Kay Neufeld flaunts her completed cutting board on Saturday, Sept. 25. John Nichols, woodworker and owner of John’s Chip Off the Old Block, taught Neufeld how to make the board from scratch. Photo courtesy of Emma Schurink

FARMINGTON — I never understood the blessings of community until I lived in Farmington.

I grew up on the outskirts of New York City, in the suburbs. I knew my neighbors, but not all that well. I didn’t know the people that ran our public works, the people that kept the local government in order, the owners of stores that have been in nearby towns for decades. I didn’t know all that much about local lore, history or current events.

And to be truthful, I didn’t have a desire to learn. Not until I started my work as the staff writer for the Franklin Journal and Livermore Falls Advertiser in April 2021.

I write this for you, Dear Reader, as my parting column as I am leaving my position with this newspaper.

It’s been fun, walking down the street and saying hello to the many familiar faces; knowing the local shop owners well and always stopping in for a good conversation.

Without the support of the community, I wouldn’t have been able to write the tapestry of articles that I did. Getting to know people led to writing explorative articles and learning new things.


I learned how to fiddle, play cribbage, build cutting boards and tap maple trees; I learned the ins and outs of local government and education after elected officials fielded my many, many questions.

While this little community exemplifies the political divide – which can be seen across the nation – I’ve come to see the Farmington community as rich in diverse perspectives and experiences.  I’ve learned that people are more complex than categories and labels.

I’ve witnessed arguments over how our children are educated and how our municipal budgets are spent; I’ve heard angry preachers yelling on the street and discovered the harsh reality of homelessness in the area. But, I’ve also seen people in this community lift each other up and try to improve the lives of those who call this place home.

From the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, the United Way, the Care and Share Food Closet, to community action groups for substance-use disorder and prison reform; from St. Joseph Parish’s Ora Breads to blessing boxes, free backpacks and Mt. Blue High School’s free thrift store.

There’re municipal and school boards, where community members serve not for the money or accolades, but to help keep things running because someone must.

That is what keeps us connected.

When it comes down to it, the people of Farmington want to make sure that we’re all taken care of. We all share the needs of food, shelter, financial stability and connection. And every person comes with their own story of struggle.

Looking back on my time as your trusty reporter, Dear Reader, I’m grateful for meeting you all, the experiences you’ve invited me into, the wisdom you have shared with me, and the endless, endless generosity you’ve shown me.

Thank you.

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