By Mike Lauterborn
(for Westport News)
Westport, CT – While the day’s snowy weather created much last minute anxiety for organizers, there couldn’t have been a more perfect night for a winter-themed event, or better reason to gather together.
Saturday night at the annex space of Christ and Holy Trinity Church, 75 Church Lane, Westport, Green Village Initiative presented its WinterFest, celebrating the power of local action and the non-profit’s initiatives in Bridgeport. Initiatives include completing 10 of 30 edible gardens in Bridgeport public schools and establishing a 1.5-acre urban farm, at Reservoir Avenue, Bridgeport. The latter was facilitated by Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, one of several evening honorees along with Maura O’Malley (head of food services in Bridgeport), Arnie Foster and Jan Cohen (Bridgeport Lumber owners) and Adrienne Houel (president of Greater Bridgeport Commmunity Enterprise. GVI Board Member Sal Gilbertie was also recognized as the GVI’s Most Valuable Member.
Over 200 people attended the Fest, and a number of them purchased shares of the new urban farm. About one hundred 32 foot by 4 foot plots were initially available, at a cost of $500 for an individual to $1,000 for a corporate entity.
Finch was particularly happy to have Westport’s support for positive initiatives. “To get the talent of people of Westport is really important to my 2020 plan,” said Finch. “Environmental issues don’t know town boundaries. For us to work on efforts to remediate brownfields and give people better food is a great effort. I’m happy that this thing is so organic in its development.”
Finch added, “Local action to connect us with our literal roots makes all the difference. Kids are eating better and getting in touch with nature.”
GVI Committee Board Member Eileen Flug said this event helped solidify GVI’s foundation. “GVI was formed three years ago and is now operating in 5 towns. We’re going through an evaluation of rag tag activists. The hope is that we will be here in 30 years.”
While the evening was focused on a cause, it was a fun Saturday night out for most, who dressed in glittery outfits, shuffled to Sinatra tunes and enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the high-ceilinged space. Jerry D’Agostino and his quartet provided the entertainment.
To donate a garden bed, call Carmela at 203-227-5320, or visit GVI’s website at goGVI.org and click on WinterFest in the top left corner.