'Buy us a Farm!' One Couples' Unique Ask
Janet and John Friauf have been Saratogians for over twenty years, dedicated to our community through various efforts, and long-time supporters of local agriculture -- and Founding Patrons of Pitney Meadows Community Farm.
Janet is an engineer by training and has worked for software and technology companies in the Capital Region for 20 years. This summer and fall she has been working with PNEC Church and Shelters of Saratoga on homelessness in Saratoga. John is a social worker at Warrensburg Jr/Sr High School. He was formerly the Program Director at Great Camp Sagamore and a licensed NYS Adirondack guide. He has been the Trail Steward at Great Camp Sagamore for the last four summers. John and Janet like to travel and in recent years have been to Uganda and Costa Rica. They both grew up in Rochester, now live in Wilton, and have a 19-year-old son at RIT.
They had originally heard of the farm through the Farmer's Market where they had been patrons for years. "I immediately fell in love with the idea of creating community in new ways while preserving open space. This project allows people of all persuasions to roll up their sleeves and work alongside one another. It's healthy on so many levels and is a powerful model for countering the polarization we are experiencing in our country. So, the project just spoke to us," said Janet.
"When this land became available for sale, it was a way to preserve the open space and create community in a way that supports local agriculture. We talked about it and decided it was what we would ask for Christmas that year." Janet and John then sent out an email to friends and family that asked them "for a farm for Christmas." "We weren't financially in a position to become Founding Patrons are on our own, but we could gather what we could and reach out to our friends and family who also care about these same things. And everyone gave! It was part of a long-term effort to de-commercialize Christmas."
"As a social worker, I'm dealing with a lot of mental illness. The more we get separated from our natural environment, the more we struggle. I love that this Farm provides that balance for community members," said John who sees the long-term benefits of the Farm for the community. "We'd encourage everyone to invest what they can, and invite others along to contribute to this important community asset."
Founding Patrons are donors who give gifts of $2,500 and above to support the Farm. Bill's Barn has a beautiful plaque (pictured behind Janet and John) with all Founding Patrons' names engraved. We will be closing the window to become a Founding Patron on December 21st, 2019. Join this incredible group of visionaries in making a major investment in your community farm. Learn how to make a donation HERE.