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News & Notes

News from Glynwood

On April 24th, a small group came together to plant 160 bareroot seedlings of 8 woody shrub and tree species into a temporary nursery space at Glynwood. They will reside here for a year, a relatively long heel-in stop-over, before being dispersed to permanent locations around Glynwood and at the proposed new home of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in Garrison. The trees and shrubs—eastern white pine, white spruce, pagoda (alternate leaf) dogwood, river birch, serviceberry, sweetbay magnolia, witch hazel, and ninebark—were acquired through Putnam County Soil and Water District’s Annual Plant Sale. All but the white spruce is within native range. They are largely adaptable species, being able to grow well, if not thrive, in varied conditions. It was a fun and energizing morning to talk and think about these plants and where they are headed.

Gleaning, the process of harvesting crops left over from a farmer’s harvest on a field, has roots that far pre-date modern agriculture, yet the practice remains a relevant and useful way to gather the crops that the farmer doesn’t have time to harvest, or that are “seconds” quality so that this food can nourish people. “Seconds” quality is generally used to describe food (usually vegetables) that is perfectly good to eat, but that doesn’t have the picture-perfect looks that they need to move through a farm store, or to be sold wholesale to a grocery store.

Every season, branches of CRAFT—The Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training—across the northeast (including one in the Mid-Hudson Valley) host in-depth farm tours, allowing farmers in training (whether formal apprentices or crew members) to visit different farm enterprises, develop practical farm skills, and network with other farmers and apprentices.

We are thrilled to welcome June Russell to the Glynwood team as Director of Regional Food Programs, specializing in grains and staples.  In her role at Glynwood, Russell will work with stakeholders to continue to build markets for emerging crops, as well as work to promote production of grains and staples including the adoption of climate adaptation strategies.

Jessica O’Callahan’s experience as a Glynwood apprentice in 2013 was transformative and solidified her long-time desire to work with plants and food. Jessica had been working for a nonprofit dance company before coming to Glynwood, but had previously done some urban farming in NYC and deep-down knew she wanted to be a farmer. When she found out about Glynwood she knew it would be a tremendous experience. She recalls thinking “this is awesome—Glynwood offers housing, pay, education, a chance to experience both vegetable and livestock production, and is amazingly beautiful. I can’t pass this up.”

Every spring, Glynwood welcomes a new cohort of Farm Apprentices on site. Over the course of the growing season, they learn alongside our farm managers in the fields through a series of carefully designed modules, participate in Mid-Hudson CRAFT site visits to regional farms, and continue their learning in the classroom through a series of farmer training workshops designed by Director of Farmer Training Dave Llewellyn and featuring many regional faculty experts. We are excited to introduce you to our three 2021 Vegetable Apprentices: Ashley Markowitz, Addie McCaul, and Andie Mitchell. 

Spring is off to a strong start here on the farm, both inside the greenhouse and outside. The propagation house is full of seedlings being nurtured, the baby chicks have arrived and are nestled snugly under the brooder, and outdoor beds are being flipped to make way for those new plants. Our spring plant sale allows you to purchase some of our own certified organic seedlings yourself, to take home and enjoy all summer long! Having your own garden can be a great supplement to a CSA share, or regular purchases at the farm store. Plants are selling out fast, so keep checking back, or email with any questions!

As you likely know, the food system in this country has long prioritized extractive production at the expense of health and wellbeing. Too many people are hungry while food is going to waste, and farmers aren’t compensated for thoughtful land stewardship. COVID-19 exposed tremendous vulnerabilities in our food system: farms lost wholesale buyers, there was an exponential increase in food insecurity, and there was a massive shortage of food for hunger relief organizations. Prior to the pandemic and as it stands now, hunger relief and food-access organizations are often dependent on donations from large agribusiness and the corporate food system. The Food Sovereignty Fund arose from a deep-seated belief that together we can create something better for our community. We are thrilled to announce the 17 farms who will be part of the Food Sovereignty Fund in 2021!

For Glynwood’s Farm Business Incubator participants, winter is an essential period of further learning. Every fall, Glynwood organizes a series of Winter Intensives based on the specific needs and interests of the incoming Incubator cohort. From Farm Law to No-Till growing, Marketing to Cover Cropping, these workshops introduce Incubator farmers to critical concepts and experts in each field. Winter Intensives additionally allow Incubator participants to learn from one another by sharing experiences, seeking and offering advice, and simply spending time together. 

Seed and Thistle Apothecary is an educational resource that supports folks to reclaim their ancestral traditions around plant medicine and healing and that centers the voices of Queer, Trans, gender non-conforming, Black and Indigenous communities. Lara Pacheco, who was a Glynwood apprentice in 2009, started Seed and Thistle Apothecary after years of farming and studying plant medicine. 

With spring approaching, the Glynwood family is growing by a few new full-time, farm-focused team members. Working together with Glynwood's Farm Managers, pictured above -- Nicole Scott (Farm Manager, Livestock) and Jarret Nelson (Farm Manager, Vegetable Operation) -- this intrepid bunch will help ready the way for our incoming cohort of apprentices, implement exciting improvements on the farm and help build relationships with our wonderful community of CSA members and farm store customers.

A sure sign of impending spring is when sheep are shorn. Raising and shearing sheep is one of the oldest agricultural practices; humans have been shearing sheep since around 3500 B.C.E. when we began spinning their wool for clothes. Over these thousands of years, sheep have evolved with the tradition of shearing. Today, millions of sheep are shorn each year. Whether or not the wool is harvested for use, sheep need to be shorn to keep them comfortable in the hot summer months, to prevent illness (overgrown wool can harbor parasites), and to prepare ewes for lambing.

Last week, we lost one of our dearest and most important champions: Penny Perkins Wilson. Penny spent a good deal of her childhood at Glynwood when it was her family’s home, and remained an active and incredibly thoughtful Board member since the family transitioned the property to become home to Glynwood, the non-profit organization. 

Here is a cherished memory from my time spent with her.

There’s been a lot of talk about food security, and why not? Because one goal of the food system is, or should be, making sure that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious, well-grown food. That of course isn’t the case.

Which is why the term “food sovereignty” deserves more attention. Food sovereignty is the right for people to determine what they grow and what they eat. It supports local farmers and local eating traditions. It supports soil stewardship rather than exploitation. It supports shortened supply chains. Perhaps above all, it supports local needs and local food systems rather than the global cash crop system.

In the spring of 2017, Glynwood orchestrated the donation and planting of 5,000 cider apple trees (25 varieties in total, including the three named above) to 15 orchards across the Hudson Valley, the Finger Lakes region, and Western New York. The goal of this initiative was to collect information year on year about how different apple varieties traditional to cider production grow and produce in our state. Participating orchards have collected information each spring on tree growth and mortality, and began collecting measurements on fruit production in the fall of 2019. In the fall of 2020, Glynwood launched a third form of data collection and analysis: fermentation trials. 

The long term legacy of Covid-19 for CSA farmers is uncertain. It is possible that the past year has permanently expanded awareness and demand for CSA shares, but it is also possible that once restaurants fully reopen and normalcy returns, farmers will again need to find other outlets for their products.  I do hope one silver lining of the pandemic is more consumers recognizing the freshness, quality, and authentic connection between farmer and eater that CSAs offer, and that CSA farms will continue to thrive and grow. 

“My whole life trajectory would have been very different if I hadn’t apprenticed at Glynwood. It sent me down the path I am on now.” Jesse Voremberg was a Glynwood apprentice in 2017 and since then has delved deeper into many facets of food and farming systems, from whole-animal butchery to farmland access and academia. 

We are honored to announce that The Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming was selected as one of 50 pilot farms across the world for A Greener World’s (AGW) Certified Regenerative pilot program. Glynwood has been certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW since 2013, and we’re excited to build upon this foundation and deepen our relationship with A Greener World. 

The Hudson Valley CSA Coalition will be hosting a virtual CSA Summit on Thursday, February 18. The Summit will be a time to take a collective breath, reconnect, and identify solutions and collaborations to make CSA in our region as successful as possible. Although the Summit is geared towards CSA farmers, we encourage anyone interested to register for the event and spread the word. We look forward to reflecting, learning, and growing together.

Here in the Northeast, cattle and other ruminants are fed hay for about half the year, usually November through April. When we imagine pasture-raised animals, the image that comes to mind is one of cows eating green growing grass. But that is only half the story, for the other six months of the year their diet is primarily dry hay, and the quality and quantity of hay is critical to the health of those animals—impacting everything from their fertility and reproductive health, to pest and disease resistance, to how fast they grow and put on meat. 

The first Glynwood apprentice was Dan Fillius, who came to work and learn on this property in 2008 because he, like so many of us, had been “bit by the gardening bug”. Dan now works for Iowa State Extension teaching farmers about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and also manages an urban farm, Middlebrook Farm, in an “agri-hood” outside of Des Moines, Iowa.

Michelle is the Associate Director of Regional Food Programs. She joined the Glynwood team in late 2020, bringing to this role her enthusiasm for connecting diverse people with varied experiences and expertise to create a more just and resilient food system in the Hudson Valley.

There are so many reasons why soil carbon matters, and mitigating climate change is only one piece of that. Soil organic carbon (SOC) delivers nutrients to plants, including our food crops, and also sustains the microorganisms that cycle those nutrients in the soil. You can think of SOC as the glue that keeps soil particles together. Measuring soil carbon is challenging; the most accurate current methods are expensive and time-consuming. Glynwood just received a reflectometer, a tool to measure the specific light that comes off of our soil and indicates levels of soil carbon.

“I formed a deep connection to the land and animals during my time at Glynwood. The animals were really like teachers to me in understanding how to care for livestock in humane ways and how to manage pasture in sustainable ways. I learned a lot about listening to the animals and the land and also about trusting my own instincts as a farmer.” Allie Comet apprenticed at Glynwood during the 2011 season, and stayed on as the Assistant Livestock manager in 2012.

This month, we’re excited to introduce you to our newest cohort of Incubator farms: Big Dream Farm, Choy Division, Ever Growing Family Farm, and Grassroots Farm. These farms will attend a series of Winter Intensives in 2021, and will benefit from comprehensive technical assistance throughout the 2021 growing season and beyond.

The Glynwood Glean Team consisted of both Glynwood staff and community volunteers. From mid-summer thru November, this team showed up to glean vegetables in the mud, hail, and heat. Volunteers arrived at Glynwood in the early morning and in the late afternoon, lugging heavy bins of squash and bags of bok choy to the cooler. Read more to find out how the Glean Team came to be, and what it accomplished in a few short months.

Looking to the long term needs of our region, this past season’s efforts inspired the development of the Food Sovereignty Fund. This project strives to increase regional food sovereignty while protecting the bottom line of small, regeneratively managed farms, particularly those led by people from historically marginalized backgrounds. It was the COVID-19 pandemic that sparked this program; however, the disparities in access to nutrient-dense, locally grown food—as well as the inequities that disadvantage farmers who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and/or women—are long-standing and systemic in nature. To that end, the Food Sovereignty Fund is eager to continue and expand this line of work.

The difficult conversations about racism and social justice that the murder of George Flloyd brought to the national forefront this summer are continuing within New York’s cider community and sparking action. Over the past decade, Glynwood has advocated for the values of agricultural stewardship and craftsmanship that define New York cider. In 2020, advancing the values of the cider industry must include working towards social justice in the sector.

This longer post takes a deep dive into protecting farms and farmland in the Hudson River Valley. The character of the Hudson Valley is so unique precisely because of this diverse landscape that brings together forests, small cities and towns with proximity to a large urban center, with agriculture that ranges from mixed vegetable production to orchards and livestock. Supporting agriculture protects and promotes vibrant rural communities and helps maintain a regional identity for the Hudson Valley.

Did you know that the vast majority of Glynwood’s revenue comes from individuals? These are individuals who care about our work and our mission. These individuals give $25, $100, $5,000, or any amount that is meaningful to them. Without this support, we would not be able to train farmers, provide mentorship through our business incubator program, donate food to local pantries, or create meaningful coalitions throughout the region. 

Our partners at The Hudson Valley Farm Hub offered a tractor workshop specifically for women. The Farm Hub partnered with local tractor mechanic Sarah Groat to offer this training. Sarah Groat, who is based in Kingston NY, maintains equipment for several Hudson Valley farms and is available for urgent repairs on an as needed basis. With her combined experience in tractor operation, maintenance, and repair, she was the perfect person to teach a tractor workshop for women. 

Chef Alicia Walter details her inspirations for the October Farm to Home Dinner box, as well as her goals as Culinary Director at Harlem Valley Homestead in Wingdale, NY.

Glynwood’s Hudson Valley Farm Business Incubator was established to provide customized technical assistance to new and growth stage farm entrepreneurs. Whether farms need assistance in business planning and financial management, social or ecological sustainability, or legal advising and marketing, Glynwood’s Farmer Training staff works with each participating business with a tailored approach reflecting individual farms’ needs and goals. This month, we’re excited to introduce you to our final 2020 Incubator farms: Lovin’ Mama Farm and Second Wind CSA. 

In early 2020, the Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming and the Pleiades Network decided to join forces and organize an event: a gathering of women changemakers working in regenerative food and agriculture. Although the in-person event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Plant + Harvest metamorphosed into a series of three nourishing, network-building video calls held in July and August 2020. Plant + Harvest brought together over 50 women in all, representing 3 countries, 16 states and every region within the United States, and spanning six decades in age.

In a post originally authored for the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, Director of Regional Food Programs Megan Larmer describes how COVID-19 has impacted the pilot year of Glynwood's CSA is a SNAP project (funded by the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program; USDA-NIFA Award No. 2019-70030-30397).

Heirloom tomatoes are a summer time staple and each variety has a unique story as well as flavor.  Here are the varieties that we grow at Glynwood.

This summer, Glynwood has been honored to host cook-in-residence Phoebe Leon through our ongoing partnership with Gramercy Tavern. Since Phoebe arrived at Glynwood in June, she has been ushered through a series of educational and experiential offerings to help develop her holistic understanding of the food system -- everything from farm visits, to recipes trials, to working with our farm team. Read on for her reflections on her experiences at Glynwood and in our regional food system.

In the wake of COVID-19, thousands of Hudson Valley residents lost their jobs and demand for hunger relief skyrocketed across the region. At the same time, local farms saw increased demand for their products from full price customers, leaving less food to flow into the emergency food system through typical farm donations. It was a perfect storm: those living on the edge of precarity were left unable to access fresh, healthy food, and farmers faced mounting pressures to meet ever increasing demand, all while scrambling to pivot their safety and marketing protocols.

While COVID has amplified our awareness and the urgency of these issues, disparities and vulnerabilities have long existed in our regional food system. Food donations are important, but only provide short-term relief. To correct the systemic inequities that result in food insecurity will require hard, slow, thoughtful work, which is why -- at the urging of our farm and food access partners -- we recently launched our newest initiative: Local Food for Every Table. Inspired by work catalyzed by the Hudson Valley's own Maggie Cheney of Rock Steady Farm, this initiative aims to build a regional food system with food sovereignty at its core, so that every Hudson Valley resident, regardless of ZIP code or income, can access farm-fresh, nutrient dense food.

You’ll be hearing a lot more about Local Food for Every Table in the coming weeks and months, asit is quickly becoming part of Glynwood’s long term strategy. For now, we wanted to share some of the good work this initiative is facilitating as we head into the height of the growing season, while bracing for a second wave of coronavirus and attendant economic challenges this winter.

A recent report by lead authors at Ecological Citizens Project titled "Sink, Store, Reduce, Offset: An Innovative GHG Inventory and Its Implications for Achieving Local Carbon Neutrality" details the sobering reality that we Philipstown residents are heavy feeders in the realm of greenhouse gas consumption. The inventory also provides an estimate for the amount of carbon sequestered by our natural resources.

An exploration of the history of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in the United States and globally, observing where credit has been predominantly given and where credit is long overdue.

There is so much you can plant in the mid to late summer for an abundance of produce in the fall. 

Broccoli is a cool weather how can you keep it from bolting as the soil heats up from these repeated long, hot summer days?

Community partnerships and 4x4 plots of land: Finding new ways to nourish our neighbors.

Turns out following the thought process of your veggies helps both the farmed and the farmer...

This home grower's radishes looked so promising with healthy bunches of leafy greens growing above the soil. But alas, almost no roots at all! Lynda shares some insights.

With summer's arrival we are all eagerly awaiting the tomato bounty that is just around the corner. If you're growing tomatoes at home, check out Senior Farm Director Lynda Prim's tending tips along with a quick nitrogen lesson, as well!

The Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming is proud to announce the launch of the “CSA is a SNAP” program, an initiative of the Hudson Valley CSA Coalition that Glynwood facilitates.

“The farms that make up the Hudson Valley CSA Coalition are passionate about feeding everyone in their community, and we are thrilled to launch a program that will make healthy, nutritious vegetables more available to people facing food insecurity,” said Megan Larmer, Director of the Regional Food Program at Glynwood and facilitator of the Hudson Valley CSA Coalition.

“CSA is a SNAP” is designed to make Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) more accessible to people purchasing food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). Click the link to lead the full press release.