The Westport Woman’s Club presented the 2013 Ruegg Grant Award to The Wakeman Town Farm of Westport. Rose Jordan, Chair of the Ruegg Grant Committee, said the $5,000 grant is specifically designated for the Farm to purchase a green house that will provide year-round growing capability as well as the opportunity to offer indoor gardening education programs in conjunction with local schools. Elizabeth Beller, Wakeman Town Farm Board Chair accepted the award on behalf of the Farm with WWC President, Mary Lee Clayton, Ruegg Grant Committee members, Michael Aitkenhead, Program Director and Caretaker and his wife Carrie, looking on.
Wakeman Town Farm is a local non-profit educational center whose mission is to provide Westport families with a link to the land. It has become a community hub where people of all ages in Westport and surrounding towns come to learn about organic farming, sustainability and homesteading, as well as to attend events designed to bring families to the farm. The farm has partnered with the Westport Parks & Recreation Department to promote various children’s programs, including summer camps, a Farm Apprentice Program, a Middle School Farm Club and internships for high school and college students.
Ms. Jordan stated that The Westport Woman’s Club has long been involved with protecting and preserving the environment. “The club was established in 1907 by a small group of women whose sole purpose was the cleaning of town streets, caring for and planting trees, and laying sidewalks. Since that time, the programs of the Westport Woman’s Club have continued along this vein,” she said. And, it is therefore, appropriate that the Ruegg Grant should go to the Wakeman Town Farm for the work they are doing to educate children and adults alike to respect and protect the environment and for the lasting benefits of gardening for children.
The Ruegg Grant was established in 1995 by an endowment bequeathed to the Westport Woman’s Club by member Lea Ruegg. . To date, approximately $160,000 has been awarded to organizations including: Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection, Connecticut Theater Foundation, Westport Public Library, Staples Players, Westport Rotary Club, Theater Artists Workshop, Touquet Hall, Mercy Learning Center, Interfaith Housing, Westport Senior Center, Nursing & Home Care, Hall-Brooke Hospital, Susan G. Komen for the Cure CT, Westport Police Department, CLASP Homes, and Westport/Weston Family Y.