The heart, and soul, of Weston

One handful of Dandelion at a time

Land’s Sake is one of the greatest things about Weston.  I have long believed this since ‘discovering’ it during my third year as a Weston resident. Driving by the farm one warm May day, I decided to enter the long driveway to poke around  and see what the wooden farm stand, and the fields, were all about. A tall, thin man with a long beard was there, hoeing a field. It was a wonderful sight for my Wyoming-raised eyes that ached for familiar scenes of farmers working their fields.

“Hi. Do you work here?” I asked, naively.

“Sort of,” the man answered, with a bit of a grin.

Little did I know that I had just met Brian Donahue, a co-founder of Land’s Sake, an internationally known academic and a champion of suburban farming and forestry programs, of which Land’s Sake was a national model.

And little did I know that Land’s Sake would forever change my life.

Now, eight years later, I am honored to serve as Board Chair of this great organization and to work for the Land’s Sake community.  As a mom, a customer, and a volunteer, I can attest to the many impacts that this land, and the people who work on and for it, have made on my family. Whether it’s stopping by the farmstand on a steamy July day for fresh basil and carrots for dinner, or watching my children frolic in the farm and forests that Land’s Sake staff help maintain, the memories we’ve made are fresh and powerful. I have grown attached to this part of our town in a way that I never expected.

Land’s Sake is a place, a model of sustainability, a community of dedicated citizens that value open space, working landscapes, and community involvement. It is a source of healthy local food, a proud steward of forests, an inspirational teacher to children and adults. It is a board of leaders and a hardworking, talented staff, it is the tired hands of volunteers that give of their time, and the smiles of children that depart their buses and discover where their food comes from. Land’s Sake is all of this, and much more.

Interestingly, as our roots grow deeper in Weston and my kids experience more of the farm and forests, I find that Land’s Sake keeps on affecting my family in new and memorable ways. My oldest son, a 4th grader, decided to ‘try’ the After School Explorers program just last week. He’s always enjoyed being outside, but I’ve been careful not to inundate him with too many farm-related outings—not to push the agenda, if you know what I mean.

After one day of sign painting, planting, watering, playing, learning, and doing valuable outdoor work, the sports nut fell in love with Land’s Sake on his own, much to my surprise. He now has the Land’s Sake “bug,” and has returned to the farm as often as his program will allow. Thanks to Doug and Geeta, our dedicated education staff, and the magic of the land that sits in the geographic center of Weston, my son has been turned on to science, farming, and community service in a new way. Here, in his words, is the proof.

Mom: What made you interested in the After School Explorers program?

Lukas: My mom told me about it and I wanted to give it a try.

Mom: What did you think of the first day? What did you do?

Lukas: We planted some seeds in the education garden and took a tour of Land’s Sake. We did Name games, had snack, and met the nice teachers.

Mom: What is the favorite project that you’ve done in your last four visits?

Lukas: My favorite thing about it is that I bring something special home to my mom each time, such as a bouquet of various things around the farm, a cup of worms from the Norway maple, blossoms from the Norway maple, and rhubarb. I liked to paint signs for the education garden, work with other kids, and be around the farm.

Mom: How does the After School Explorers program compare to other sports or music activities?

Lukas: I like it the same amount and it’s different from other sports because we walk around a lot outside in nature.

Mom: What else would you like to say about the after school program?

Lukas: I would really recommend it to someone who likes to be outdoors and in nature a lot.

So there you have it. A new generation of smitten Land’s Sakers are sprouting up before our eyes. Our job, as parents, Westonites, and Land’s Sake supporters is to ensure that this story continues. Through your support as a member, donor, or parent that enrolls your child in the after school or Summer Programs, you can help this community gem keep on giving. And that way, when you or your child are at the farm, you too will be part of its community and its special history.

– Alyson Muzilla, Board Chair

Check out our New Education Garden