After learning that Franklin Lewis, the owner of Green River Farms and The Store at Five Corners, shut down all operations on Jan. 6, the College has stepped in to discuss the plans for the recently closed businesses.
According to Jim Kolesar, assistant to the president for Public Affairs, those working at the farm and store talked to their neighbors regarding the situation and these neighbors in turn reached out to the College for help.
Hank Art, professor of environmental sciences and biology, has gone to some of the recent local gatherings about the store and farm closings, Kolesar explained. Additionally, representatives from the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives went to talk to Lewis about farming models that have worked in other similar locations. They hope that there may be some sort of innovative reorganization of operations that could salvage the farm and, in turn, the store.
Kolesar said the College is also exploring opportunities by which students can get involved, perhaps through internships. There also exists the possibility that the College might buy supplies from the farm and store.
“Even if all of those [aforementioned] things were to happen, it probably wouldn’t be enough to change the financial matter [of the farm and store] in terms of the College’s financial involvement,” Kolesar said.
Green River Farms is located on Route 43, and The Store at Five Corners is located on the intersection of Routes 43 and 7. Both places have been around for decades, although ownership has changed. Lewis purchased the store in July 2009 and the farm in April 2010. He has received offers on the property but has not commented on whether he is considering them.
The College plans to continue its talks with Lewis and take will likely take action in the future. For now, however, Kolesar said, “it’s just a conversation.”