Waltham Field Station Questionnaire

Over the past decades, Waltham Field Station (WFS) tenants and their community members have been the primary stewards of the site and the primary stakeholders in working to protect and preserve its unique and remarkable history. Assuming the City of Waltham purchases the WFS, will you pledge to protect the site for long- term agricultural use and as a center for sustainable non-profit organizations to operate?

I have long supported the continuance of farming at the UMASS Field Station.  I was proud to play a major role in securing millions of dollars in state funding for the creation of a Center for Urban Sustainability at the site.  Unfortunately, the Baker Administration chose not release this important funding, leading UMass to abandon these plans and sell the property.

The sale of state property to a municipality requires both state and local approvals.  In my dual role as a state representative and city councillor, I will ensure that the property is protected for long-term agricultural use.  I will also ensure that nonprofit organizations are able to continue to use the center for operations/business purposes.

Regarding the future of the parcels, I envision and pledge my support to the continuance of farming as well as the expansion of the north part of the property.  I would also like to see  the envisioned Sustainability Center come to fruition.

Will you advocate for a multi-year lease for Community Farms Outreach, Inc. (d/b/a/ Waltham Fields Community Farm), so that the organization and its current agricultural, educational and food justice programs are provided with a secure future?

Absolutely!  Threats of building closure and the overall unclear future use of the 58-acre site have understandably caused much stress for the property’s tenants.  These organizations need assurance from the community that they will they will remain the primary stewards of this historical site in order to continue providing the Waltham community with valuable agricultural, educational and food justice programs.

As a local official, I am committed to offering long-term leases to these organizations.  The request for proposal (RFP) used to secure the long-term agricultural use of the Agrillo Farm on Warren Street can be used as a guide.  It is my hope that these two historic properties are designated for agricultural use indefinitely for Waltham and other communities to experience and enjoy.

Assuming City of Waltham ownership, do you support a financial investment to improve the facility? Recognizing the long-overdue need to address repairs, renovations, and remediation issues at the WFS, how would you support a planning process and management model that involves current stakeholders to inform the efforts to improve the site over time?

I support the mission of Waltham Fields Community Farm (WFCF) in promoting local agriculture and food access through farming operations and educational programs, using practices that are socially, ecologically, and economically sustainable. Encouraging healthy relationships between people, their food supply, and the land from which it grows is critical to our well-being.

Once ownership of the property is obtained, a continuous five-year capital budget should be developed with guidance from the various nonprofit organizations utilizing the property as well as other local stakeholders.  Regular meetings should be scheduled with appropriate municipal department heads including the Building Inspector and City Auditor.

The City Council’s Long Term Debt Committee should be used as yet another avenue to keep the public and Council members updated on the needs of operations of the facility and farm.