The paperwork is done. It’s time to start building.
That’s the clear message the Saratoga Springs Planning Board gave Pitney Meadows Community Farm, Inc. (PMCF) Thursday night. Unanimously approving PMCF’s site plan, the seven-member board said, “Go for it.”
Volunteers have been working diligently since January on renovating existing structures, such as the historic farmhouse that PMCF will use for its offices and an old barn that will be used as a meeting space.
Now the Planning Board’s action clears the way for PMCF to proceed with new construction. Activity on the farm will increase sharply as expanding teams of volunteers embark on two major projects aimed at bringing people to the farm in large numbers:
- The Community Gardens at Pitney Meadows, a new social space where as many as 200 raised beds ultimately will be made available to the public;
- A “high tunnel” large enough to serve as an event space for as many as 300 people and to grow some crops for production for the farm and events.
The community garden will be “an old-fashioned gathering place where people of all ages and backgrounds come together to learn, grow, and share in the excitement of sustainably produced food,” said Barbara Glaser, chair of the Pitney Meadows Advisory Council and a major supporter of the community garden. “It also will be a place where anyone will be welcome to just come and visit for an afternoon."
“Master gardeners will be on hand to help, and we’ll have workshops and lectures on garden-related topics, as well as potluck dinners and children's activities," added Garden Director Natalie Walsh, a lifelong gardener who has helped to develop several community gardens, including the children’s program at the Moreau Community Garden.
A lottery for the 35 plots to be made available in the community garden's first phase will be held in early June. Options available to gardeners include a 4x8 raised bed, a 24-inch tall 3x8 foot accessible bed, or an 8x12 in-ground plot.
Walsh encourages all who are interested to attend a public meeting set for Wednesday, May 31, at 7 p.m. in the H. Dutcher Community Room at the Saratoga Springs Public Library. More information also is available on the PMCF web site.
Construction of the high tunnel is scheduled to begin in mid-June and to be completed by early July.
The Planning Board also approved PMCF's concept of a Children's Garden and Greenhouse, an initiative on which the organization aims to begin later in 2017 or in 2018 as funds permit.