Gardening With Gutner: Land’s Sake Teaches Life Lessons

By Douglas Cook, Education Director at Land's Sake Farm
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Gardening With Gutner

Gardening With Gutner

WESTON (CBS) – 40 years ago, Weston resident Bill McElwain started a vegetable patch and worked with local teenagers to grow healthy, local food. They sold the produce in the city for $1 a box. Each summer, more kids came to work for the land. Other caught hold of the vision and in 1980, Weston residents founded Land’s Sake, providing a permanent home for Bill’s vision. Land’s Sake has grown up a lot over the years, a few of our accomplishments include:

• Engaged over 1,200 Weston school children in environmental education on the farm.

• Produced 20,000 lbs. of food for distribution at local hunger relief organizations like the Greater Boston Food Bank and Community Servings.

• Fed over 100 families through our Community Supported Agriculture program

• Provided a bounty of locally-grown produce at our farm stand.

• Promoted fun, community and farm-based education by hosting over 30 seasonal events, workshops and dinners.

• Maintained a living link to Weston’s agrarian history.

Watch Gardening With Gutner

This season, Land’s Sake’s Green Power program has made several significant shifts in design to reconnect with our roots. We now have full days, packed with amazingly unique variety of projects to engage these students (13, 14 and 15 year-olds) with the farm, the community and with each other. Our first week started off very rigorously as we worked hard to show how, from growing food to serving it, we are all connected with food access and hunger in our area. We began with lofty goals and can happily say that we achieved them. Here is a list of our goals and the projects we completed every day:

• Monday: Work Hard. We spent the morning “learning the ropes” for the week, introducing everyone to their goat and sheep chores and harvesting shelling peas to sell at the farm stand. During the afternoon we worked on rehabilitating last years chicken tractors and making them better.

• Tuesday: Work Together. We amped up our efficiency and harvested 24 quarts of sugar snap peas for the stand, finished the chicken tractors and played team building games.

• Wednesday: Show Leadership. We harvested many, many pounds of fava beans, meticulously weeded the newly planted strawberries, and built structures for our goats to play on.

• Thursday: Give back. We traveled to Jamaica Plain and spent the morning preparing meals at Community Servings, an amazing organization that delivers meals to homebound clients with critical illnesses. by this time in the week we were all looking forward to relaxing at the Weston Town pool for the afternoon.

• Friday: Live Local. We harvested, Garlic Scapes, Fennel and Rhubarb from the Education Garden, and with the help of Ellen Touart-Grob our favorite local chef, prepared Land’s Sake veggies to share with the Land’s Sake farmers and staff.

Related: WBZ-TV photographer encounters goat

In one week this young group of leaders contributed to several local communities on a variety of levels. By staying focused on accomplishing our weekly work goals we were able to make a truly positive impact. We were also focused on creating a unique Green Power community, one where we can have fun, reflect, work, and learn together. Looking back on this week and all of our successes, we are all really forward to making this new program a leader in the field of experiential education.

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