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Friday, January 19 News

Local company gives “wings” to Stamford farm

DARIEN — It’s not everyday that Ann Gilmartin comes home from work with dirt under her nails. The Darien resident and founder of the Darien-based Wings Unlimited, a meeting planning company, usually spends her days at work helping companies plan corporate events. However, it’s also normal for her and her team to participate in volunteer work, so to celebrate their company’s 30th anniversary this year, they did just that by getting down and dirty at Fairgate Farm.

Gilmartin said giving back to the community is a priority at her company. In the past, they’ve volunteered in creative ways, like donating spare toiletries they pick up in hotels to Inspirica, an organization in Stamford that serves people who are homeless. But Gilmartin put a twist on her charitable spirit this year when she and her staff spent part of their 30-year anniversary celebration volunteering at Fairgate Farm, a communal farm in Stamford.

“The theme of our meeting is growth, so it seemed appropriate that we cultivate growth in other ways,” she said. “And we’ve always believed in giving back, so it was just so perfect. After 30 years, we needed to grow and celebrate.”

Gilmartin and her staff (which includes her two daughters) not only gave back to the community, but learned more about gardening as well during their time on the farm.

“We were tasting things and learning a weed is not necessarily a weed,” she said. “You can use it in your salad.”

But even more important than learning the value of pursley, putting down fertilizer and picking peppers, Gilmartin said Wings may have found a place in the community where they can continue working. She said her employees loved their time there and she imagines they might keep volunteering with the farm in the future.

“We’ve always done volunteer work for giving back, so this might be something we really dig our nails in,”she said. “I think it’s not all about us. We don’t want to only celebrate our success, but help other women be successful. It means a lot to me and my daughters that we celebrate. We’ve had success and why not share that?”

ekayata@hearstmediact.com; @erin_kayata

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