Farewell and Hello: Changes to the Board of Directors

As spring blooms, changes are afoot on the Land’s Sake Board of Directors. At our recent Annual Meeting on May 15th, we honored and bid farewell to retiring members Alyson Muzila and Drew Pappone.

16835146162_e26f154fe1_mAlyson Muzila joined the Board in 2004, serving as Board Chair for several years. Alyson was instrumental in developing the Board of Directors from an operational overseer to a governance body in the past decade. Alyson’s passion and love for all things Land’s Sake will be sorely missed on the Board, but will continue in her visits to the farm with her four children and husband Peter. You can read Alyson’s powerful reflections on the importance of Land’s Sake in her blog posting from 2011 here.

Drew Pappone first became involved with Land’s Sake not as a Board Member, but as a GreenPower camper, and then eventually a farm and forest staff member. In his time on the Board, Drew has been a constant advocate for expanding our reach beyond Weston, and important voice for the staff, and he has encouraged us to think about diversity on the farm.

Ned Rossiter PictureAlso at the Annual Meeting, Members voted to elect Ned Rossiter as the first Land’s Sake Board of Directors Emeritus. Ned, a career high school history teacher in the Newton schools and longtime resident of Weston, has been with Land’s Sake since its founding over 30 years ago. From the building of the Farm Stand to the 2015 Sugaring Off, Ned has been a constant presence, enthusiastic volunteer, and valuable supporter of the work of Land’s Sake. You can read more about Ned’s experiences here.

After honoring these longtime members and recognizing Alex Selvig for his participation over the previous year, the board also elected four new Board of Directors members: Alix Mackey, Jordan McCarron, Caitlin Salyer, and Steve Weeple. We’re very excited to welcome them to the Board, and can’t wait for another great season! You can learn more about our newest Board members here.


Library Talk Tomorrow! A Landscape Artist Explores the Nature of Weston

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Join Larry Grob, recipient of a grant from the Weston Cultural Council and creator of Land’s Sake’s Artist-in-Residence program, for the unveiling of a new series of Weston landscape paintings and a talk about the nature of our town and its landforms. As Larry describes it, “As an artist/geographer I paint as a way of engaging with our land, and doing so forces me to inquire about how things came to be and how they may become in the future. This project began simply, with easel and pastels, and expanded as I pondered the our geological story, issues of land use, stewardship, and even concepts of ‘deep time’. I hope to inspire a slightly richer connection with the land that is Weston…I think that’s a good job for an artist.”
The talk will begin at 7:00 pm on Thursday, October 30 in the Community Room at the Weston Town Library and run approximately one hour. Light refreshments will be served, and all are welcome.
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Weston Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. More information on the MCC is available at www.massculturalcouncil.org

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Come Celebrate Food Day 2014 with Land’s Sake Farm Tomorrow!

Hunger Relief

What is Food Day?

Every October 24, Americans celebrate and enjoy real food at thousands of events nationwide. It is a day intended to be a year-long catalyst to resolve to make positive changes in our own diets, and take action to solve food-related problems in our communities at the local, state, and national level.

The focus for the 2014 Food Day is food justice. This food day, we celebrate food that is “healthy, affordable, and produced with care for the environment, farm animals, and the people who grow, harvest, and serve it.”

In keeping with the 2014 theme of food justice, this Friday, October 24, join farmers Erik, Olivia, and Paulette on afternoon tours of the main farm, and learn about our growing practices, hunger relief program, and how these fit into Land’s Sake’s larger food vision.

Tours leave at 2:30pm and 3:30pm from the Children’s Garden, as we walk around the main farm loop.

Also on Friday, at 2:00pm, we will be gleaning veggies for donation to one of our hunger relief partners. Come get your hands dirty and give a helping hand to support folks in our community!

This will be Land’s Sake’s first celebration of Food Day, and we so hope you can join us!

Sincerely, Erik, Olivia, and Paulette

Summer on the Farm: Growing Community

Tuesday was a classic day at the farm. The final group of this season’s Green Power students were busily working in the front garden, helping to harvest and keep our fields looking great. Land’s Sake farmers were busily washing and packing the day’s harvest and setting out berries and tomatoes for sale at the farmstand. CSA customers were literally queued up, ready to claim their share of the vegetables that were all beautifully and carefully laid out under the CSA tent. Students from the Blue Hills Boys & Girls Club romped about the garden and the fields, learning about goats and compost, green vegetables and natural systems. It was Land’s Sake at its summertime best.

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Communities that Work Together, Stay Together

Many hands make quick work.

When ever we get a request from a group to help us out on the farm, the first things that flash through my mind are logistics. Do we have the time, resources and the need for a mass of people to join us in the fields or forest? There are a lot of moving pieces and to top it all off we are completely at the mercy of mother nature’s whims. Coordinating so many details can be a daunting task, but one that I can assure you all is well worth it.

This Spring a group of 25 freshmen from the Rivers School in Weston came to work on the farm. Together with the Land’s Sake farm staff we planted nearly 5000 strawberries in about an hour and a half. That is a serious amount of work. A project that may have taken days of time out of the farm staff’s limited schedule was accomplished in one fell swoop.

Jeanette Szretter, Director of Community Service and Spanish Teacher at Rivers School, said, “The weather cooperated and our faculty and students have nothing but raves about the success of their work with you today! What an impressive amount of strawberries! Thank you so much for your willingness to host us and to partner with us. We look forward to many more such opportunities!”

These projects go far beyond the tangible work that is accomplished. By focusing our physical energy on a common goal we build stronger connections with our friends, neighbors and to the community as a whole. My experience at Land’s Sake over the past two and a half years has been that when we call upon our community for support in a time of need we are often rewarded by a profound outpouring from all over.

When I arrived at Land’s Sake I felt like I was immediately adopted into a truly unique and strong community. Every day I am proud and grateful to contribute to an organization with such deep roots. Now in our thirtieth year we are working harder then ever to assure that those roots remain healthy and will support us for another thirty years. If you live anywhere near Weston and want to feel connected to an amazing community, don’t hesitate any longer, explore all we have to offer. Join us in working towards a sustainable and rewarding future any way you can.

-Douglas Cook, Education Director

Signs of Spring

Merely a month ago, the world looked a lot different than it does today.  Our sugar house was fully engulfed in drifts, our logging crew was trudging through waist deep snow, and spring seemed very very far away. For those of us who love a good old-fashioned New England winter, this year certainly didn’t disappoint.

But as I write this entry, its 49 degrees and drizzling, the last piles of snow are quickly fading away, and spring seems just around the corner (9 days to be exact). With the warmer weather, you may have noticed the sudden appearance of maple buckets on trees around Weston, followed by groups of local middle schoolers rushing to collect as much as they can (without spilling it all over themselves).

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During maple season, keeping up with the flow of sap can certainly be a challenge and we rely heavily on the help of Green Power students and community volunteers.  A big thank you is due to everyone who has helped with tapping trees and collecting sap over the last month.  If you haven’t been able to join us let, not to worry, there are several more weeks of sap collecting.  If you are interesting in helping out, please email me at dave@landssake.org and I will add you to our volunteer email list.

And don’t forget – Saturday, March 26th is our annual Sugaring Off Festival, featuring a live band, tours of the sugar house, maple syrup sales, sugar on snow treats, and of course LOTS OF PANCAKES!  The event runs from 9am to 1pm at the Bill McElwain Sugar House, which is located behind the parking lot at the Weston Middle School (456 Wellesley St. Weston, MA)

– Dave Quinn, Land’s Sake.

Soup, Trees and Wreaths at the Melone Homestead

Saturday was a great day—and I went to bed last night feeling the fullness of thanks, of community, of caring and being cared for—and it was everything that the holiday spirit is about.  And it was awesome.

The Melone House was sparkling (well, maybe not sparkling, but it looked pretty darn good, both inside and out!)  Land’s Sake staffers had spent a lot of time over the last several weeks burning brush piles, making dump runs, tidying, organizing, moving furniture, vacuuming, and scrubbing – all in preparation for our Holiday Open House and Tree/Wreath Sale.   Some of us spent a fair amount of time cooking, and one of us spent a lot of time making wreaths!  And all of us had a great time.  The house looked great, smelled great (soup and mulling cider on the stove) and was toasty warm on a perfect bright-but-chilly December day.

This year’s event was particularly special for a number of reasons.  First of all, it was the first time we’ve had a chance to show off the newly renovated Melone House—what a difference!  Secondly, we weren’t able to hold this annual event last year, due to the aforementioned renovations—and we as a staff missed it, and missed seeing the excitement of a newly chosen Christmas tree in the faces of our friends and their children. So it was especially nice to reconnect in that way with folks about whom we’ve grown to care deeply, and who care deeply about us.
It was also special because of new friends and new connections:

Hilary Crowell can be described as a can-do, capable and enthusiastic young farmer.  She demonstrated her handwork skills this summer with gorgeous onion braids that were sold at the farmstand, and when we began thinking about wreaths this Fall, she jumped on the bandwagon with both feet.  I introduced her electronically (isn’t e-mail great for that sort of thing?) to Nea Glenn, of the Weston Garden Club, who graciously gave her a private lesson in wreath-making. Thank you, Nea!  Next thing you know, Hilary is a wreath-maker extraordinaire, and banging out wreaths like there’s no tomorrow.  Her enthusiasm was contagious, and I think I got as big a kick out of the fun Hilary was having as from the wreaths themselves.

We invited our Weston neighbor and collaborator Afton Cotton, proprietor of Pigeon Hill Preserves, to join us yesterday to sell her wonderful preserves and gift baskets, some of which feature our very own strawberries. Afton taught some awesome canning and preserving workshops for us this year, and the publicity generated by her new business and the workshops has benefitted both parties.  We are always delighted to be able to interface with like-minded individuals and organizations, especially fledgling ones.

I often serve as greeter/gatekeeper at our Land’s Sake events, and in that capacity I usually get a chance to say a brief hello to most everyone who attends.  But that is generally against the backdrop of large crowds, high anxiety (okay, I admit it!) and having to concentrate on taking money and making change. What I particularly like about our Christmas Tree day is that it affords the opportunity to visit with our friends in a quiet, relaxed way without the fracas of lines and crowds and hustle-bustle. And in some ways it feels like a gift that we give people:  the drive up our long driveway almost demands that we disconnect from the holiday rush, take a deep breath, and draw respite from the simple act of walking in the woods to select a holiday tree and taking it home, like the treasure that it is.

In the shortest, darkest days of the year, it seems especially appropriate to give thanks for and to our new friends, our old friends and our supporters—without whom Land’s Sake could not and would not exist—and to my colleagues, in particular the farmers, whose toil and strength combine to bestow upon us the bounty of the earth and the fruits of their labors.  I am humbled and awed by them and so grateful to them and to Mother Earth for a great season.