FRIENDS OF LACHAT
Friends of Lachat
Friends of Lachat was established in 2011 to stop the impending demolition by our Town of the circa 1770 David Godfrey homestead on the Juliana Lachat Preserve in Weston, CT. This IRS-designated 501(c)(3) charitable organization (EIN number 80-0768651) was formed in order to initiate emergency fund-raising. Friends of Lachat also needed to create a rationale for saving the house. A vision for the homestead and property was created, with a Mission Statement, multi-phase Master Plan, and Town-appointed Commission for oversight. The homestead would be the heart (and soul) of a Town Farm!
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Mail Checks payable to "Friends of Lachat, Inc." to:
Carol Baldwin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
31 Fanton Hill Rd.
Weston, CT 06883
Donations are tax deductible.
Our Tax ID number is 80-0768651
We appreciate your support!
LACHAT TOWN FARM AT THE JULIANA LACHAT PRESERVE IN WESTON, CONNECTICUT OFFERS FARMING AND ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES FOR ALL AGES, COMMUNITY-BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES, AND AN IMPORTANT CONNECTION WITH AND ENJOYMENT OF OUR LAND THAT FOSTERS A HAPPIER, HEALTHIER, AND MORE 'GROUNDED' AND SUSTAINABLY-CENTERED WESTON.
Lachat Farm is a beautiful 40-acre property at 106 Godfrey Road West that borders the 900-acre Devil's Den Nature Preserve. Originally built by David Godfrey before the Revolutionary War, the homestead is one of our oldest farms and represents one of the original settlement areas of our Town. Godfrey ran a mill there; the remnants still can be seen in the adjoining Devil's Den. The property stayed in the same family for over 100 years. In 1931, Leon Lachat, Sr. and his wife Juliana, both immigrants, bought the property and ran a dairy farm there, delivering milk to our Town. His son, Leon Jr., eventually took over the farm but worried the beautiful and historic property would be developed after his death, so he deeded the property to the Town and the Nature Conservancy in 1997. His wish was that the farm remain intact and provide a place for enrichment for our community.
After his death, the Nature Conservancy made a plan to develop the property, which was subsequently rejected by our Town. In 2012, our Town and the Nature Conservancy, with the help of Friends of Lachat, worked out a co-lease agreement, wherein the Town would lease the farmland and buildings from the Nature Conservancy and in turn the Nature Conservancy would lease the woodlands from the Town. It is a 10-year lease that can be renewed basically indefinitely.
Lachat Town Farm is NOT a line item in the Town's budget. A dedicated group of passionate volunteers have worked diligently since 2011 to bring this vision to reality. More than $200,000 has been raised in individual donations. Additionally Friends has applied for and been awarded grants from the CT Trust for Historic Preservation, Kiwanis International, the Weston Education Fund, as well as the CT State Department of Agriculture. Friends of Lachat actively continues to search out and bring in grant money.
The Friends group successfully placed the homestead on the Connecticut Register of Historic Places, validating its historic significance.
Already the Lachat Town Farm is building community! Many local citizens and community groups came together to build the 42 bed Community Garden in 2014, have cleared invasive plants from the neglected farm property, and have offered their professional expertise pro bono to best achieve our goals. Each spring Weston High School seniors have interned at Lachat Town Farm.
In June 2015 we celebrated our official Opening Day! Friends of Lachat was awarded an Official Commendation from the Connecticut State Legislature for our efforts.
During the summer of 2015, we began to offer a wide variety of classes and programs, that focused on, for example, healthy cooking, gardening, history, art in the garden, yoga, and crafts - programs enjoyed by old and young alike. The Farm is seen as a place to have a multi-generational experience. Our classes have garnered much praise and were met with great success.
We are looking forward to the completion of the historic restoration of the the pre-Revolutionary farmhouse. A habitable, restored farmhouse will allow a farm/program manager to move on site and oversee day-to-day operations. This is crucial to the on-going success and safety of the farm. We also plan to start daily summer children's programs. We have installed a solar powered greenhouse, funded by a Connecticut Agriculture Viability Grant!
Lachat Town Farm allows Weston to come together, to connect, and enjoy a beautiful property with a soul. It is that experience that so many people are looking for. Our Town officials have evolved from supporting the farmhouse's demolition to now enthusiastically endorsing a town farm at Lachat!
Carol Baldwin, Director and Founder
Ellen McCormick, Treasurer
Deirdre Doran, Secretary
A Message from the Director of Friends of Lachat:
Over 20 years ago, I moved to our town from New York City to start a family and was seeking a community that still had the feeling of old New England, its history and agrarian roots. Weston is a wonderful town but I have often felt that it lacked a place that brought our community together, all ages, varied interests, non-political, non-sectarian.
When dairy farmer, Leon Lachat, deeded his farm to the Town and Nature Conservancy in 1997, he was concerned that his farm, one of the last working farms in the area, would became just another series of building lots.
My dream, and Leon's, for Lachat Town Farm, is that it will become a community center where our citizens will gather and be renewed and nurtured by each other, by the gorgeous scenery, and by enriching educational programs and events.
I think it's the most exciting thing happening in Weston! I also think it is a wonderful amenity, that will differentiate our town from our neighboring communities and will attract families to Weston and raise our property values.
Please consider supporting Lachat Town Farm by donating to Friends of Lachat. Help us raise the remaining funds to finally finish the restoration of the farmhouse so that a farm/program manager can move on-site.
This is Weston's own town farm. It's your farm! Please feel free to contact me if you have ideas and suggestions or if you would like to get involved as a volunteer. Helping at Lachat is a great way to meet and make friends with the wonderful people who live in our town. Come Grow!
Director and Founder, Friends of Lachat