Waltham Field Station Stakeholders Raise Concerns About Their Future
Waltham Field Community Farms have played an integral role in our community by educating families on growing their own food; providing vegetables and other edibles to the Healthy Waltham organization which, in turn, educates children in the Waltham Public Schools; and, makes available garden fresh vegetables to low income families. Currently there are concerns about the future of this land. On February 13, 2019, a collective statement was issued by the tenants and stakeholders of this extremely important city resource:
A collective statement from the tenants at the University of Massachusetts Waltham Field Station, February 13, 2019:
Tenants of the iconic UMass Waltham Field Station are confronted with a serious, existential threat and begin 2019 in a critical phase of our long-term tenancies. UMass has communicated the intention to shutter the administrative offices at 240 Beaver Street on December 31, 2019.
In addition to the building closure, the future use of the 58-acre site is unclear. Tenants have yet to receive written assurances regarding access to, and preservation of, the historic agricultural land. Tenants of the Waltham Field Station are non-profit community organizations that directly benefit residents of the City of Waltham, and include: Waltham Fields Community Farm, Waltham Land Trust, Boston Area Gleaners, Green Rows of Waltham Community Gardens, Grow Native Massachusetts, Mass Federation of Farmers Markets, Boston Area Climate Experiment and Massachusetts 4-H.
Tenant representatives, feeling vulnerable to lease clauses, elected a prudent strategy to be respectful of what we believe are ongoing negotiations between the University and the City aimed at a transfer of site ownership. Tenants remain hopeful that impactful communication is happening, but time is expiring as are leases with the non-profit organizations.
In response to the impending closure, citizens acting independently of the non-profit tenant organizations initiated grassroots campaigns to advocate preservation of the Waltham Field Station as a vibrant agricultural site and for the non-profit tenants to continue their invaluable programs. As stakeholders and dedicated stewards of the site, tenants are pleased to receive the deep public support for their programs and for the vital agricultural land.
Tenants encourage citizens to contact City and State representatives to voice their urgent concerns regarding the fate and future of the Waltham Field Station. The community has rallied and they seek to preserve the Waltham Field Station in its entirety for continued agricultural uses and honor the historic legacy of the site including its benefactor, Cornelia Warren.
Our immediate goal is to avoid eviction from this unique agricultural site. It is hoped that all parties will advance a good faith effort in resolving this issue, as soon as possible. In the meantime, tenants need a mechanism to keep their vital programs in full operation. For this reason, we ask the University to extend leases beyond the current deadline and offer assurances to not lock the facility prior to resolution of the issues. Without such assurances, much of our non-profit programming is uncertain and the irreplaceable farmland at the Waltham Field Station remains vulnerable.
Your voice matters! Join us as we voice our shared concerns to protect and preserve our prolific agricultural land and its exceptional historical relevance, and let them know you want our farmland and the Waltham Field station to remain active and open to all!
Here is how you can help:
Share positive stories with our Waltham City Councillors, MA Governor Baker, MA Senator Michael Barrett, MA Representative John Lawn, and tell them why Waltham Fields Community Farm and the Waltham Field Station matter to YOU!
Please note in your communications if you are a Waltham resident, and share widely with your neighbors, friends and local business.
Please send us a copy of your letter or email to firstname.lastname@example.org so we may collect our community's stories and words of support for future advocacy.
United, we can achieve our goal of local food for everyone, and preserve local agriculture for generations to come!
Previous updates from Waltham Fields Community Farm, regarding preservation of our farmland and the Waltham Field Station: