They Dig Farm Stand Idea

Christine Sampson

Plans for a Bridgehampton School garden and farm stand at the corner of Montauk Highway and Lockwood Avenue have continued to evolve since two Bridgehampton teachers pitched the idea to the school board in December.

The teachers, Judiann Carmack-Fay­yaz and Jeff Neubauer, updated the school board on the proposal during a school board meeting on March 30. They hope to expand the school’s current, thriving garden by establishing a farm stand and general store and by developing an agricultural business program.

Two separate, adjacent lots are involved. The Hampton Classic manages the lot on the east on behalf of a group of landowners. It is zoned for agricultural use, and the Classic had offered the school a free, three-year lease on it. The lot to the west, which abuts the school property, is owned by the Babinksi family and is zoned for commercial use. The Babinskis have now offered to lease it to the school for $3,000 a year.

Meanwhile, Paddlers for Humanity, a charitable group that gave the school $30,000 this year, has now given the school the green light to use $3,000 of the gift toward the first year of rent on the Babinski property.

Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz and Mr. Neubauer said the goal is to have a self-sustaining program by the end of the first year. The school board asked them for a financial plan, which they said they were still working on. “Without putting stress on the district, we are trying to look for creative ways to put it in the hands of the students,” Mr. Neubauer said.

The legal details are still being worked out,  but school board members have indicated their support. The teachers said they were mapping out plans with a conservative mind frame. “What we’re really planning on doing here is to start out slow and manageable, because this could become a huge commitment,” Mr. Neubauer said.

Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz added, “We don’t want to stretch and overreach. There’s lots of long-term prospects for it.”

“I think it’s a really nice initiative, a nice entrepreneurial venture,” Fred Doss, a co-founder of Paddlers for Humanity, said by phone on Tuesday. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity. . . . The people at Bridgehampton School have been terrific partners, and very proactive in terms of how they are running their programs there. They are a wonderful group of people.”

Both parcels had been leased to the Small Potato Nursery, which sold Christmas trees and topiary. Elizabeth Linker, the owner of Small Potato, has said she may have to close the business she ran for nearly 20 years as a result of losing the leases.