Please keep in mind that anything you read on this website is unofficial and the opinion of "About Town"

THIS IS OUR UNOFFICIAL PAGE FOR LACHAT TOWN FARM COMMISSION AND ADVISORY COMMITTEE BUSINESS



Watercolor (r.) by Margaret Wirtenberg (@2002); 
Juliana Lachat Preserve preserved!  More donations needed to complete approved historic plan for the homestead!!!  My favorite tree  (c) and (r) an awesome VIDEO HERE.

Contents of this page:

News;
* = We love CT wines - awesome!!!  Very interesting story in the HOUR - climate and other factors combine to make CT wines special, IMHO.  Try a wine tasting at Jones Winery in Shelton if you don't believe me!






DESIGN FOR LACHAT TOWN FARM SIGN...GREAT WEATHER FOR RE-OPENING JUNE 14, 2015!!!

 

THE SIGN (LEFT):  In all its majesty...the final result of you wouldn't believe how much effort...thanks to Kiwanis Foundation for the grant for the little blue tractor!!!


               

FIRST SELECTMAN'S MESSAGE:
The homestead still needs work.  But the tractor is awesome!!!   ABOUT TOWN wants to know if it is an automatic.


  
   
THANK YOU KIWANIS - FARMERS, START YOUR ENGINES
Who ordered the weather?  Not to, as they say, beat a dead horse, but what a difference a day makes - rain much needed, however.



LACHAT TOWN FARM:  OPENING DAY SUNDAY JUNE 14, 2014, 1-3PM, RAIN OR SHINE

                
Gentlemen and ladies, start your...tractor!  Let the planting begin!!!  But not before you celebrate Weston's agricultural; and rural history!!!








MONTHLY MEETINGS AND SPECIAL MEETINGS OF THE LACHAT TOWN FARM COMMISSION AND EXTRA MEETING NOTES BASED UPON CONTEXT
Do Sub-Committees need to post notices or take and file minutes?  Googled "CT F.O.I. Subcommittees" -  one answer here:  http://www.ct.gov/foi/cwp/view.asp?a=4162&Q=505152
No problem, as excellent Chair. holds all Commission meetings in public!


AGENDA ON LINE HERE.



BUSINESS PLAN - WILL THIS BE ON THE SELECTMEN"S MEETING THURSDAY?
The agenda for the Dec. 2 meeting is devoted to getting the budget together - an excellent idea, as the Town of Weston Budget Process is beginning to get rolling...we will not attend, this is really a "working meeting" and we never like to interrupt the flow (altho' we always feel most welcome).
  Similar to other experience we've had, those Committees and Commission under the eye of the Selectmen tend to report to a Thursday Selectmen's meeting, meeting themselves first, in this case, on Tuesday.  The Building Committee had done this sort of thing, but meets on Wednesdays - or it used to!






Lachat Town Farm Commission
Oct. 7, 2014, 7:30pm, Town Hall  Meeting Room

Full attendance minus one.

Having worked with the Town of Weston Finance Director to determine what is expected, the treasurer of the Commission proposed formalizing both sides of the ledger and identifying one-time (for the most part, expensive) items and separately recurring expense.   For a two-year budget - 2014 thru 2016.  This time frame would include expected projects to be undertaken as well as another level of details to make note of items that might be undertaken if funds and people to run them should appear!

About Town can never keep out of stuff, so we left after 45 minutes in order to not interfere in the flow of discussion - the Commission was cooking with Crisco, as my favorite watercolor instructor used to say!






LACHAT TOWN FARM COMMISSION MEETS SEPT. 23, 2014

This regular meeting came after the Harvest Dinner fundraiser as well as the Planning and Zoning Commission 8-24 for the plan for use of the house.  It was approved for an apartment for a farmer upstairs and a series of small event rooms downstairs.  Parking plan approved and Fire Department had OK'd it too.





Or an alternate culinary description of chicken-egg debate...a...!
  
WESTON, CT IS ALL TWO ACRE RESIDENTIAL AND FARMING - REALLY!
What's a farm without a farm tractor?  What's a Weston residential field if not neat?

About Town present and voting yes (the prevailing side) as well as speaking of what we heard at the Board of Selectmen September 4, 2014, regarding the schedule to appear before P&Z for an 8-24 report on change of use.

Discussion was very much like a "chicken-egg" debate - which ended up as an excellent omelet, we are happy to report!  Farm-tractor-Not-Tabled - vote taken because there was a quorum - just made it!!! 


The Weston Kiwanis Club purchased a 2007 tractor for the Lachat Town Farm.  No one asked why the Town of Weston wasn't providing the service, but someone did ask if the Weston Historical Society could use it too (the proverbial vehicle "driven only to church on Sundays" with super low mileage, in mint condition) with attachments including those necessary for all year, practical use.  The cost of hauling such a heavy item over the road or actually driving it up and down Weston Road and Route 53 the answer of why not practable.

Photo above NOT the Lachat tractor.





   
AWESOME GOOD IDEA FOR P.R.
Kiwanis comes through, votes YES for purchase of tractor for Lachat Farm and attachments!!!
  Conditions specified (I am so very glad - wouldn't want the Town to someday appropriate it) to detail tractor to say Kiwanis on both sides, condition that it be returned to Kiwanis if no longer used at Lachat Town Farm.



At the Board of Selectmen Sept. 4, 2014.

Selectmen set to support Lachat, preparing to go to P&Z for 8-24 for "change of use."

Architect-member of the Commission explains location of parking, fencing, issues to be brought up, most likely.  And now when P&Z asks when the Lachat Town Farm Commission has done lately, they can reply - "We've got a tractor!"  and report on success of raised beds, completion of first phase of renovation of the house.






LACHAT TOWN FARM COMMISSION - FUND RAISING TO THE FORE:
Renovations of Lachat Homestead will not, as we heard it, involve any further funding from the Lachat bequest to the Town for maintenance. 




JMO I think it takes talent to run a meeting effectively, especially with all nine (9) members bubbling over with ideas - and not quash anyone!

 At the Daugherty Commission Room for a special meeting (2 in July!!!)  News of TRACTOR (NOT the one above) and mowing plans.  And let's not forget history...

LACHAT TOWN FARM COMMISSION, 7-17-14

A long meeting, but then, there was lots to do!  Work on the homestead is coming along (around the back of the house).

Reports on how the Community Garden is faring, and where more support will be needed to assure that every aspect of the endeavor is run professionally.

With a bubbling over of new ideas about how to get their mission accomplished, the combined skills of the nine-member Commission elected a Chairman, Ellen McCormick, and set up committees or more like set up areas of focus for their energies!!!  Next meeting August 5th.

A very impressive group!
  And in the spirit of the Daugherty Commission Room murals!!!




WHAT DO YOU CALL A FARM WITHOUT A FARMER?  OR A FARMER WITH NO CREDIT FROM THE BANK?  BIG FARMA!!!  DOES THIS BOARD OF SELECTMEN  WANT TO BE SEEN LIKE THAT?
Get-acquainted meeting for Lachat Town Farm Commission and Advisory Committee.  Members new and long-time, some first-time volunteers, some from "Sustainability" and others committed farmers and videographers listen with rapt attention as Director of Finance describes how the model of "Enterprise Funds" that Parks and Rec, Youth Services and other Town providers of "use" works.  How can sufficient parking and fencing be provided without damaging vistas?  Great ideas from Advisory Committee member.  Also from architect and new appointee to Commission.
--------------

Agenda - Lachat Town Farm Commission Monthly Meeting
Town Hall Meeting Room
7:30 pm
Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A. Gayle Weinstein to welcome and introduce members of the First Lachat Town Farm Commission/done

1. Explain the Mission of the Commission/done
2. Structure of the Commission and its responsibilities/done
B. Rick Darling to explain the financial structure of the Commission going forward/done
1. Discuss financial status of Lachat Town Farm/"Enterprise Fund" model
2. Discuss financial statements of accounts/Jeff volunteers to be liaison on this.
C. Update new members on the Lachat Town Farm’s chronology of development including the status of the farmhouse and phase one of the master plan - Carol Baldwin/done.
D. Discuss the Community Garden and where we are at present/going well with fence and neighbors haven't complained nor has anyone else.
1. Weston Women’s League involvement in renting garden beds - status/great!
2. Finances of Community Garden/discussion.
E. Amy Kalafa and Michelle Fracasso, Advisory Committee members, to discuss their agricultural vision including the production garden and the hiring of a farm manager/excellent report - all items below covered
1. discuss machinery (tractor) and where it will reside
2. discuss supplies needed –do a wish list for publication?
3. irrigation
4. barn restorations
F. Discuss ongoing fund raising needs and new committees to implement/the way we heard it, altho' much will be done on this, Town should match (my idea) everything raised (not necessarily one for one).
G. Election of Chair of the Commission - next week special meeting.
H. Discussion of Commission assignments/general discussions.
I. Discuss need for a meeting prior to next scheduled monthly meeting on August 5th/yes
J. New Business
K. Public participation as required
.

-----------------------------

Background:  This means "very deep background" as far back as 1997 and 1999 Special Town Meetings and links to almost everything up 'til now (below):

FROM THE JUNE 23RD SELECTMEN"S MEETING:  Board of Selectmen expands Lachat Town Farm Commission to nine (9) members.
FROM THE JUNE 5TH SELECTMEN'S MEETING:  NEWS THAT HALF THE BEDS HAVE BEEN RENTED AND FILLED WITH GOOD EARTH...THREE MORE APPOINTED TO LACHAT TOWN FARM COMMISSION (7 total so far...) - familiar faces all - I missed catching the names and they were not on the agenda for the Selectmen (although I have the agenda for the L.O.C. where some arenamed - not official, I missed the meeting, so no real news to report).




SATURDAY MAY 3, 2014 - MILLIE BEST WOULD HAVE BEEN DELIGHTED TO SEE THIS!

Westonites volunteered to prep for Spring planting season later in May...with the hard winter over, it seems plants and trees on my property a bit behind previous years.


DID SOMEONE ASK HOW YOU GO ABOUT FARMING?  WHAT DO YOU NEED?  SAY "BARNS" AND "FIELDS" AND THROW IN A FARMHOUSE, TOO!!! HOW ABOUT FAIR WEATHER REPORTS!

Lower right:  Inside a barn looking across Godfrey Road;  so what is a raised bed?  This is what they look like!  Frames being assembled and placed according to Conservation Commission approved modified plan (3 sizes - small medium and large - for rent);  pictured above, Kiwanis recognizes Lachat Oversight Committee - and Kiwani were there helping Saturday, too!
  Invasive species zapped, too (not shown in action).

 

Someone ask about barns?  How about artistic inspiration?






HOW TO PLANT IN A RAISED BED ENVIRONMENT TUTORIAL COMING SOON...NEED WATER?

Water for farm from this well house (r)?
 At the "raised bed" construction day, volunteers for Lachat Town Farm put up the frames for the 25 raised beds.  
What is a raised bed?



How we saw it Saturday morning at Lachat Town Farm
At "raised bed" construction day!  Glimpses of the "surround."  Until - voila!  There you have it - what we have always dreamed about - the lonely tree!!!

It was a sign.  Actually, there will a sign coming, designed especially to honor the dairy farm history of Lachat. 

The beauty of every little bit of Lachat Town Farm in-the-making was astounding!  This was the first time we had ever set foot on the property to photograph it.  


You can enjoy this property in a number of ways.  Gorgeous if kept up, both inside and out.  A passing quick look from cars on Godfrey Road is now breathtaking and must continue that way. Any development of a fruit orchard would change but even perhaps only improve the view!  Yet it should remain totally natural looking (not wild, but landscape-painting gorgeous..  We note that the stone walls separating the homestead area (at a higher elevation) from the fields are also there for the purpose of containing the soil as the grade changes as the land use changes - from homestead and gardens to farm fields!

What a place for the artistic eye!


LONG VIEW:  I couldn't believe I had been correct - from just reviewing the topographic lines, it was clear that the property in the Town's control rose dramatically in the rear section of the 10 acre piece.  Wow!  It sure does!  and furthermore, that signal "bush" standing apart from everything else - is a big Arborvitae!!!



HOW DID WE GET TO WHERE WE ARE?

Q.  IN A BAKER'S DOZEN OF YEARS WHAT'S CHANGED? A.  PHOTOGRAPHER NOW TAKING PICTURES WHILE ON THE PROPERTY ITSELF (NOT FROM GODFREY ROAD SHOULDERS)!
The land endures.  First two, in autumn, lower field at Lachat, 2001 and 2010; Next two May 3, 2014.  Raised beds the only answer to planting at the Lachat Town Farm.  Why?  Weeds allowed to grow since @ 2004 are nasty tough and a pain to remove, JMO. 

LANDSCAPE (URBAN) DESIGN:
Note how the steepness of the grade from wetlands to forest (r) makes Lachat lower field a more intimate space when on the property standing still - as opposed to the earlier views (l) taken OUTSIDE the stone walls or even taken from across Godfrey to assure a wider view.  And those driving by on Godfrey would feel this sense of vastness even more in their brief seconds looking at the scene!



Watercolor by Margaret Wirtenberg @2013

2014 MOVING FORWARD...
Lower field and back barns;  upper field; and The Lachat Homestead, prior to action initiated recently...artist's rendering...L.O.C. members at work reviewing The Plan...

The plan for presentation to Conservation Commission, which was approved (application approved for Phase One) and Planning & Zoning Commission (8-24 approval here) here.

Conservation approves Phase One plan March 20, 2014, reconfirms OK for raised bed locations, Thursday, April 24, 2014.
Lachat plan gets Weston P&Z approval
Weston FORUM
By Patricia Gay on February 27, 2014

The Lachat property on Godfrey Road West received an 8-24 approval for a community garden.

A plan to create a community garden at the Lachat property on Godfrey Road West is a go.

On Monday, Feb. 24, the Planning and Zoning Commission gave a positive 8-24 referral to Phase One of the Lachat application, which will allow for the development of a community garden this spring.

Carol Baldwin, founder of the Friends of Lachat, a group dedicated to preserving the Lachat homestead, said she was “thrilled” with P&Z’s approval. “I’m pinching myself. It’s been a long road, six years since I first proposed a town farm, and now it’s starting to happen. The project really has its own momentum now,” she said

By state statute 8-24, P&Z is required to determine whether potential projects on municipal property are an appropriate use of that property. On Monday, the commission heartily endorsed the plans for Lachat. While it could have just accepted the application and voted on it at a future meeting, the commission went ahead and accepted and approved the application at the same time.

“What I love about this project is that it is for the entire community,” said Jane Connolly, P&Z vice chairman, after the meeting. “People have given so much time and effort for Lachat. I think it is wonderful for the community. Younger people want it, too,” she said.

Plans for the Lachat property under Phase One include:

• Creation of a community garden in the southwestern field, behind the barn, for food production, education, instruction of gardening techniques, and community building.

• Installation of a fence in the southwestern field to keep out deer and other animals.

• Installation of irrigation for the community garden.

• Creation of a parking area and driveway to allow access to the farm, using grass pavers and non-impervious materials.

• Hedging along the parking area and fence line.

• Cultivation of an area for the growth of berries and wild edibles.

• Construction of a Hoop House, a greenhouse for seedlings.

• Construction of two bridges (one to accommodate a tractor, the other for foot traffic) across a portion of the wetlands area.

History

In 1997, the late Leon Lachat left his farm on Godfrey Road West, abutting Devil’s Den, to the town of Weston and the Nature Conservancy. Through a dual lease agreement in 2011, the conservancy oversees the wooded area next to its Devil’s Den Preserve (about 22.5 acres) and the town is responsible for the front meadow portion of the property (about 19 acres), including the buildings.

The Lachat Oversight Committee was formed in 2012, tasked with creating and overseeing implementation of a master plan for the town’s portion of the property. Committee members agreed to focus on creating “a farming experience for future generations with a look to Weston’s past.”

The Friends of Lachat, spearheaded by Ms. Baldwin, has secured grants and raised money for the preservation of the farmhouse on the Lachat property.

The plan for the community garden, which is just one of three phases in the overall plan for the property, is to create 50 four-foot by 16-foot raised beds which members of the community can rent and plant fruit and vegetables, Ms. Baldwin said.

There has been increased interest by the public in the past few years for farm-to-fork gardening and fresh produce, Ms. Baldwin said. She noted the success last summer of Viv’s Veggies, a new farm stand at Chestnut Farm on Lyons Plain Road, and hopes the public will also embrace the community garden at Lachat.

“People are very interested in where their food comes from, young people too, so I feel this will be a real asset to the community,” she said.

Following P&Z’s approval for phase one, the plan still needs to be reviewed by the Conservation Commission, particularly the bridges being constructed in the wetlands area. The commission has a site scheduled for Saturday, March 8.

“Selectman Dennis Tracey once said, if done right, Lachat could become the soul of the community. We’re on our way,” Ms. Baldwin said.

Anyone interested in securing a plot at the community garden at Lachat may contact Ms. Baldwin at baldwinr@aol.com.


JUNE 23RD...MISSED IT?  READ ABOUT IT HERE...OR IF YOU WANT AN EVEN QUICKER SNAP SHOT - WATCH THE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE

Thanks to Tom T
A total success and it tasted marvelous!
You must check out this link to get a feel for the day...http://edgeoftheroad.com/view/400/riding.php

THE 501(C)3 ARM OF THE LACHAT OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE, "FRIENDS OF LACHAT"  OFFERS "THE HIDDEN CHICKEN COOPS OF WESTON TOUR"
Chicken coop tour benefits Lachat Farm in Weston
By The Forum Staff on June 18, 2013
 
The Friends of Lachat are organizing The Hidden Chicken Coops of Weston Tour, with all proceeds to benefit the restoration of the Lachat Farm, co-owned by the town and the Nature Conservancy.

The self-guided tour will be on Sunday, June 23. Tickets and maps may be picked up at Lachat Farm, 106 Godfrey Road West, from 10 to 1 on the day of the tour. The tour will go until 4.

Tickets include a farm-to-table seasonal lunch buffet at the home of Weston caterer Phoebe Cole. Ticket prices are $20 for adults and $8 for children.

“We hope the tour will be educational, community building, and fun for old and young alike — all qualities that represent our vision for Lachat Farm,” said Carol Baldwin, Friends of Lachat director.

The tour will feature coops set in beautiful flower and vegetable gardens tended by Weston backyard farmers. There will be all different styles of coops on display from large to small, homemade to purchased.

Owners will be on hand to offer tips on how to have your own backyard flock.
Included on the tour will be the Fagan family’s Roots Farm, with 50 newly hatched baby chicks.

Also, get a glimpse into Weston’s past with a visit to the historic Manatuck Farm, 96 Norfield Road. This circa 1795 homestead features, besides its chickens, an old barn, potting shed, and lovely gardens.

And, there will be newer farms, such as the large vegetable garden and coop installed by a family of modern day homesteaders, the Fracasso family, on Wells Hill Road.

Friends of Lachat is actively raising funds to restore the circa 1770 pre-Revolutionary David Godfrey farmhouse that is part of the town’s Juliana Lachat Preserve on Godfrey Road West. The friends’ vision is to have a town farm on the property, including community rental plots with deer-fencing and water, and a production garden with a farm stand — and, of course, a laying flock with farm fresh eggs available to the public.

For more information, contact Carol Baldwin at baldwinr@aol.com or visit friendsoflachat.org.



THE TOWN MEETING ACTS...

From an unofficial source, the history of how the project has proceeded: 
Special Town Meetings in 1997 (homestead and main field plus woods adjoining Nature Conservancy = 32 acres) and 1999 (10 acre upper field - the one that was used for ski hill) voted to jointly purchase Lachat farm with Nature Conservancy.  See LWV of Weston website.



THE FIRST COMMITTEE: 2001-2004

THE SECOND COMMITTEE:  Lachat Conservation-Education Committee

THE THIRD COMMITTEE:  Lachat Advisory Committee

THE FOURTH COMMITTEE:  Lachat Oversight Committee

THE FIFTH GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY AND ITS EXCELLENT ADVENTURES; GO TO THE TOP OF THIS PAGE:  Lachat Town Farm Commission



Grant aims to expand indoor farming in state
By PAT EATON-ROBB Associated Press
Publication: The Day
Published December 25. 2014 4:00AM


Hartford - Some Connecticut berry farmers may soon be growing their crops in the dead of winter.

A New Haven-based technology company, Agrivolution LLC, has received a $73,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to work with Connecticut farmers and determine the feasibility of year-round, indoor production...click above.





IS THE CT WINE TRAIL SOMETHING LACHAT TOWN FARM MIGHT ASSOCIATE ITSELF WITH, SOME DAY? 
We just checked out Jones Family Farm...excellent!  We note that the Jones Family Farm has fruit picking fields for June (blueberries), July (strawberries) and August (squash).  Winery since 2004.




http://ctmirror.org/food-waste-recycling-remains-a-tough-task-in-connecticut/

Food waste recycling remains a tough task in Connecticut
CT MIRROR
By: Jan Ellen Spiegel | July 9, 2014

Bridgewater -- With a shout of “BLT!” as lunchtime peaks at the historic Bridgewater Village Store, chef Damian Krieg is doing pretty much the same thing he’s done for more than seven years – cranking out sandwiches, dishing up fresh soups and serving a changing array of specials.

But there is one difference, nearly imperceptible as he finishes making a king-size bowl of cole slaw during the increasingly infrequent lulls in the action. For the last three months, instead of dumping the cores of the cabbage and onions, ends of the carrots and the guts of the green peppers into the trash with everything else, he has been dropping them into a bucket beneath his workstation.

It’s his new compost bucket – part of a first-in-the-state curbside food waste pickup project in this largely rural southwestern Connecticut town.

“Anything that is biodegradable goes into the compost heap. You could even use paper which is biodegradable,” Krieg says. “The baker uses one upstairs and just before she leaves she brings her bag down here. We combine them with that. Sometimes we do have to empty them twice day.”
Also Read

That means dumping them into a larger barrel behind the store. That barrel stays locked to keep critters and other undesirables out until its contents are picked up every Friday and taken a few miles away to the New Milford Farms compost facility where they will be made into soil products.
..http://ctmirror.org/food-waste-recycling-remains-a-tough-task-in-connecticut/


HAPPENINGS, ESPECIALLY IN CT AGRICULTURE


Watercolor by Margaret Wirtenberg of early concept @2013

More farms are doing business in Connecticut
By Kelly Catalfamo Day Staff Writer
Article published Mar 31, 2014

Kerry Taylor, 38, and her husband, Max, 27, decided three years ago to leave western Massachusetts and start their own farm in Connecticut, braving the state's notoriously rocky soil because it brought with it the opportunity for more independence and less competition.

"It's super rocky, it's awful," said Taylor, but "you just learn how to weld and fix equipment."

The Taylors' move to Salem made them part of a statistic recently publicized by the governor: a preliminary report of the federal census of agriculture shows that the number of farms in Connecticut has increased by 22 percent in the past five years. The full report will be available in May.

The 2012 Census of Agriculture, which documents a national decline in farmland, shows that Connecticut boasts the highest farming increase in New England. The average size of a farm, however, decreased from 83 to 73 acres, and the average market value of agricultural products sold decreased by almost 18 percent (from $112,195 per farm to $92,120).

The state Department of Agriculture confirmed that farming seems to be becoming more popular but also noted the trend may be somewhat exaggerated...

Please search the New London DAY archives for the remainder of this story.