The Falmouth Land Trust is working with volunteers to establish a community garden at the historic Hurricane Valley Farm off Gray Road. Kate Irish Collins / The Forecaster

FALMOUTH — The Falmouth Land Trust is offering a new community garden as part of its long-range plan to restore the historic Hurricane Valley Farm.

The goal, according to Executive Director Jenny Grimm, is to get people invested in the future of the farm while offering them a chance to grow some of their own food.

The land trust purchased the 62-acre farm in 2015 with help from town funds. A memorandum of understanding required the property would be open to the public while maintaining its agricultural character.

The community garden site offers many challenges, including wet terrain and a steep hill. Kate Irish Collins / The Forecaster

The farm is now under the management of Cultivating Community, which has a 10-year rolling lease and plans to turn the property into a center for agriculture and environmental stewardship with the support of the land trust.

Part of that effort is using the land to support Cultivating Community’s New American Sustainable Agriculture Program, which provides immigrants with farming, marketing and product development training along with a source of income.

Another piece of the Cultivating Community effort is getting a community garden started, along with developing walking trails and managing the about 5-acre woodlot.

Grimm said this year’s gardeners are not being charged to work a plot at the community garden. Instead the land trust is asking them to put in sweat equity to get the area ready to grow produce.

“This year, we’re very much viewing it as a pilot project,” she said.

Some of the gardeners involved were on a wait list for plots in the community garden at Maine Audubon’s Gilsland Farm, but others signed on after hearing about the opportunity from a land trust email blast, Grimm said.

With the wet spring, she said the garden has gotten a late start and gardeners have been hard at work just roping off plots, staking the garden out and getting organized among themselves.

“It isn’t a traditional set up like one would see at a fully established garden,” Grimm said. “In fact, it requires some serious effort to get a wheelbarrow out to the area over hilly and fairly wet terrain. Since this is the first year, the soil is also fairly challenging too. It contains a lot of clay, so the gardeners are also amending and improving it as they go.”

What’s been planted so far, according to Grimm, are pumpkins, heirloom corn and heirloom tomatoes.

“This farm has the potential to strengthen our community and our sense of place,” she said. “It’s a very historic farm – one of the oldest in Falmouth – and has been part of our community for centuries. Overall, the community garden should be a rich experience for everyone who participates.”

Grimm said as the restoration of the property continues, the next several phases will likely require additional monetary investment, including rehabilitating the barn and developing the infrastructure by providing a well for drinkable water and restroom facilities.

She said walking trails at the farm are open to anyone who would like to access them and the land trust is also planning a tour of the property in August. In addition, the trust will hold a special Farm Fest event in mid-September “to celebrate the open space work that keeps Falmouth a wonderful place to live.”


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