, which is what a community farm is all about.
History: Newton Community Farm’s home is a 2.25-acre plot that was farmed using traditional organic methods for 300 years. In 2005, the City of Newton purchased the farm from the Angino family who had previously farmed the land from 1917 to 2005. The farm includes an historic barn, outbuildings and farmhouse where the farm manager resides. One and a half acres of the property is restricted for open space and active farming.
The city purchased the property at the behest of Newton residents who advocated to retain it as a community resource rather than have the site developed. Newton Community Farm (NCF) was selected to operate and manage the property with oversight by the Newton Farm Commission, established by the City at the time of purchase to oversee the management of its operations. The city of Newton purchased the farm with Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds and was able to meet dual goals for historic preservation and open space by continuing the farm use on the property.
While sustainable farming is at the center of the farm’s activities, NCF also sponsors events and educational programs in an effort to bring residents into a more intimate connection with the environment and an appreciation of local food. The community events create a forum and network opportunities for like-minded gardening enthusiasts. Preservation of this historic site and valuable open space for the Newton community is part of the stated goals by NCF. The produce harvested is made available through a CSA, a farm stand, and at Newton Farmers’ Markets.
Sustainability: Newton Community Farm’s mission is not only to model and teach sustainable agriculture but also to preserve an historic 300 year-old farm for the Newton community. The red barn is the symbol of the farm and for this reason, the governing board leads a fundraising effort to renovate the barn as well as to maintain the historic aspect of the farm in the relationship between the buildings and landscape. Fundraising efforts also support education and community outreach.
The CSA program is managed by a Farm Manager and will be offering 77 shares in 2011. NCF also sells produce to restaurants and Whole Foods (5% of farm sales) while the rest of non-CSA produce goes to the on-site farm stand, a local farmers’ market, and the Newton Food Pantry (35% of farm sales).
The Education program, administered by a part-time Farm Educator, is supported by an all-volunteer committee and is partly funded through workshop fees. As with all community farms, there is always the need for volunteers for support in everything from weeding to administrative work to fundraising efforts. This not only allows the farm to keep expenses down, but also to model for and educate the community about sustainable agriculture, the value of local food, and the importance of local farms.
Education: The stated goal of the education program at Newton Community Farm (NCF) is to provide “the community with an authentic farm experience and an opportunity to learn sustainable growing methods.” With this in mind, NCF provides multiple ways in which to educate Newton community members: drop-in sessions that allow the learner to work alongside the farm staff; a facilitated learning garden for hands-on workshops, classes that offer hands-on lessons in sustainable growing and food processing, a family program called Farm Sprouts which incorporates story time and activities for young children, youth programs such as summer camps and service projects; and school outreach. Their summer camp for middle-schoolers is called Farmer-in-Training and gives the students the opportunity to assist the farmer in the fields, harvest produce and enjoy the fruits of the harvest as well as playing games and other activities.
Some examples of NCF classes are: Planning Your Garden, Beer Brewing, Cheese Making, and Vermicomposting for Beginners. The Learning Garden is a space where many hands-on classes are held and it allows for demonstration of different gardening methods with a permaculture bed, a sunflower house and bean pole tepee, raised beds, pot gardening, among others. NCF supports the education program with a part-time staff member who continues to expand the program and all of the courses and camps are partially funded by enrollment fees. The staff member is supported by experienced volunteers that teach courses and workshops.
Community Involvement: Like all community farms, the heart of the farm is the community which supports it and determines how well it thrives. Newton Community Farm (NCF) has several ways to be involved: Friends of the Farm, a membership program; the Community Supported Agriculture program; and additional opportunities to volunteer. All of these bring the community together around common passions, local food, farming, gardening, etc. These community efforts are what make the farm viable financially. The membership and CSA directly fund the farm operations, education program, and community outreach while the volunteer effort allows NCF to manage the farm and fulfill its mission with minimal paid staff. The relationships that are built through community building strengthens its fundraising efforts.
History: The Natick Community Organic Farm (NCOF) was first created in the early 70s to help young people at risk in the Natick community by giving them summer jobs. This coalition of Eliot church, the Lion’s club and the Youth and Human Resources Committee gardened a two-acre plot at the Broadmoor Audubon Sanctuary until 1976 when the Town of Natick agreed to lend the current land of 27 acres to the project. This land had been farmed by Native Americans before being obtained by the first owner, Reverend Peabody, in the 1720s. It was continually farmed until the Town of Natick purchased it in the 1960s with the intention of developing it into a school. Thanks to the loan of land, the Natick Community Farm was able to expand its original mission to a broader one of education and environmental stewardship.
The first Farm Director was hired in the 1980s and NCOF has become a center of community life. The farm offers organic seedlings in the spring, certified-organic produce, meat, eggs, and maple syrup for purchase. It serves as a model for not only the local community but also for other community-based organic farms in Massachusetts. NCOF grows not only fruit and vegetables, but raises a variety of animal as well, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and rabbits. The animals round out the farm education program as well as enrich the land on which they graze and fertilize. More recently NCOF has begun the process of creating a self-sustaining operation with the addition of a solar panel system as the primary resource for energy.
The town currently has oversight of the farm through its Conservation Commission and NCOF takes fiscal and legal responsibility of farm management. NCOF is currently working on obtaining a long-term contract to manage the farm on the land.
Education: Natick Community Organic Farm (NCOF) was founded with the purpose of working with youth so the addition of educational programs was a natural fit. The farm works with public schools through both curriculum-based farm visits and classroom visits from preschool to high school. Students also have the opportunity to do community service internships, and work study at both the high school and college level. NCOF also offers programs and workshops from three-year-old to adult classes and forums. An interesting addition to their education program is its involvement with Scout Troops. NCOF offers service- and project-oriented visits as well as overnight camping experiences.
Community Involvement: Natick Community Organic Farm (NCOF) is a large farm that has been in operation for over 30 years and is truly a model for the kind of community a community farm can build. NCOF has become an integral part of the town and offers countless ways for everyone to be involved. Products from the farm are available to the public at the farm stand, including an organic seedling sale in the spring and organically raised turkeys for order in November. NCOF also participates in the Natick Common Farmers’ Market and Winter Farmers’ Market.
The farm also hosts several large celebrations: a spring festival with gardening and livestock demonstrations, a community dance in the summer, a fundraising dinner and auction to celebrate the harvest in the fall, and a pancake breakfast with maple sugaring tours in late winter. In addition, there are several opportunities to volunteer by either working in the fields in spring and fall, helping at the farmer’s market, teaching a class, or planning farm events. Internships are also available for high school and college students.
Sustainability: Natick Community Organic Farm (NCOF) has a business model developed over two decades through close collaboration with the town. The town sees it not just as open space but as productive open green space. The Executive Director, Assistant Director, and Farm Administrator are town employees. A monthly report as well as an annual report are submitted to both the Board of Directors and the appropriate town divisions, such as the Conservation Commission and the Recreation division. While key staff are considered town employees, their salaries are covered by revenue from the farm, making it a self-sufficient organization.
One-third the income comes from education programs, one-third from farm products, and one-third from annual events, membership, fundraising, and the annual appeal. NCOF keeps its energy costs down thanks to the installation of solar panels on their 200-year-old barn.
NCOF has no need for a CSA program due to the town’s commitment to the farm and the farm’s ability to primarily sustain itself with a farm stand. NCOF sells its produce to the community from its farmstand which uses a self-help system— buyers write down their purchase and leave the appropriate amount at the stand. Other sources of sales are a restaurant or two, a small local grocery store, and two farmers’ markets stalls which the Board members manage.
Like most community farms, NCOF relies heavily on volunteers, some who are members, many who are not. Membership offers discounts on programs and events and ensures a commitment to the farm from community members who purchase it.
According to Lynda Simkins, Executive Director, the key to the farm’s success is it’s “open-gate” policy. Anyone has the right to walk on the property since NCOF belongs to the community.
History: Codman Community Farms (CCF) has the mission to “teach and advance farming practices and to maintain rural beauty in Lincoln.” The farm has been in existence and working toward this goal for nearly 40 years. The Codman family farm was originally established in the early 19th century on the former estate of one of Lincoln’s founders. In 1973, after more than 150 years of continual farming, Dorothy Codman left the farm land and barn to the Town of Lincoln in her will. At that point, Codman Farm was one of only a few working farms left in Lincoln and a non-profit organization was formed to operate the farm as a community farm belonging to the entire town.
Initially, the farm was entirely run by volunteers on a part-time basis, but as CCF grew, so did the support staff. At present, a full-time Farm Director operates the farm in conjunction with a Head Farmer and Assistant Farmer. Of course, all of their operations are greatly supported by a large number of volunteers. CCF now consists of about 100 garden plots for individual members, a pick-your-own flower garden, and also raises a large variety of livestock for meat and eggs. In addition to the original farm land, CCF now manages over 130 acres throughout the town of privately owned, town owned or conservation land on which the farm produces hay. The farm is open to the public year-round, seven days a week.
Education: One of Codman Community Farms’ primary goals is to teach and advance agricultural practices. To this end, the farm offers several classes throughout the year that are open to the public. These include classes on beekeeping and backyard chickens. The farm has also worked with the town’s recreation department to offer a spring Farmers’ Helper Class.
In addition to directly teaching the public, Codman Community Farms takes advantage of its nonprofit status by utilizing experimental and specialized agricultural programs which might not provide the immediate economic returns necessary for commercial farms. The farm has developed a significant minor and heritage breed livestock program with the goal of preserving the commercial production of these breeds.
Community Involvement: Volunteers have been key to the success of Codman Community Farms over the years. They encourage anyone to help out on the farm with chores ranging from weeding and window cleaning to collecting eggs and maintaining a pick-your-own-garden. Volunteers also help with the farm store, hay mowing, marketing, bookkeeping, events organization and leading tours.
In addition to these volunteer opportunities, the public is welcome to visit the farm and meet the animals 7 days a week, either on their own or through a tour. The farm store makes the farm’s fresh eggs and humanely produced meat available to anyone and everyone. And several community wide events mark the seasons, including sheep shearing in the spring.
Membership in Codman Community Farm offers even more ways to become involved. This includes class registration discounts, access to a lending library of gardening resources, and eligibility to use one of the 100 garden plots in the community garden.
Sustainability: Codman Community Farm has proven its sustainability as a working farm over the past 30 plus years it has been in existence. The farm is fortunate to have full support from the Town of Lincoln with almost a third of its operational costs covered by the town. This includes leasing the farm’s 30 acres and buildings (owned by the town) at no cost, as well as maintaining all of the buildings. Products sold at the farm store, membership, and fundraising pay for the rest of the farm operations and staff, including three farmers, a farm director and a part time bookkeeper.
First-Hand Experiences: This week we have a special feature article about our own Lexington school childrens’ recent experiences at Codman Community Farms written by Liza Connolly, co-founder of Kids Cooking Green:
A “warm” and sunny February day and a perfectly chilly March day, providing solid mud, offered Kids Cooking Green’s 38 students from Fiske and Bowman surprisingly great weather for their recent field trips to Codman Community Farms in Lincoln, Ma.
On one visit, the cows taught us the value of being flexible, as 4 of them escaped, demanding the farmers attention… so we spent the first half of our visit in the farm kitchen learning how to slow roast a pork shoulder for BBQ pulled pork sandwiches. The chef also taught the kids how to slice a head of cabbage and mix up a creamy buttermilk dressing for homemade coleslaw. One comment heard from the table of kids devouring their “snack” was: ” I’d like this for an after-school snack everyday!” Another child commented that they didn’t eat pork, but after learning how to make it and smelling the warm aromas emanating from the country kitchen, he found himself tasting it and gobbling this nurturing treat. Amazing what involving a child with the food making process will do!
With sated bellies, our pack of kids were herded down the stairs towards the sheep barn. Alec, the farmer could hardly get a word in edgewise, as the sheep were hollering and bleating with excitement; it feels earthy, chaotic and unruly in there.
Our stop in the goat barn was more soothing, as the goats proved to be very dog-like, following the children around and nudging them with their noses when more attention was desired. Kids fed the goats stacks of hay and scratched under their silky chins. The male, who has a pen all to himself as he is kept for breeding, was really funny… doing little reindeer like leaps to show how macho he was.
The hearty breeds of pigs on the farm were typically pig like- sloshing in the mud, pushing each other out of the way with a shoulder and grunt. It is really hard to drag kids away from a smelly pig pen. Wide-eyed, they glared at the pig’s fascinating movements, unabashed messiness and massiveness of their bellies. One student from Bowman commented, “I really enjoyed seeing the 800 pound pig! It was so amusing watching him walk around and mess with the other pigs.” A few girls acknowledged feeling guilty for eating pork a moment before.
Alas, this is one of the reasons Kids Cooking Green emphasizes farm visits as a part of our program. We, as a country, are protected from the reality of how our food is grown, raised, processed, slaughtered and brought to market. Kids in our classes are exposed to farm life, taught about the benefits of livestock grazing on a variety of grasses vs. the corn and grain feed of conventional cows. Cooking and eating meat at the farm gives kids the opportunity to taste the difference, as well as draw their own conclusions about the meat they are eating. One of these students did return home and mention she might like to be a vegetarian.
The finale of our visit was being laughed at by the turkeys while learning about the grazing cows, recently returned to their field. An 11-year-old boy, from Lincoln, appeared out of nowhere, scampered up and over the cow fence to join Alec in the pasture. Apparently, any one is welcome to come and help feed the animals and collect eggs. Envy washed over our students faces. I left wishing there was a farm across the street from my house, so my 11-year-old son could take a much needed break from the pressures of homework, to find solace in a goat barn, in the smells of hay, and the gentle nudges of a 4-month-old kid.
Land’s Sake Farm, a combination of farm and forest, was founded over 30 years ago in 1980 in Weston on former Arnold Arboretum land owned by Harvard University. The first year was spent on trail maintenance and farming began in the spring of 1981 on what was called the “Case 40 Acre Field”. When Harvard decided to sell the field in 1985, the town purchased it thanks to an active coalition of community groups that galvanized the town voters to approve the purchase. The Farm is now leased from the town of Weston.
The farming program for middle schoolers came to the farm in 1991 through the Green Power program, a program that had been established in 1970 under a different initiative and the programming has expanded to include children of all ages as well as adults. Agricultural education has been a Weston tradition for a long time, going back to 1909 with the creation of Hillcrest Gardens of Marion Case where boys learned farming and horticulture skills.
Along with the 40 acres for farming, Land’s Sake maintains the 100 mile trail system of the Weston Forest and Trail Association which is spread throughout the town. In addition, the organization models small-scale sustainable forestry by thinning out diseased and overcrowded trees for cordwood on Weston conservation land.
More of Land’s Sake’s story of community stewardship can be found in Reclaiming the Commons by Brian Donahue, one of the organization’s founders.
Land’s Sake Farms has a unique situation in that not only do they act as stewards of farm and field but also as stewards of the forests that surround them. This gives them the opportunity to educate both children and adults about sustainable practices in relation to both the cultivated and uncultivated lands. They offer summer classes for children from 13 to 15 years old under the name Green Power which allows them to work alongside the farm’s staff. The children also earn a share of the profit generated by their work from the sale of produce at the farm stand. Farm and Forest for younger children teaches the children about the relationship between the different landscapes with activities in the Garden and with the chickens as well as exploring the wilder habitats around them. Elements of these programs are included in the after school program including maple sugar production during the months of February and March.
Land’s Sake Farms also shares its chickens with children at school and offers group tours and class trips to explore the forests and learn about ecology and land management. Their chicken sharing program has expanded to include “Rent a Chicken” which allows individual families to experience for two weeks the care and benefit of chickens in your own yard. Families and adults have the opportunity as well to learn more in the various workshops that the Farm offers, such as: Apple Pruning, Backyard Sappers (to make your own maple syrup), Backyard Beekeeping, Ecological Lawn Care, Home Canning, and much more.
Land’s Sake offers numerous ways for the community to become involved. As their website states: “People come to our farm for veggies, fresh air and a chance to learn something new about the land.” The farm does offer CSA farm shares as well as a farm stand which is open to the public, but as a community farm, Land’s Sake is about much more than just getting fresh, local vegetables. Anyone who is ready to dig in the dirt or pull weeds can volunteer on the farm land during the growing season and a number of crops are available to the public for pick-your-own, including beans, peas, strawberries, raspberries and flowers. In addition, each year the farm donates over 20,000 lbs. of fresh, organically grown food for hunger relief efforts in and around Boston on behalf of the Town of Weston.
Volunteer educators help with running farm-based educational programs offered to children and adults as well as leading field trips for children grades K-5. During the summer, Land’s Sake runs two half-day camps for grades 4-8.
In addition to farming, Land’s Sake has volunteer opportunities for land management and forestry projects. Volunteers can help with splitting firewood, tapping maple trees, collecting sap, trail maintenance and tree planting. Land’s Sake maintains the trail systems throughout the town of Weston and all of these trails are open for public use.
Land’s Sake hosts several community-wide festivals and events throughout the year. These include a Sugaring off Festival in early spring, a Strawberry Festival in June, and a Fall Festival. On top of all this, a monthly Supper Club is held at a nearby tavern featuring gourmet dinners made with seasonal local produce.
Land’s Sake Community Farm, in existence for 30 years, has a business model that reflects its close ties with the Conservation Commission of Weston. In Weston, 3% of property tax is allocated for conservation needs. Out of that 3%, the Commission contracts Land’s Sake to maintain trails, clear fields, grow produce for local food pantries, and help support Land’s Sake public education program. The Farm is primarily revenue and contract-based. Outside of the town contracts, revenue comes from the CSA, farm stand and membership fees. Of the two produce sales, the farm stand generates more income. The CSA is limited to 140 shares at $700 each. Included in those shares are a few discounted and work shares.
Aside from the fees for its diverse education program, Land’s Sake balances out the rest of its education cost with a few grants and some funds from the Commission. While the culture of giving has not been highly developed in the past, the organization is changing this in a big way with its 30-year celebration fundraising campaign called Growing the Roots. In its first year, it has already raised half of the campaign goal. And, like all community farms, the volunteers are an important source of development both in creating strong relationships in the community as well as assisting the staff in the work that needs to be done to ensure that Land’s Sake thrives.
Gaining Ground, located in Concord, is unlike the other community farms that we have described here. Their entire mission is to grow organic produce for meal programs, shelters, and food pantries in the Boston area and their model does not include an education program, farm stand, or CSA. Gaining Ground was founded in 1994 by Jamie Bemis on privately owned land and in 1999 moved its main garden to the Thoreau Birthplace Property on Virginia Road – a 17-acre site rich in history and under cultivation for more than 300 years. At this time, it also operates the one-half-acre reproduction kitchen garden at the Old Manse in Concord which is modeled on the vegetable garden that Henry David Thoreau planted as a wedding present for Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne in 1842.
As mentioned in last week’s Update, Gaining Ground was founded primarily for the purpose of hunger relief. What is particularly meaningful about their endeavor is how they go about achieving their mission. Gaining Ground practices organic farming, so that only the best quality produce goes to those in need. They attract more then 1000 volunteers every year from 3rd graders to people in their 80s. The volunteers come from diverse communities: local schools, colleges, local residents, faith communities, centers for the disabled, garden clubs, and more. Gaining Ground works closely with the Town of Concord from whom they rent the farmland. Concord provides compost, works with them on invasive plant management and helps identify recipients for the hunger relief program. The farm has created partnerships with recipient groups so that Gaining Ground members might volunteer with these groups and vice versa.
The organization is run by two staff members: the farmer and an administrative coordinator. A dedicated Board of Directors with their diverse talents run the committees that support fundraising, outreach, volunteers, produce recipients, and land stewardship. It is this grassroots community work which makes the farm so successful… as well as their sense of fun. Besides the Harvest Fest that they host every year, they take time to play and share. For example, they encourage members to post their favorite poems at the garden and have fun shooting rotten tomatoes through a funnelator to see how far they can go. For Gaining Ground it is all about community and the ties that bind it.
Wright-Locke Farm is an 8-acre farm on Ridge Avenue in Winchester. The town originally purchased 20 acres from the Hamilton family in 2007 and set aside 12 acres for development, leaving the remaining acres along with the farmhouse to be managed by the Wright-Locke Farm Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. The land has been farmed for over 300 years.
The farm has been a popular pick-your-own raspberry farm and began to add additional produce with hubbard squash in 2009 and beets in 2010. After investigating other community farms, the board decided to follow the model of Natick Community Organic Farm which has a strong educational component built around their agricultural program.
They are implementing this new business model in phases, first building up the agricultural program in 2011 and then adding the educational component in 2012. A farmer was hired this year and has made some major changes in just the first 3 months since she began her work in March. The farm will have a diverse selection of produce in addition to the popular raspberries. It will offer tomatoes, potatoes, salad greens, flowers, peas, and squash among others. The produce is sold to local restaurants, at the Winchester Farmers’ Market, and, beginning this summer, at their own onsite farmstand.
Their future plans include continuing diversification with additional produce and raising chickens and selling eggs as the farm develops its education program.
Other than the farmer who is paid, Wright-Locke Farm runs entirely on volunteer effort. They have a Friends of the Farm program and draw supporters from Winchester, Arlington, Medford, Woburn, and Lexington. Every year they offer spring and fall community events: Spring Fling and Harvest Festival. These are opportunities to celebrate the farm and its supporters and spread the word about the Conservancy in the local community.