[September 2017] Wakeman Town Farm stays fresh with new director and initiatives

Amelia Brown ’18

While the stereotypical nine-to-five work day may be a popular choice in the United States, Corey Thomas has chosen the much less popular five-to-nine lifestyle.
Thomas, the new farm director of Wakeman Town Farm, begins his day at 5 a.m., cares for the animals by 7 a.m., can be found outside tending to the garden in the afternoon, inside answering emails in the evening and finally in for an early bedtime at 9 p.m.
“I’d heard about this job from a professor of mine,” Thomas said. “I went to University of Connecticut and received my bachelor’s in animal science, then I continued on to get my master’s in education with a certification in agriculture education,” he said. “So,” he added, laughing, “I like teaching about farms.”
One of the goals Thomas has for the farm is to build up the livestock program, stating he hopes that it would draw more kids to the farm, as well as the fact that “everyone likes cute baby animals.”
The animals are definitely helping the farm get volunteers already, with sisters Anna Sivinski ’18 and Aly Sivinski ’20 both saying that the animals are a big part of why they work and volunteer at the farm.
“I love the animals and helping kids learn about them,” Aly Sivinski said. While Anna Sivinski emulated those sentiments, she added that what really drew her in was the atmosphere. It’s a bunch of really nice people who love the farm and it creates a wonderful community that keeps you coming back,” she said.
In addition to the animals, Thomas is trying to get the farm into aquaponics, a way of growing plants using water, fish and the plants in a symbiotic relationship. Having only learned about it in theory, the practice of it is proving to have some difficulties, Thomas said while pointing to a dying spot on one of the plants. Still, he isn’t worried.
“That’s how farming goes; you kind of learn as you
go and you learn from new people, get new experiences,” Thomas said. “There’s something new to learn everyday working on a farm and that’s what I really like about a job like this.”
It’s also the new experiences that volunteers love, from halter training the animals to discovering what cover crop is.
“I also love learning about new vegetables and sustainable living because it was something that I was not too familiar with when I started out,” Anna Sivinski said.
Overall, Thomas is looking forward to getting the community more involved with the farm, imploring anyone to volunteer or just stop by.
“It’s really great [to] see everyone that’s done so much to help the farm,” Thomas said, “and also see everyone who was interested in continuing here and helping out to always help this place improve.”