At Wildside we offer a can-do, grass roots approach to Earth’s uncertain future. We are a demonstration site and an open teaching platform, and we are active stewards of land. We explore practical ways — old and new — to achieve greater food and energy security for ourselves and our communities over the long run. We give special attention to our wild flora and fauna as they try to adapt to unprecedented changes in seasons, wind and weather.
All are welcome.
What’s New at Wildside
We are building a second, 800 ft² cottage, called Stone’s Throw. In the near future it will serve as a residence for our Founder and Executive Director, Sue Bridge. Further out it will be available as a teaching space and/or residence for interns. The original 1600 ft² cottage, Long View, is now home to our Resident Steward, a new position at Wildside as of 2021. The Wildside team is shifting our focus toward a more precise idea of food crops appropriate for climate change, nutrient value, and middle and long-term storage.
Your tax-deductible donation will help us continue our work! We have many projects in process and host groups of students, garden clubs, workshops and more. Help us continue the work and spread the word about resilience, community, self-sufficiency, and land care!
Visiting Wildside Gardens
Now in our thirteenth year, Wildside has become a destination for forward-looking people: college groups, permaculture and garden clubs, granges, homesteaders and home builders, and teachers and classes from 4th grade through post-grad, with up to about 300 visitors a year in a normal year. To accommodate Covid restrictions we are now hosting occasional small groups for outside tours.
To visit, contact us to arrange a time and come, free of charge, year-round. A guided tour of the cottage and gardens takes about two hours. Between May and October in 2022 we hope to offer workshops in everything from soil fertility to seed-saving and food preservation.
It’s time to tackle climate change head on. We at Wildside feel we’ve done our job when visitors leave resolved to act, to build, to retrofit, to insulate, to go solar, to plant, to store, to renew, to gather family, friends and neighbors and divide up the tasks and the learning assignments. To plan and help others plan for efficiency and food security, to go deeper in the quest for underlying connections in the natural world. To develop a vision beyond Wildside of the kind of broad, practical, information-swapping, resource-sharing consciously green communities we can — we must – learn to create.
A can-do approach has ripple effects throughout a community, as it must. Clearly, no one household can achieve food and energy security on its own — and there will be as many ways to organize cooperation among neighbors, friends, gardeners, farmers, teachers, knowledgeable mechanics and builders, as there are communities.
For energy security: We helped bring our local Select Board and Community Action together to provide generous funding ($60,000 a year for three years) and important information about what utilities offer, to make winterizing local homes affordable for people of all income levels. In coming years we will offer workshops on solar energy technology and where to find subsidies for financing ‘green’ energy.
For food security: Wildside’s surplus produce goes to the Ashfield Food Pantry, which has served people in our town well for decades. We hope to organize an ‘Extra Row Club’ of local gardeners who plant a row of food crops for the food pantry. Some surplus is also donated to Greenfield’s Stone Soup Café.
For generations to follow: We are pleased to be providing an outdoor teaching platform for grade school classes from the nearby Hawlemont School, a public school developing innovative approaches to basic subjects through the study of nature and agriculture. There are several other schools nearby, public and private, which we will talk to about joint programs, as time permits.
Since 2012, Wildside has been able to hire a part-time intern to help through the busiest months of the farm and garden year. Summer interns are key to our achieving our goals. They help hands-on, and they bring their own prior experiences and important questions to the work we do. Just as importantly, they take the knowledge and insights gained at Wildside back out into the world as young people even better equipped to work for the common good.
We hope to be able to expand the intern program to full-time and/or two interns either this coming year or next.