During my time as program manager for the City of Newton's Community Preservation Act program, the City used CPA funds to purchase the last remaining farm in Newton to create a community farm. When CPA funds were needed back in 2005, the plan for the property was in early formative stages and some criticized that the grand vision of establishing a community farm would be too complicated to really attain. Now four years later, the Newton Angino Community Farm, a small farm of only 2.25 acres, is thriving with produce and activity. The farm is owned by the City and operated by a non-profit farm group, Newton Community Farm, Inc. (NCF). NCF hired a farm manager who lives on the property in the historic farm house with his family.
The farm operates as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), where one can purchase a share at the beginning of the growing season and pick-up fresh produce on a regular basis into the fall. The farm produce is also sold at a farmer's market and donated to the Newton Food Pantry. Using sustainable agricultural practices (no herbicides or pesticides plus biointensive and permaculture beds), the farm grows vegatables, fruits, and herbs. In addition, the farm has become a center for education for agriculture, gardening, and related interests.
Instead of allowing another development of large single-family houses, the City saved the last remaining farm in Newton and created a true community asset - providing local food to the community as well as preserving the scenic and historic view in perpetuity.
Despite some initial concerns that the farm's plan wasn't fully formed, the City leaders took the leap of faith that was necessary to realize the community's vision. In the words of Henry Thoreau:
We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.