‘Seed saver’ to lease space at Westport Town Farm

By Bruce Burdett
Posted 3/26/20

Westport organic farmer and ‘seed saver’ Bill Braun will soon be sub-leasing space at Westport Town Farm.

The Board of Selectmen approved the arrangement unanimously at its March 2 …

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‘Seed saver’ to lease space at Westport Town Farm

Posted

Westport organic farmer and ‘seed saver’ Bill Braun will soon be sub-leasing space at Westport Town Farm.

The Board of Selectmen approved the arrangement unanimously at its March 2 meeting.

Westport owns the Town Farm at 830 Drift Road but the property is managed by the Trustees of Reservations under terms of a 99-year lease. Winslow Dresser, stewardship manager for the Trustees, asked that Selectmen approve the sub-lease on a part of Town Farm that is already set aside for agriculture.

“We think it is a good fit,” Mr. Dresser said, and will not interfere with the public’s ability to enjoy the property.

Mr. Braun and his partner Dee Levanti operate Ivory Silo Farm on Hixbridge Road where they grow vegetables, perennials, fruit and other crops.

A specialty of theirs is growing, preserving and developing seeds, work that the additional space at Town Farm will help enable.

Town Farm provides the isolation needed to grow seeds with minimal risk of cross pollination, Mr. Braun said. 

And, since the property is visited by the public, “it will be sort of like a display that is aesthetically pleasing” — people will get to see, for instance, what a leek gone to seed looks like.

He added that the operation will also be attractive to pollinators.

For lots of photos of their work, visit the Ivoryt Silo seed Project Facebook page.

The Massachusetts Natural Organic Farmers Association wrote, “Bill launched the Ivory Silo Seed Project at the time of starting the farm operation, with a mission to foster a regionally adapted seed stock for growers along the South Coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The farm is currently building infrastructure to serve as a hub for seed processing and education, and partnering with farmers and gardeners to expand seed saving efforts. This year, the project is transitioning into the Freed Seed Federation, a nonprofit dedicated to place-based organic breeding and crop improvement for the public commons. The idea behind the Freed Seed Federation is “to unshackle the good work from the stream of commerce,” meaning contributing to the important and necessary diversification and crop improvement for organic systems.”

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