Westbay Farm is a three acre farm operated on the former Barton dairy farm at 1351 Centerville Road, Warwick. The land is owned by the City of Warwick and leased to Westbay Community Action. Farm Manager Steve Stycos runs the farm with more than 1000 hours of help from volunteers from the community and the women's prison. Al Martin, Mo Davis, Kathy Schofill, Ampha Therien, Carol Nolan, Ryan Onorato, Michael and Mike Thomas are among the key volunteers who make the farm run. New volunteers are welcome and should call the the Westbay Community Action volunteer office to make arrangments. Farm work runs from March to November.
The farm began to improve the nutritional offerings of the Marketplace, Rhode Island's third largest food pantry, which is also operated by Westbay Community Action. At the time, the Marketplace provided canned goods, but low income clients were offered few fresh fruits and vegetables.
Seeking to meet that need, the farm grows a wide variety of vegetables using organic methods. Its largest crops are lettuce, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, butternut squash and summer squash. Since 2010 the farm has expanded annual production from 8,000 pounds of produce to 15,000 pounds by purchasing a tractor, doubling the planting area and improving farming techniques. The farm also has 2000 square feet of hoop house space, which is used for year round production.
To pay expenses, some farm produce is sold at a Thursday market in the Kent Hospital cafeteria, just two miles from the farm. In 2014, one day sales were also held at low income senior housing complexes and Beacon Mutual Insurance Company. Other annual financial support for the farm comes from the City of Warwick's Community Development Service Grant and Episcopal Charities. Donations are welcome.
2010 Local Hero