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Town Farm Grows in Westport Thanks to Talmadge

WESTPORT, Conn. – On a little farm off Cross Highway, they're cultivating not just fruits and vegetables, but a new way of looking at the world.

On the site of the old Wakeman Farm, the Westport Green Village Initiative has taken root, and the fruits of the organization's labors are beginning to spread like the grape vines climbing the farm's trellises. While dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people have gotten their hands dirty, literally and figuratively, making GVI viable, Cathy Talmadge deserves a large share of the credit, though she'd be the last person to seek it. A long-time Westport resident and member of the Representative Town Meeting, Talmadge has brought to GVI the managerial skills she acquired in business, and the results are tangible.

Most notable is the old Wakeman farmhouse, which has been renovated and re-outfitted with modern appliances, all donated, and is now inhabited by  Michael Aitkenhead, the resident farmer and instructor, and his family. The barn has been fixed up and holds exhibits on GVI, whose mission is to make Westport more environmentally sustainable. The most notable accomplishment in that regard was getting a ban on plastic shopping bags enacted two years ago, and during the growing season GVI manages a weekly distribution of food from area farmers to subscribers of the Community Supported Agriculture program.

In addition, a working demonstration farm, complete with bee hives and chicken coops, is staffed by student interns, and biweekly classes are held on various gardening or environmental topics. "We'd like to grow into an organization that can support farmers and a sustainable lifestyle throughout the region," says Talmadge, citing support and development of urban gardens in vacant sections of Bridgeport as one immediate goal. "Our goal is to help people get back in touch with the living world."

Have you been to the Green Village Initiative center at Wakeman Farm?

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