Celebrating 2022 CRAFT
One of the most accessible farmer training opportunities in the Hudson Valley is Mid Hudson CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training), a free farm tour series organized by Glynwood and other regional partners every season. Hosted by regional farms on Thursday evenings, CRAFT tours involve farm walks, talks or demonstrations on a specific topic chosen by the farm host. These farm visits offer exposure to a number of diverse agricultural enterprises, as well as opportunities to develop practical skills and to network with other farmers and apprentices.
As we come towards the end of this year’s CRAFT season, we would like to celebrate the many farmers who have hosted tours and shared space and skills with hundreds of CRAFT participants, and to share some highlights from the season’s lineup.
The Tour: Jocelyn Apicello and Jason Angell held a tour of their farm, Longhaul Farm, in late May. For many years, Longhaul has hosted a tour near the beginning of the season focusing on work-life balance, making ends meet as farmers, and guiding discussion to help participants distill what they want from their farming career and life more broadly.
The Farm: "Our farm is more than a farm to us,” says Jason and Jocelyn. “It is a way we live our values and nurture community. It is a launching pad for our non-profit the Ecological Citizen's Project that works to build a more just, healthy, and regenerative way of life.
“We are raising our family on Longhaul Farm and training farmers through our non-profit's Regenerative Communities program. We have farmed this land for 10 years, have a 35-share CSA program, raise small livestock (chickens, turkeys, pigs)...and have off-the-farm jobs that we are happy to share about."
The Tour: At the end of June, Rogelio Bautista of R&R Produce led a tour focused on scaling up and investing in farm infrastructure. Rogelio shared details including how he and his wife Yesenia grew the farm through self-financing and loans, and how the farm changed after the purchase of key equipment like cold storage, a root washer, a water wheel and a corn planter. The tour was primarily in Spanish with English language interpretation provided by the Hudson Valley Language Justice Collective.
The Farm: In 2008, Rogelio and Yesenia Bautista made a decision to leave their minimum-wage jobs as farm workers to start their own business. R&R Produce, named after their son Rogelio Jr, is now a 20-acre diversified vegetable operation in the black dirt of Goshen, NY supplying fresh produce to New York City and New Rochelle. The farm serves its communities through a variety of farmers markets and through the Food Sovereignty Fund.
MAPLE VIEW FARM
The Tour: Kyle Nisonger hosted a tour at his no-till market garden, Maple View Farm, in late July. Kyle took participants on a farm walk, discussing his strategies in crop rotation and intercropping, soil fertility, and intensive growing using hand tools. Attendees also got to see Kyle's climate battery greenhouse, a model that uses thermal piping to moderate the temperature and humidity levels of the above-ground structure. (See our September issue for a discussion of Glynwood’s new climate battery greenhouse.)
The Farm: Maple View Farm broke ground in the spring of 2017, repurposing an old dairy farm in Poughquag, NY (circa 1870) into a small-scale, half-acre vegetable and herb farm. Owner and farmer Kyle Nisonger brought with him his knowledge gained while growing up on a family farm in Ohio, combined with experience working on several successful farms in the Hudson Valley.
Kyle started Maple View Farm with the goal of providing fresh produce to the local community in a sustainable manner. He currently sells his product direct-to-consumer via the Pleasantville Farmers market and at an on-site farm stand, and to wholesale accounts including several local restaurants and Nature's Pantry grocery stores.
The Tour: In mid-August, Kat Sidelnik welcomed folks to their farm, Moonrise Apothecary, to learn about growing annual and perennial herbs in a way that facilitates community building and connection to the earth. After talking about the craft of growing, harvesting and drying herbs, Kat led a workshop on making herbal medicine, allowing participants to harvest their own fresh herb and make tinctures to take home.
The Farm: With a strong belief that plant medicine should be rooted in earth-centered practices that are just & connecting, Moonrise Apothecary's mission is to increase herbal sovereignty, reconnect to practices that are nourishing and healing, and strengthen connection to self, community, land and place through bioregional regenerative practices. Located in the beautiful valley of the Shawangunk Ridge in New Paltz, NY, farmer Kat Sidelnik grows medicinal and culinary herbs and hosts workshops, weekly community volunteer days and monthly mutual aid herbal medicine making days.
The Tour: In late September, Christina Chan of Choy Division (Chester, NY) hosted a CRAFT tour on growing and cooking Asian greens. The event began with a tour of the farm and ended with a sampling of cooked Asian greens grown on the farm, including Tokyo Bekana, head mustard, gai lan, choy sum, celtuce and bitter melon. Glynwood and Choy Division collaborated with GrowNYC and FarmSchool NYC to invite farmers in training from New York City, and worked with the Hudson Valley Language Justice Collective to offer a completely English-Spanish bilingual event.
The Farm: Founded in 2020, Choy Division is a 1.25 acre diversified farm located at the Chester Ag Center (Chester, NY) that focuses on growing east Asian heritage crops for the Asian American community. The farm offers a CSA and wholesale, and grows for food pantries as well through the Food Sovereignty Fund. In addition, Christina participates in a mutual aid program that invites community members to glean produce that is donated to Asian elders in NYC.
Are you a Hudson Valley farm manager interested in becoming involved with CRAFT? Please reach out to Dave Llewellyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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