Brinkman Family Charitable Foundation Makes 3rd Annual Contribution for Farm Sustainability
Stratford resident Danielle Hawthorne presented 121st District State Representative and Soundkeeper Terry Backer with a $4,000 donation on Saturday on behalf of the Brinkman Family Charitable Foundation of Rochester, NY, to help support The Farm at Stratford.
This is the third year The Farm at Stratford has been the beneficiary of the Brinkman Family Charitable Foundation, with the first year contribution of $11,000 helping to purchase some of the much-needed start-up equipment.
"Terry has been tireless in his efforts to launch, support and promote the community garden and I'm honored to present him with this gift on behalf of my family," said Danielle Hawthorne, whose home borders the back of The Farm. "This project has been a real unifier for the town, as residents from all corners of Stratford gather here to garden, grow, learn and share knowledge with one another."
John Sedgwick, a Stratford resident who is a first-year plot owner, said that he donates the produce he raises to Alpha Community Services in Bridgeport. He built raised beds and a drainage system in his plot in order to farm a previously unusable area due to water saturation, that will yield beans, tomatoes, carrots, radish, spinach, lettuce and a variety of herbs.
The Farm at Stratford sits on property that was originally the Pirhala Farm on Connors Lane. The Pirhala family farmed the land for more than 50 years, producing and selling corn, tomatoes and other local crops. The Town purchased the property for $1.25 million in 2002, a year after Mr. Pirhala passed away. Stratford's first mayor, James Miron, worked in partnership with State Representative Terry Backer to transform the long-dormant neglected Pirhala Fields Park on Connors Lane into flourishing gardens.
"Pirhala was here a long time and the Town bought the land and I got it in my head that we could grow stuff here," said Backer. "What the local gardeners learn here about organic gardening and sustainability they take back home and they are able to create gardens in their backyards too. They can show their neighbors how to grow food."
"We're passing on the legacy of farming," said Ellie Hawthorne of the Brinkman Family Charitable Foundation. Hawthorne, a Rochester, NY resident, grew up on an organic farm, as did her children, and comes from a farming family. She's watched the progress at The Farm at Stratford during her frequent visits to her daughter Danielle's house.
"I'm an out-of-state resident helping to support Stratford's community garden. I'd love for this donation to encourage matching or supporting donations."
For more information, visit http://www.thefarmatstratford.org/ or find The Farm at Stratford on Facebook.