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News & Notes

News from Glynwood

We are excited to introduce our 2023 Apprentices, who have traveled here from near (Putnam County) and far (Colombia). This colorful bunch is already leaning into this next learning adventure, and already teaching us so much. We look forward to guiding each other and growing together over the next 7+ months of the apprenticeship. 

The National Audubon Society will honor Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming  (Glynwood) President, Kathleen Finlay, with the Rachel Carson Award at the organization’s 20th Women in Conservation Luncheon at Bryant Park Grill in New York City on Thursday, May 4, 2023. Inspired by Carson, whose ground-breaking 1962 book “Silent Spring” helped launch the modern environmental movement, the award recognizes visionary women who demonstrate great leadership and commitment to conservation, both locally and globally.

When a pandemic response policy expired at the end of February before the planned official end of the public health emergency, tens of millions of low-income people across the country lost a significant chunk of their monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, catching many by surprise. This emergency legislation had allowed every SNAP household to receive the maximum monthly food stamp benefit, regardless of their income. Now, with these emergency allotments coming to an abrupt end, SNAP participants have lost at least $95 in monthly benefits–what could be a week's worth of groceries–and many households have seen much larger cuts of hundreds of dollars a month.

Glynwood’s Food Sovereignty Fund (FSF) is a transformational community-based food justice and health equity program designed to address various inequities in our food system. Through it, we help farmers connect with hunger relief projects to provide delicious, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food grown by regional farmers to these organizations and their clients. It is a stand-out example of our commitment to supporting community control of the food system–a defining principle of food sovereignty.

In recent years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has emerged as a broadly transformative model that increases the economic viability of small and mid-sized farms, strengthens relationships between producers and consumers, boosts local economies, and delivers overwhelmingly positive impacts to people’s lives. CSA members experience a full growing season with the farm, drawing them closer to the cyclical nature of farming and allowing them to share in the farm's abundance. 

But while CSA works beautifully for small-scale vegetable farms and many consumers, its high up-front cost is prohibitive for people facing financial stress or uncertainty. With a growing collective desire to incorporate food justice into their farm operations, farmers across the country have developed many strategies to increase  economic access to CSA while maintaining profitability. 

In early February, Megan Larmer, Glynwood’s Senior Director of Regional Food Programs, and Kate Anstreicher, Glynwood’s Program Manager, braved Chicago’s notoriously brutal winter to attend CiderCon, an annual conference organized by the American Cider Association. Attracting everyone from apple growers to cider enthusiasts to beer aficionados looking to branch out, CiderCon is an inspiring, multifaceted event where attendees from around the world can admire state-of-the-art canning equipment, get in a spirited argument about single-varietal ciders versus blends, and swirl a glass of experimental perry while discussing the unparalleled majesty of an old pear tree. 

Glynwood now has two new electric vehicle charging stations in the office parking lot, which will allow us to charge four cars at a time. Installing these EV charging stations was a larger task than expected, including trenching hundreds of feet to run a new transformer, jackhammering through bedrock, and "discovering" things underground.

We’ve also built capacity for at least two additional stations, to be installed when demand grows. Concurrent with this project, we purchased a new electric car for Glynwood, and the difference in charge times from a standard outlet (several days) to these dedicated units (just hours) is striking. 

Founded in 2007, Glynwood’s apprentice program began when the organization launched the expansion of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) initiative. Over the years, Glynwood has trained dozens of farmers, providing them with a solid foundation in regenerative agriculture as well as education in managerial skills. 

Meet Bill Ladd-Cawthorne, a 2013 Glynwood Farm Apprentice, and learn about his path to Glynwood and what he’s been up to since his time on the farm.

When Friday noon rolls around, the hum and hustle of a lively afternoon at Glynwood’s Farm Store begins to find its steady rhythm, like good background music in my ears. I flick on the lights, set a tall stack of logs aflame, then go out and pull the bins holding today’s harvest inside. Heavy as they are, flipping open a snap-lock bin sent by the Vegetable Team can feel like unwrapping a present. Inside the first one I open, 10 heads of red cabbage glisten in their snug pile: small and large, circular and oblong, they radiate a still-alive energy. Popping open another bin, I find a vibrant spectrum of microgreens puffed up in plastic bags like those harboring goldfish at a carnival. 

After this past year at Glynwood, I treasure our produce, though I know only morsels of what really goes into it. It’s clear that bringing good food to market requires time and care beyond the field, too, but I’ve long wondered what it takes to bring the harvest to organized, store-ready cleanliness. When farmers Jarret and Leah asked me to assist them at the Wash/Pack Shed during our apprenticeship’s absence, I got my chance to find out. 

Regional food policy work has emerged as a promising approach to developing equitable, sustainable, and vibrant food and agriculture systems. Yet, there is a need for much more resources and information to support the work of practitioners working at this scale. So it is exciting that a new project being led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA AMS), Ohio State University, the John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, and Colorado State University is aimed at better understanding regional approaches to strengthening food systems.

Each winter, Glynwood welcomes a new cohort of farm entrepreneurs to the Hudson Valley Farm Business Incubator (HVFBI) program. Through this program, we have provided customized technical assistance to over twenty new and growth-stage farm entrepreneurs, including farmers like Jose Roberto Rodriguez of Three Sisters Farm (pictured above). 

We are pleased to announce the addition of four new farm businesses whom we will be engaging in their first year of HVFBI participation in 2023. 

Deep winter is the time for rest and reflection on many farms. Here at Glynwood, the rhythms of the farm slow down as our crops and livestock shelter inside, protected from the wet, cold and windy weather that is winter in the Hudson Highlands. Our farmers spend much of the winter inside as well, where they are busy cleaning and organizing workspaces, repairing and replacing equipment, and finishing up their record-keeping in preparation for looking back over the successes and lessons learned last year and looking forward to making plans for the new growing season ahead.

As December settles in, we sadly say goodbye to our farm apprentices as they fledge the nest and continue onward in their farming journey. Now we Glynwood full-time farmers get our chance to slow our pace, reflect, and spend time planning (and interviewing for the next batch of apprentices!) for next year. But day-to-day farming never completely ceases. 

As the days grow shorter and the farm’s rhythms begin to slow, our apprentices reach the end of their work with us. This year, we asked them to reflect on a favorite space at Glynwood and what it means to them. Their words invite us all to pause every now and then in our busy lives and give thanks for the power of land, people and community to make each year unique at Glynwood Farm.  Farewell, Suz, Hania, Miya, H.e, and Carly.  We will miss you!

Last month, we enthusiastically launched our Grains & Staples retail program at the Glynwood Farm Store. This project centers on a call to make nutritious, regionally-grown grains more accessible to our community through a new CSA add-on and a growing retail selection in our Farm Store.

Our inaugural season is meant to introduce and familiarize Glynwood CSA members and shoppers at the store to the inspiring range of products now available in the Northeast, and in particular in the Hudson Valley. CSA shareholders will come to recognize products ranging from traditional roasted cornmeal from the Ganondagan Iroquois White Corn Project to an All-Purpose (AP) wheat flour from Milestone Mill called “Tom”, which began development just over a decade ago through a Cornell University led research project that continues to this day called the Value Added Grains for Local and Regional Food Systems project and in the Hudson Valley Farm Hub’s ongoing small grains field trials. Several of the CSA’s products will also be available in the newly designated Grains & Staples section of our Farm Store, so customers who could not commit to a full season can still sample to their hearts’ content.

We are thrilled to announce that Glynwood has been awarded a three-year  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant to expand our Hudson Valley Apprenticeship program! The Hudson Valley Apprenticeship (HVA), an initiative launched in 2022, supports apprentices at mentor-partner farms. In this program, apprentices gain a solid foundation in the principles and practices of sustainable vegetable production through a combination of hands-on learning and in-field mentoring with select farm mentors across the region, as well as through classroom-based education facilitated by Glynwood. The USDA grant will  help us grow our onsite apprenticeship program and allow the HVA to reach even more new entry farmers. All program elements will be rooted in Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) principles, recognizing Glynwood’s role in addressing racism and inequity in our country’s food system.

We are delighted to announce that Glynwood, along with an incredible team of national leaders in agriculture, soil science, environmental justice, and climate science, has been selected by the USDA to receive $20 million in funding from the Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities Program. This ambitious five-year project will help farmers adopt climate-smart practices as well as measure the effects of these practices on the environment, on the farmers who have adopted them, and on regional markets. 

The New York cider industry is on the cusp of becoming a world class beverage business. Cider experts will be in high demand as our place-based beverage achieves the worldwide popularity it deserves. But how do we build cider expertise and appreciation among members of the public? Well, orchards are our very own version of California vineyards and, like the wine connoisseurs of Napa Valley in the 1970s, New York cider enthusiasts are trailblazers. Working with our partners at the New York Cider Association and Angry Orchard, we set out to recruit the next generation of cider ambassadors by hosting a Cider Supper to introduce them—and, through them, their audiences—to the stunning quality and variety of New York cider. 

Next month we will have to say farewell to our cohort of 2022 apprentices. They are an amazing bunch – incredibly talented, competent, compassionate humans – and we are glad to have one more month with them. But, while we are still wrapping up this current farming season, we are at the same time preparing for the next: specifically, we are currently recruiting for 2023 apprentices! 

Christina Chan joined the Glynwood team in October 2022 as our Farmer Training Program Coordinator. Originally from Brooklyn, Christina has long considered food and eating a vital connection to her family. It wasn’t until obtaining her Masters in conservation science, though, that she became interested in agriculture as a way to not only build connections to people and place but also to protect the earth. 

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.

It’s amazing what can happen when you get the right people in a room together–you can spark innovation, redirect resources to where they are needed most, or simply reinspire and fortify each other for the struggle ahead. A little bit of this magic happened when we gathered a group of Glynwood’s Food Sovereignty Fund (FSF) partners–farmers, Accountability Council members, and frontline food access workers–on a rainy early-October Wednesday to visit four food access organizations in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

We started the day at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in the South Bronx, where Rev. Matthew Engleby, Brian Lyons, and a team of long-time volunteers were preparing to distribute food to the hundreds of clients already waiting outside in the early morning drizzle. The distribution would include fresh produce sourced from FSF partner Star Route Farm. Brian remarked that the quality and freshness of Star Route’s produce has simplified their distribution logistics: with cooler space at a premium, the produce can be left out overnight and still be fresh and crisp when handed out the next day.

Over the past six months, our Livestock Team has been skillfully raising their biggest flock of heritage-breed turkeys yet! When you drive into Glynwood, you might notice these boisterous birds, proudly gobbling and foraging in the pasture.This year, we are raising a diverse mix of five heritage-breed species, including Standard Bronze, Bourbon Red, Chocolate, Black Spanish, Blue Slate and Midget White. 

With the recent addition of a Grains and Staples project to Glynwood’s Regional Food Programs, we are excited to support a new foundation for an emerging sector of the Northeast food system. Our Grains and Staples Program seeks to build markets for emerging crops and promote their production in systems of regenerative agriculture. At Glynwood, we see exciting potential for cultivating a dynamic local grains outlet at our very own Winter Farm Store, in close collaboration with the farmers and producers who are making this movement possible. To that end, we will be launching a pilot Grains & Staples CSA share add-on that will run alongside our annual Winter Vegetable CSA. 

The Hudson Valley Apprenticeship program provides education and support to ten apprentices across the Hudson Valley. Previous posts have introduced apprentices Sophia at Four Corners Community Farm, Melissa and Janine at Phillies Bridge Farm Project, Eric at Stonewood Farm, and Betty and Kanav at Ecological Citizen’s Project. 

In our final spotlight on participating HVA farm apprentices, we have the incredible team at Dig Acres in Chester, NY. 

Steffen Hyder joined the Glynwood team in late September as Associate Director of Buildings, Infrastructure and Grounds. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Steffen is a decades-long resident of the Hudson Valley. Having originally come to study art and history at Bard College, he fell in love with the region for its distinct terroir and ecological character. Steffen has worked as an archaeologist, shepherd, historic preservationist, stonemason and woodworker, and has a deep background in the building trades.  

We are thrilled to share that Zoraida Lopez-Diago is joining Glynwood as Vice President of Development, Communication, and Strategic Partnerships on November 1st. She will be part of the organization's core leadership and responsible for several development, communications, and strategic functions at Glynwood to support its mission and programs.  

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.