Letters to the Editor

Greenbank Farm: Building the farm's foundation

Someone told me the other day that they felt the Greenbank Farm had been going backward. In a way the person was right. In the last year the board and I have stepped back in order to build a solid foundation for the farm.

There have been so many dreams and schemes that have foundered for the lack of that foundation. The recent decision to eliminate the gift inventory was part of our work to build a sound financial base for the farm. The farm is entering 2002 with very little debt, a clear sense of what the organization’s mission and values are, and a practical vision of what can be accomplished this year.

In community non-profit organizations it is incredibly important to be clear about the organization’s mission and values. As a new director, the work of mission clarification with the board this year has been a learning experience. The fundamental piece that it took me a while to get is that the farm has a charge from the Port of Coupeville regarding economic development. At first my entrepreneurial instincts were in high gear. What could we do to make money? Then it became clear that the buildings and the fields were not intended for us, the Greenbank Farm Management Group, to develop businesses or to raise crops that would compete or take market share from local businesses or farmers. Our job was to create opportunities for others: to prepare the fields so others could lease them to raise organic products or graze livestock; to upgrade our facilities so others could hold conferences, festivals, and community events; to create a marketplace for others to sell local products directly to buyers; to renovate buildings for others to start businesses. The Greenbank Farm Management Group as a community based non-profit organization was to be of service, not self- serving. You will see this carried forward this year.

Part of the retail area in the main barn is being leased for a coffeehouse café. Land is being leased for organic farming. Community pea patches are available. A children’s garden is in the planning stages. Couples have rented the barn and beside the pond for their wedding ceremonies and receptions. The barn is a venue for local art shows and community events. The Loganberry Festival will happen on our newly grassed parking lot July 27-28. The Highland Games returns August 10. A local group has rented the festival area for a large ecological event June 21-23.

Local artists, craftpeople and food producers will have three market seasons to present their creations – the Spring Garden Market, the Sunday Market and the Holiday Market. Do you have an idea, an event, a fundraiser or a business that needs a field, a room, a building? Call me. The Greenbank Farm is available.

Laura Blankenship


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