skipconnett

Ten years ago, we celebrated Farmer Skip’s 50th as we moved into the now 114-year-old Bergstrom farmhouse. The house was empty yet we were filled with anticipation.

Because when I had asked how Skip he wanted to celebrate his mid-life birthday, he said, “I want to raise my own pig on my farm and invite all my friends to celebrate.”

This request came from a man who wore a tie to work, wrote speeches at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and hadn’t lived on a farm in nearly forty years. While some friends suspected a mid-life crisis, I knew that this yearning was not new. The man I married would not feel complete without realizing his dream to farm, so we set the wheels in motion.

Ten years ago, there were no friends. I had been away from Austin for many years so it was my family that gathered to cut his birthday cake. Ten years ago, there was no pig and Green Gate Farms was nothing more than a rototiller and a crazy dream.

Today Skip is 60. And on Saturday we will celebrate him and the countless friends who helped create a community farm through generosity and passion. There will be a pig roast thanks to chef Tony Grasso. And there will be good news.

A year of negotiations between Green Gate Farms, Roberts Resorts — the farm property’s new owner — and the City of Austin bore fruit last week.

TBG Partners, hired by our landlord, devised a plan that will incorporate our four-acre farm into Roberts’ larger development of tiny homes, RVs and manufactured homes. This plan includes Green Gate Farms and the historic 1902 Swedish buildings – barn, farmhouse and cottages.  The drawings will be unveiled at Saturday’s Potluck Party (4-10pm).

In addition, our long-awaited desire to extend our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program to SNAP (a.k.a. food stamp) users has been realized thanks to the Sustainable Food Center. Did you know that 25% of Austinites qualify for SNAP? Now, these vouchers can be redeemed and doubled at our farm stand because of funding from the Double Dollar program. Be sure to tell your favorite musician, artist, teacher, military vet, Americorps worker and other SNAP users that we are hosting a sign-up party and free farm tour on June 11, 11-2 that will ensure their food budget goes twice as far.

As we look forward to another decade of feeding and growing community, a beloved CSA member has arranged for her Aztec dance troop to bless the farm.  Following this, we will gather for a Barn Hug. All hands are needed to encircle the Big Red Barnthat has provided so much fun, shelter, and service. (Anyone have a drone that can photograph this event?).

So spread the word. It’s time for new beginnings – birthdays, graduations and a hopeful
future.

Bring a friend, bring an instrument, bring a dish to share. Let’s celebrate!

Farmer Erin