Residents Present Vision of New Brook Farm at Highland Civic Association Meeting
A team of local residents want to see the site become a community farm, but there's opposition to maintain the farm's history.
Brook Farm has seen its share of changes through the years, from its early days as a progressive, Transcendentalist community to the site of a Lutheran orphanage. West Roxbury resident Bill Tuttle has a new vision for the historic Brook Farm and he wants for it will benefit the whole community.
Tuttle, with the support of a small group local residents, presented his idea of the New Brook Farm at the Highland Civic Association meeting yesterday evening in the West Roxbury Branch Public Library.
Tuttle proposed for the site to follow its agricultural roots as a small scale community farm, providing organic fruits and vegetables to the community and surrounding areas.
“It would be a great way to both connect with the history of the site, as well as support the growing movement for local, sustainably grown food,” said Tuttle.
In addition to the agriculture, he envisions the farm being a center for both youth and adult education, as well as a place for recreation.
“Like the original Brook farmers, we see education as a very important aspect of what should happen at the sight,” he said. “Like other community farms, we would love to develop an education program that would encompass everything from how to raise food, cook it, to even the history of Brook Farm.”
At this point, his proposal is still an idea and in the early stages of planning. Tuttle has stated that he and his group have started to meet with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to develop a proposal. However, finances for the farm have not been determined, nor has a detailed farming plan been formally introduced.
Not everyone is on the same page about this proposed initative. The progress of this project is partially dependant on maintaining the historic location and using farming techniques that will not endanger any archeological resources.
Former vice president of the West Roxbury Historical Society Elizabeth Doris-Duspin is not a fan of Tuttle’s idea. To her, the Brook Farm is a sacred place best left for passive recreation.
“It may look like a quiet place with nothing going on, but secret archeological excavations are happening,” she said. “If these excavations were known to the media, people would be digging for relics all the time.”
None of the original Brook Farm structures exist on the National Landmark. The only historic building that exists is a condemned print shop that was once part of the Lutheran orphanage. Scattered across the site are foundations and relics that have yet to be discovered, researched or studied.
A community farm in West Roxbury for Doris-Duspin is a combination of a bad idea and bad timing. “Unfortunately, it’s not time at this point to do anything with this property,” she said. “We can’t afford to have this land farmed at this time, and especially not that land. Maybe in 20 years for my grandchildren, but not now.”
If things follow thought as planned, Tuttle expects to begin planting around 2013.