Source: The Weston Forum
By Patricia Gay on February 27, 2014
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.
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 email@example.com.