During Long Lane Farm’s annual Pumpkin Festival, members of the Wesleyan and Middletown communities learned about local organic farming and food politics while enjoying free veggie burgers, hot cider, vendors, live music, and various crafts, including pumpkin painting.
“Pumpkin Fest is just the kind of event that provides a moment for residents and students to meet for food, music, and laughter,” said farmer Elle Bixby ’23. “Long Lane Farm’s mission of providing a place for growing sustainable food in a community spirit is a perfect backdrop for reminding students that there is more to the Wesleyan campus than just classrooms and books, and for connecting our greater Middletown community to some of the experiences provided by the school.”
The organic, student-run farm has celebrated its fall harvest at the festival since 2004. Long Lane Farm supplies high-quality organic food to local residents of the Middletown area as well as to food pantries and soup kitchens.
“Pumpkin Fest is a wonderful opportunity to bring together the Wesleyan and Middletown communities through an afternoon of farm festivities, while also providing Long Lane Farm with a platform to share more about the work we do on the farm,” said farmer Debbra Goh ’24.
As part of the farm’s mission, proceeds generated by Pumpkin Fest bake sales go to a selected Middletown charity or organization. This year, proceeds went to the Middletown Mutual Aid Collective.
“It was wonderful to see the community show up to support such an important cause, and it was amazing to be able to have Middletown residents back on the farm with us,” Goh said.
This year’s event featured music by Dachelle, Clay Rodgers Band, Miranda Finn, Audrey Mills, Bella Amenta, Lilly Gitlitz, Skye Hawthorne, and Emily Bloom. This year’s vendors included the Green Fund, Wesleyan Natural History Museum, Botany Club, Bread Salvage, Cardinal Kids, Wesleyan Sustainability, WesCoven, Wesleyan Jewish Community, WILD Wes, WesVo, and Eco-facilitators. Sponsors included the College of the Environment and Bon Appetit.
Pumpkin Fest co-organizer Cambria Tsai Weaver ’22 says Pumpkin Fest is her favorite event of the year.
“I’m incredibly grateful to the College of the Environment for supporting us, to the Long Lane collective members for working their butts off to make it happen in two weeks, and to the Middletown community for showing up in a big way,” she said. “I’ll leave Wes with the fond memory that we were able to pull this one off one last time before I graduated!”
Said Bixby, “Pumpkin Fest wouldn’t have been anywhere near as successful without everyone coming together with an eye towards social harmony between campus and town.”
Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Willow Saxon ’25 and Milly Hopkins ’25)