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News & Notes

News from Glynwood

The Hudson Valley Apprenticeship program provides education and support to ten apprentices across the Hudson Valley. Over the last few months, we’ve written about HVA apprentices Melissa and Janine at Phillies Bridge Farm Project, Eric at Stonewood Farm, and Betty and Kanav at Ecological Citizen’s Project. Today, we’d like to introduce Sophia Perkins. 

Are you interested in helping to harvest leftover produce from our fields for donation? If so, consider joining our Glean Team! Gleaning, as defined by the USDA, is the practice of “collecting excess fresh foods from farms, gardens, farmers markets, grocers, restaurants, state/county fairs, or any other sources in order to provide it to those in need.”

Last month, Glynwood’s Cider Project organized its second annual sensory tasting event to analyze the products of cider fermentation trials. Featuring fruit from trees donated and planted by the Cider Project in 2017, these trials are an ongoing effort to identify unique cider flavors, structures, and even terroir by fermenting juice from distinct orchards and apple varieties (separately, but under uniform conditions), then comparing and contrasting the ciders in a controlled tasting environment. 

Oh, what a difference a few months can make! Back in June, as a beautiful, lush spring shifted slowly into deep greens of early summer, I wrote about the challenges of too much water at Glynwood Farm. Just three months later, we are suffering from the effects of a flash drought and unprecedented heatwaves: our livestock farmers have been feeding hay for the last six weeks because our pastures have stopped growing; our lake and pond levels have dropped by six inches or more; and one of our wells has gone dry.

Farming during the climate crisis requires constant re-evaluation of our land management practices and production systems. At Glynwood, we have greenhouses where we grow food through the winter and start early crops in the spring. While some greenhouses are unheated, one is heated with propane to provide extra warmth to the crops. This summer, we installed a ‘climate battery greenhouse’ at Glynwood—a simple yet innovative system that creates a versatile indoor growing space that can be used year-round without relying on fossil fuel for added climate control.

This month, we want to introduce you to Melissa Schultheis and Janine Connell, who are apprenticing at Phillies Bridge Farm Project as part of the Hudson Valley Apprenticeship program.

The Hudson Valley Apprenticeship (HVA) is a decentralized apprenticeship designed to prepare farm apprentices across the region to successfully manage their own climate-resilient farm enterprises. (For a full description of HVA, read the blog post here.) In its pilot year, the HVA is supporting and resourcing apprentices at six Hudson Valley farms including  Phillies Bridge Farm Project as well as DIG Acres, Four Corners Farm, Stonewood Farm, Maple View Farm, and the Ecological Citizen’s Project at Longhaul Farm. 

Back in 2018, Laura Lengnick, Glynwood’s Director of Agriculture, was invited to lead a community-based design process to reimagine the 80-acre farm on the main campus of  Clemson University in South Carolina. Just last month, she was on site to see the first phase of the new design get underway: the installation of earthworks to improve drainage on one of three new climate-resilient farming systems planned for the site.

In early August, Glynwood hosted 30 livestock producers, extension agents and other industry stakeholders for an in-person livestock picnic. The gathering was an opportunity for the Hudson Valley Livestock Producers Group–founded by Glynwood in 2020–to break bread, reflect upon the season, share ideas, and discuss the preliminary findings of the USDA Regional Food Systems Partnership (RFSP) grant, which Glynwood and Cornell Cooperative Extension began working on in early 2022.   

Hello! We are a group of students from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) who worked in collaboration with Glynwood to produce curated recipes for the members of the CSA program this summer. Our aim has been to highlight the fresh produce in the weekly CSA share boxes, and create composed dishes for you to make at home. We have really enjoyed the challenge of trying to test out new and creative ways to integrate as much produce as possible into our recipes. For example, kale and spinach tasted great when incorporated into homemade tortillas, and marinating beets turned out to be a fantastic replacement for tuna in a poke bowl. 

Ryan Ciancanelli joined the Glynwood team as Staff Accountant in June 2022. He is responsible for the day-to-day accounting and financial reporting at Glynwood. Ryan has lived in Beacon, NY his whole life. He is from a large family that also lives in the area and is one of nine children. 

Perhaps the single most important factor in baking a satisfying loaf of bread is the quality of the flour used: not only the way in which the flour is ground, but also the nutrient and protein content of the wheat itself. 

This is somewhat problematic for bakers (and eaters) in our part of the country who are trying to make delicious breads using local flour. The American wheat industry is dominated by growers in Kansas and elsewhere in the Great Plains, meaning that the majority of research and development is centered on wheats that perform well under large scale commercial production and in climates very different from ours. While farmers in northern climates manage to grow these varieties, the yield and quality are comparatively low, forcing bakers to supplement with higher quality wheat from elsewhere. 

Creating a successful land access match, such as a farmland lease, between a farmer and a non-operating landowner is no simple thing. A farmer should know quite well what they need in order to succeed, while a non-operating landowner knows what they want to see, hear and smell on their farm. 

Reconciling these two points of view can be  difficult because there are so many moving parts in agriculture. It’s not always tidy. It’s not always quiet. It doesn’t always smell terrific. Without some guidance, many land access arrangements have had poor results. (See this recent New York Times piece.)

The Hudson Valley Apprenticeship program provides education and support to ten apprentices at six farms across the Hudson Valley. Last month, we introduced you to apprentices Betty Bastidas and Kanav Kathuria. This month, we’d like you to meet Eric Visconti.  

Eric is apprenticing at Stonewood Farm in Millbrook. Stonewood’s immaculate market garden, which grows over 100 varieties of high-quality vegetables and herbs, is run by former Glynwood apprentices Ellie Brown (2020) and Andie Mitchell (2021).  

The music of the rushing streams that knit together the rocky soils and rolling hills of Glynwood Farm is a daily reminder that I live and work in a landscape shaped by water. Essential to the health of land, people and community, water is a powerful force of nature that has grown more damaging with the increase in weather variability and extremes in a changing climate.

Last month, Glynwood staff members Megan Larmer and Kate Anstreicher traveled to Madison, Wisconsin to represent the Hudson Valley CSA Coalition at a three-day convening of the CSA Innovation Network (CSA-IN). The CSA-IN is a national group of technical assistance providers, coalitions and individual farmers committed to promoting and adapting the Community Supported Agriculture model. It was a long awaited event–postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic–and a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues and dig deeper into the future of CSA.

Meet Kanav Kathuria and Betty Bastidas, apprentices at the Ecological Citizen’s Project—and the newest additions to Glynwood’s Hudson Valley Apprenticeship. 

The Hudson Valley Apprenticeship (HVA) is a decentralized apprenticeship, drawing on Glynwood’s extensive agricultural network and decades-long expertise in farmer training to prepare farm apprentices across the region to successfully manage their own climate-resilient farm enterprises.

Glynwood’s apprentice program is in its fifteenth year. We have learned and adapted much in that time, developing a firm foundation from which to expand our training efforts. We are excited to be marking this 15-year anniversary by expanding the training program to help train and support apprentices not just at Glynwood, but at other farms in the region, as well. We have dubbed this expanded program the Hudson Valley Apprenticeship.  

During this time of escalating costs and uncertainty in the marketplace, there is a pivotal role for non-profits to play in training farmers and assisting regional farms that host interns and apprentices. Farm managers have a lot to offer as mentors to new farmers, but often lack the time and resources to provide comprehensive training that is attuned to the needs of individual trainees. By partnering with mentor farmers, Glynwood will augment the wealth of knowledge that mentors have to share in-field with classroom-based training, outside educators, and educational experiences at other Hudson Valley farms.  

On Memorial Day I mowed down the cool season annual mix that I planted last September. It is always bittersweet to knock down a lush stand of cover crop; the showy stand of triticale and crimson clover in this mix was no exception. I followed with two passes of a shallow disk harrow to mix  the plant residue into the soil to encourage decomposition of the cover crop residues and prepare the soil surface for another round of cover crop seeding. 

A week later, with a good seed bed established and soil temperature reaching an ideal 65 degrees, I seeded another diverse warm season annual pasture mix. I am particularly excited for the high proportion of deeply tap-rooted sunflower and sunn hemp in this mix, which also includes cowpea, buckwheat, millet, and turnip. This diverse mix of crops will contribute to the pasture restoration by keeping nutrients cycling in the soil and promoting surface water infiltration with the added benefits of attracting pollinators and producing high quality grazing for our livestock by late July or early August.

My first big step into the world of climate action came in 2011. In April of that year, I was invited to join the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) leadership team responsible for producing the very first national report exploring adaptation to climate change in U.S. agriculture. As a member of the lead author team and the lead scientist on adaptation, I worked with more than 60 researchers all across the U.S. to gather, review, discuss, and report on the state of scientific knowledge about the effects of climate change on U.S. agriculture. We also reported on what we knew about how best to maintain agricultural production in a changing climate.

Set at the head of our CSA-dedicated field, Glynwood’s humble Farm Store channels the energy of the surrounding farmland and welcomes all who come by to join in. 

When the wooden doors of the shed swing open, they unlock a cornerstone of what food means to us—this is how a storefront looks and feels when it is aimed at tipping the needle towards a more sustainable and equitable food system. 

Glynwood farm and property has a full and dedicated team of people managing the land and infrastructure. Last month we introduced the current apprentices; this blog provides additional context for the remainder of the land management team at Glynwood. 

The core group of land managers are divided into three teams—the “property,” “livestock,” and “vegetable” teams—that work together to care for a healthy landscape designed to support Glynwood’s mission. Each team focuses on the seasonal cycles of growth while also working to achieve a long-term vision of a beautiful and resilient landscape capable of sustaining the well-being of Glynwood’s staff and the communities that we serve.  

One of the unique aspects of the Hudson Valley is the sheer concentration of young farmers who come to the region to work on or found small-scale, sustainable farms. Glynwood is committed to training this next generation of farmers in a variety of capacities. Our apprenticeship program is an immersive experience designed to equip farmers with the skills and knowledge necessary to manage their own farm enterprises. The Hudson Valley Farm Business Incubator assists farmers in their first five years of operation by providing customized technical assistance and offering winter workshops on topics such as farm law and crop planning. In an effort to provide learning opportunities for a larger contingent of regional farmers, Glynwood also participates in a season-long public farm tour series called Mid Hudson CRAFT. 

Spring has arrived at Glynwood. It is a season of new arrivals and a time of reawakening, of returning, of birthing and emergence. As migratory birds return, morning hours on the farm are rich with busy birdsong as swollen buds on cherry, maple and magnolia promise blossoms and tender lime-green leaves in the coming weeks. Walking through Glynwood’s landscape, one can catch a noseful of warm and earthy air wafting out of the greenhouse doors or off of a field of just-tilled soil, an earful of bleating lambs and ewes, and a faceful of spring wind.

In addition to welcoming a new flock of lambs, a new brood of hens, and a new greenhouse teeming with seedlings, spring is the time when we welcome our new cohort of apprentices.

Much like some migratory birds, this season’s apprentices come to Glynwood from places near and far. They bring with them a diversity of experiences and a shared interest in a more intimate knowledge of the process of growing, raising, and harvesting food in a way that promotes the health of land, people and community.

On Friday, April 1, the Food Sovereignty Fund celebrated a first—gathering over 50 farmers, food access partners, and Accountability Council members with the goal of strengthening connections between regional farms and hunger relief efforts. This bilingual English-Spanish event was made possible by the Hudson Valley Language Justice Collective, and began to build the community we need to truly create food sovereignty in our region. We all shared a meal (a small but important step back towards communal activities!) and dove into some meaty questions—what are we doing to build food sovereignty now? And what still stands in the way?  

New York City Home Bakers rejoice! Glynwood Grains & Staples and GrowNYC Wholesale are teaming up to bring the beloved Home Bakers Meetup to Strong Rope Brewery in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

During this event, bakers of all experience levels are welcome to bring their creations, swap samples with fellow local grain and flour enthusiasts, share stories and tips, and sample beers from this award-winning New York State Farm Brewery. There will be several bread professionals on hand to talk techniques, along with some special guests and vendors.

Glynwood, in collaboration with Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is evaluating challenges and opportunities for livestock production in the Hudson Valley and adjacent regions as part of a USDA Regional Food System Partnership (RFSP) grant. From December 2021 through March 2022, a working group of representatives from Glynwood, Cornell, and Hudson Valley livestock farmers diligently worked to complete this first phase of the project, compiling and disseminating a survey to livestock producers. 

Have you noticed a new face helping with your CSA pickup or at the Farm Store checkout this month? That’s Ryan Stasolla, Glynwood’s new Farm Marketing and CSA Coordinator! Ryan began working at Glynwood in March to manage our farm store operations, coordinate our CSA and nurture our partnerships with food access partners across the Hudson Valley. Ryan’s interest in this work is motivated by his thoughtful understanding of the potential for locally-sourced marketplaces to spark positive changes throughout a community. 

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost six months since I stepped into my new role as the Director of Agriculture at Glynwood. Arriving just as the season began to turn from summer to fall, me and my partner, Weogo Reed, settled into our new home on the farm and got started exploring the land, people and communities of the Hudson Highlands and beyond.

April 2022 marks one year since Glynwood welcomed June Russell to the Regional Food Programs team and formalized its work within regional grains and staples. We are honored to have established relationships with so many collaborators and partners in this first year and excited to share these  details about some of the projects currently underway.

Maddie first joined Glynwood in 2013 as a Livestock Apprentice and returned as the Assistant Livestock Manager in February 2022. In her role, Maddie works closely with the Livestock Farm Manager to care for Glynwood's Animal Welfare Approved, multi-species operation. She also assists in teaching and guiding the daily work of the farm’s livestock apprentices and volunteers.

Glynwood’s Summer-Fall CSA is sold out, but rest assured: you still have a chance to sign up for a share in the Hudson Valley. Discover the bounty of vegetables, fruit, flowers, mushrooms, meat, and more that Hudson Valley farmers have to offer at the Hudson Valley CSA Coalition’s Virtual CSA Fair on Thursday, April 7 from 6-7:30 pm. Every attendee that signs up for a share through the Virtual CSA Fair will receive a unique Hudson Valley gift donated by local businesses!

Located within the Hudson-Wappinger watershed, Glynwood is water-rich. The farm benefits from a long-term average of 45 to 50 inches of rain per year compared to the national average of 38 inches per year. In addition to immediate rainfall and snowmelt, Glynwood’s water resources are drawn from two irrigation reservoirs—a 105-foot-deep agricultural well (that generally provides about 75 to 100 gallons per minute), and the 10.25 million gallon Jordan Pond reservoir (a shallow impounded pond filled by intermittent streams and surface runoff). The redundancy of water sources is more than we need at most times of the growing season, but during dry spells and drought periods, we often need to draw from multiple water sources to adequately water all of our vegetables and supply enough drinking water to the livestock across the farm’s pastures. Because of increasingly unpredictable weather patterns and extreme weather events, we cannot rely on natural watering alone for all of our agriculture needs and irrigation infrastructure plays an important role. 

The invitation to spend a month at the American Academy in Rome as a Visiting Scholar presented a unique opportunity for me to experience and learn about some of the qualities of a centuries-old food system of the kind we are trying to build here in New York – highly localized, with intense regional pride, and a reliance on small, decentralized farms and traditional food products. I’ve learned much from this experience, while also realizing that food and farming professionals in both Italy and the Hudson Valley share similar concerns about the future.

As I write this, the Hudson Valley landscape is covered in ice. Last weekend we endured a snowstorm and we've seen long stretches of nighttime temperatures close to 0°F, with highs in the teens. To think that fresh vegetables can grow amidst this kind of weather is mindboggling and yet it is happening here at Glynwood — we are year-round, four-season vegetable farmers.

Before I joined the Glynwood farm team last March, I was a three-season farmer for the better part of a decade. I would spend March-November working on a farm and then set off to somewhere warmer: traveling abroad, spending time in my home state of North Carolina, or touring on my bicycle for the winter. Staying active and engaged with vegetables and the earth during the winter was a compelling part of taking the job at Glynwood. Winter farming had a mysterious lure to it and as the veil has been lifted, it has been a very interesting learning experience.

Last summer, Glynwood added two new members to the livestock team, a pair of Maremma livestock guardian dogs. Livestock guardian dogs (commonly known as “LGDs”) are specifically bred to protect their flock from predation. 

Originating in the mountains of Italy, with depictions dating as far back as ancient Rome, Maremmas were bred by shepherds to protect sheep and goats. Selective breeding led to the development of coarse fur and a dense undercoat, similar to the wool fleece on a sheep. Their coat sheds in the spring and fall, keeps the dogs cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and protects them from wind, rain, and snow. This unique adaptation allows them to be full-time members of the flock they protect, living with them in all climate conditions.

The land at Glynwood has diverse and complex ecosystems, topography and history that invite creativity and thoughtfulness when honing best management practices. As a farmer with training in forestry, I continuously think about land use and management through the lens of agriculture and silviculture. 

Silvopasture is a management method utilizing the ecological concept of disturbance regime within forest-gap dynamics. Practiced for millennia, silvopasture is the intentional integration of managed forest and grazing systems. Before European colonialism, land occupation, and genocide, the indigenous people of the eastern forests intentionally created small and large gaps in the forest–strategic openings creating space to grow food and encourage wild game to browse, forage and graze. European colonial occupiers practiced techniques of domesticated animal husbandry, orcharding, and coppicing that incorporated European traditional forms of silvopasture in North America and in the Hudson River Valley in particular. These practices are still used today and though there is renewed interest among many farmers, they are not widespread in our modern farming and food system.  Silvopasture is a tool with the potential to help answer questions about how we can produce food and other goods in a resilient system as we face increasingly dire climate change implications. 

The past two growing seasons were unlike any other. Challenges including changing consumer patterns, supply chain disruptions, climate volatility, and worker shortages forced farmers to repeatedly adapt to new norms. This constant state of flux presents the opportunity for reflection, learning, collaboration, and new planning models for future growing seasons.

The Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming, in collaboration with Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has received a USDA Regional Food System Partnership (RFSP) grant to evaluate challenges and opportunities for livestock production in the Hudson Valley and adjacent regions. This project builds upon the collective experience of Glynwood and the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in serving the livestock industry, and relies on a partnership with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Livestock Program Work Team and the Hudson Valley Livestock Producers Group, formed by Glynwood in 2020. 

As the saying goes, “you are what you eat.” If you eat animal products, you eat the forage eaten by the animal, the soil, and the sun.  This underscores the importance of the hay quality that we feed to our livestock. Forage (food for ruminants) is on my and most livestock farmers’ minds at all times. Last month’s piece about hay storage and handling gives a short history of hay production. This post dives into the nuances of hay and its nutritional value to ruminants. 

Glynwood’s Hudson Valley Farm Business Incubator provides customized technical assistance to new and growth stage farm entrepreneurs. Our Farmer Training staff works with each Incubator participant through a tailored approach reflecting individual farms’ needs and goals, and organizes formal training in critical skill areas such as business planning and financial management, social and ecological sustainability and marketing.

This month, we’re excited to introduce our newest cohort of Incubator farms: Sweet Freedom Farm and Angel Family Farm. These farms attended Glynwood’s 2022 Winter Intensive series, and will benefit from comprehensive technical assistance throughout the next two growing seasons.

I began as Glynwood’s new Director of Development last month, and am grateful for the community, teamwork, and vitality that is unique here. It’s invigorating and inspiring. Meeting with the Glynwood team, talking to donors and stakeholders, and walking the property, I’m absorbing as much as I can about the work we do, how we get it done, and what our goals are for the future. 

Glynwood welcomed two new members to our Board of Directors, Kanchan Koya and Dan Shannon, earlier this month. Both Kanchan and Dan are incredibly thoughtful and supportive members of the Glynwood community. 

There are myriad farming conferences offered throughout the colder months, catering to anyone from small organic growers to ranchers to berry producers. Online farming courses and market gardening intensives abound as well, allowing farmers to process the material in their own time. Glynwood supplements these broader learning opportunities with a series of virtual and in-person Winter Intensives. Geared towards the specific needs and interests of Hudson Valley farmers, the series ties knowledge sharing with community building, allowing young farmers to build trust and understanding simultaneously.

Lauren joined Glynwood in December 2021 as Farmer Training Program Manager. In her work, Lauren supports a variety of farmer training efforts including Glynwood's Apprentice Program, Hudson Valley Farm Business Incubator, and Mid Hudson Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (MH CRAFT). She is energized by Glynwood's mission and dedicated to ensuring that the Hudson Valley continues to be a place where farming thrives. 

During the summer, our propagation greenhouse at Glynwood is filled to the brim with plant seedlings growing and waiting their turn to be transplanted into our fields. In the winter, it has traditionally sat empty for a couple of months, but this winter it started calling to us: "Yoo hoo, opportunity! Microgreens and shoots!" Our ears perked up at the mention of these tasty treats and we have been busy researching, trialing and developing this new venture, with the hopeful result of microgreens and shoots topping many of our hearty meals this winter.

Hay for livestock may not be as cut and dry as you think. Making hay in the summer requires great skill and care so that it can then be stored in quality condition through the winter. Throughout the Northeast, including on our small farm at Glynwood, a great deal of the winter is spent thinking about when, where and how to deliver hay to the animals.

Last summer, in the midst of the grazing season here at Glynwood, we began a process to renovate one of our large pastures. We documented the process in the first few installments of this “Notes from the Field” blog series throughout July (here), August (here) and September (here). In November, we transitioned our livestock from grazing on pasture to eating hay. Even though the pastures are now quieter and our cattle and sheep are eating hay, the process of storing and distributing feed to the livestock still requires careful consideration and a lot of work.

The New York Cider Association needs your help to pass some important cider legislation! Founded by Glynwood in 2015, the New York Cider Association is an independent trade association that has acted as a crucial collective voice and organizing body for apple growers and cider makers across the state.  

Cideries in California, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington (the very states focused on competing directly with the New York Cider market!) can ship directly to New York consumers. Currently, however, New York’s very own cider makers and growers are not able to compete equally and enjoy the same opportunity. Unlike New York wine, New York cider cannot be shipped directly to consumers. This creates a huge loss in revenue, tax dollars, and fair-market competition for our growers and producers who are working diligently to keep New York State as a leader in the rapidly growing cider industry.

The 2022 Regional Food for Health Speaker Series, beginning January 6th, will include a stellar group of physicians, farmers, activists, practice managers, research scientists, and chefs. These practitioners and leaders will shed light on how our health benefits from a closer connection to farms, and ways that the medical and agricultural communities can collaborate for better health, equity, and justice. In a world that has become increasingly specialized and siloed, we don’t often create these opportunities to examine the connections between seemingly disparate systems and areas of expertise. But in uncovering these connections, we can illuminate pathways to deeper positive impact.

The American Academy in Rome (AAR) invited Glynwood President Kathleen Finlay to be a visiting scholar for the month of January 2022 as a leading thinker in regional food systems. She will spend time during her residency at AAR exploring the historical and contemporary regional food system surrounding Rome to identify specific approaches and interventions that foster or hinder a healthy, just and sustainable supply of local food.

We are thrilled to announce that Jennifer Becker joined the Glynwood team as Director of Development in November 2021. Her 20+ year career spans all areas of fundraising, with expertise in institutional giving and funding strategy development. Most recently, Jennifer worked as Director of Foundation Relations at The New York Botanical Garden, and previously was Manager of Institutional Giving at Wave Hill. Jennifer has additional professional experience from Stepping Stones Museum for Children; Queens Library; Brooklyn Public Library; The South Street Seaport Museum; and Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.