Thanks to the CT Department of Agriculture Viability Grant, in the Summer of 2019 The Strong Family Farm (SFF) was able to offer new programs to the Vernon community. This matching grant’s major objectives are to enable people to have more experiences that are beneficial at the farm, regardless of their age or mobility issues, educate people on how they can obtain the benefits of fresh produce by installing their own container gardens, and increase the farm’s diversity and amounts of plants and produce grown. SFF, a 501(c)(3) organization, prides itself on being Vernon’s community farm, and this grant allowed the farm to expand its community.
SFF Executive Director Mary Millican and the farm’s Master Gardner, Dan Gallagher, offered a trial program this past growing season using the raised beds and inviting community members to learn the ins and outs of gardening. Jeff Hutton of Earthworks Landscaping designed and installed the raised beds on the farm. Each bed is adjustable to different heights allowing any person, regardless of age or ability, the opportunity to tend their own garden. Two raised beds were installed in front of the barn, to allow for easy handicapped accessibility. The field of raised beds is now protected by a new fence, put in by Dan Cooksey of CT Fence Tech, as part of the matching grant to keep the fields protected. Fence rails and posts have been donated in honor and memory of special people and friends of the farm, and each rail and post will have a plaque for each donation intention.