The Falmouth Select Board on Monday, November 9, authorized a license agreement with Farming Falmouth to grow a community garden at the Emerald House property.
“We’ve been talking about this for a long time,” board member Douglas C. Brown said. “I’ve never heard any negative comments from anybody, and the East Falmouth Village Association is very supportive of this.”
Farming Falmouth, a local nonprofit that supports local agriculture, will oversee the community garden. The license grants it access to place and maintain a community garden on 5,633 square feet of space at the Emerald House at 67 Davisville Road, East Falmouth.
“It is specifically for the space, for the area that is already cleared,” Assistant Town Manager Peter Johnson-Staub said. “This doesn’t require any additional road building or extensive clearing of any forested areas.”
Board member Samuel H. Patterson said the growing of a community garden ties into the historic use of the site, a former strawberry farm.
“It seems like an appropriate use of the property, given its history,” Mr. Patterson said.
With the board’s unanimous vote, the license with Farming Falmouth went into effect on Tuesday, November 10. Noting the time of year, Mr. Brown asked if the town let Farming Falmouth plant a cover crop prior to the vote.
“That was a legal and a liability issue,” Mr. Johnson-Staub said.
The community garden is one of several uses being considered for the site and the abutting Rapoza Parcel at 81 Davisville Road. The town is looking to lease the Emerald House itself, potentially for a use that connects with the Portuguese immigrant heritage and the heritage of Portuguese-American farming on the property. Zoning limits the use of the building to philanthropic uses, as a library or as a museum.
The town is working to develop an accessible and inclusive play space in the area. The potential for affordable housing at the site is also being examined.