In this Issue:

LEP Highlights
  • Spring Meeting Engages Community 
  • FINYS, the Farm to College Connection
  • Kingston and the Hudson River School
  • New Additions to the LEP Team
Farm Hub News
  • Farm Stand Opening
  • What’s Growing on the Farm?
  • Preview: Farmer Meetings at the Hub
  • Seed Library Trials
  • Follow Us!

Spring Meeting Engages Community

At the end of April, more than 125 community members joined us on the SUNY Ulster campus for an evening presentation and panel discussion on the Local Economies Project (LEP) and the Hudson Valley Farm Hub.

Brooke Pickering-Cole, Manager of Community Relations at LEP, opened the presentation with a warm welcome before introducing Bob Dandrew, LEP's Director. Bob spoke about LEP's work in the Hudson Valley food system and a vision for “the next economy, the new economy.”

“The economy we have now,” he said, “is not working for us. We see this at home, we see this at local businesses. We feel strongly there is something new waiting for us in the future if we can see it, grasp it, and work together collaboratively to make that happen.”  Read more...

Photo:  Discussion and Q&A with (left to right): Brooke Pickering-Cole, Anu Rangarajan, Bob Dandrew, Sarah Brannen, John Gill, Jean-Paul Courtens.

FINYS: The Farm to College Connection

With more than one million students attending approximately 350 colleges and universities across New York, campus dining halls are fertile ground for accelerating procurement of local food. This is just one of the reasons that Farm to College was selected as a priority focus area for Farm to Institution New York State (FINYS), a partnership of agricultural, health, and economic development interests.

Launched by American Farmland Trust with financial support from the Local Economies Project, FINYS is working to expand market opportunities for local farmers while serving healthy food to people where they eat every day – in schools, colleges, hospitals, daycare, and senior centers.  Read more...

Photo: Kale Day 2014 at University of Albany. Credit: Melissa Bala/University at Albany.

Jervis McEntee: Hudson River School Painter

In the mid-19th century, the Hudson Valley gave birth to one of America’s first art movements – the Hudson River School. Today, renewed interest is bringing attention to the work of these Hudson Valley painters, among them Jervis McEntee (1828-1891), a native of Kingston.  McEntee’s paintings can now be seen here in Ulster County, in the first of two museum exhibitions devoted solely to his work. The show, entitled “Jervis McEntee: Kingston’s Artist of the Hudson River School" is on view at the Friends of Historic Kingston Gallery through October 31, 2015.

McEntee lived his entire life in Kingston and painted landscapes of the surrounding area, including the Hurley Flats, where the work pictured above appears to have been painted. The painting, entitled “Saturday Afternoon,” is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and will be on view from August 26th through December 13th, 2015 at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art in the exhibition "Jervis McEntee: Painter-Poet of the Hudson River School."

In celebration of these exhibitions, Friends of Historic Kingston is planning to bring a group this fall to the Farm Hub to paint the Hurley Flats "en plein air," in the tradition of the Hudson River School painters.

Visit the Friends of Historic Kingston website to learn more about Jervis McEntee and the Hudson River School.

Above: "Saturday Afternoon" by Jervis McEntee, 1875, Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

New Team Members

Our team in the Kingston office has gained three great new members since the start of the year. 

Nanette Ayers Dalton joined LEP as Business Manager in February. Previously, Nanette worked for the Shadowland Theatre, a nonprofit Actors Equity theater company in Ellenville.

In March, we welcomed Caitlin Salemi to the position of Program Assistant. Prior to joining LEP, Caitlin was the coordinator of the NYC Food Forum, where she co-produced the Mayoral Candidate Forum on the Future of Food in New York City. 

In May, Dave Meyer joined our communications team as Writer / Social Media Coordinator. Dave comes to us from ATD Fourth World, an international anti-poverty nonprofit where he was responsible for English language communications. 

Learn more about our newest team members here.

Photo: (left to right) Nanette, Dave, and Caitlin.

What's Growing on the Farm 

The Farm Hub’s transition from privately-owned sweet corn operation to full-fledged demonstration farm moves forward this spring with an exciting variety of planting activity taking place across the farm’s 1,255 acres - from wheat and barley trials at the farm’s north end near Kingston, to the vegetable garden by the banks of the Esopus Creek in the Town of Hurley.

This year’s strategic crop rotation and varied cultivation techniques represent the initial phase of the far-reaching ecological stewardship and on-farm research programs being developed at the Farm Hub.  Our cover cropping systems, vegetable trials, and grains field research are all designed to inform Hudson Valley farmers as they explore new market opportunities and innovative growing methods.


Click here to read more about what’s growing this season and to view our 2015 growing season map.

Photo: Crimson Clover cover crop growing at the Farm Hub.

Farm Stand Opens in June!

The Farm Stand on Route 209 in Hurley will be opening for the 2015 season on Wednesday, June 17th.  This season, the Farm Stand will be open seven days a week, from 9am to 6pm, through the month of October.
Once again, the Stand will feature a wide variety of fresh produce grown at the Farm Hub, as well as locally produced products from the Hudson Valley, such as honey, maple syrup, yogurt, cheese, juices, baked goods, and local grains. Everyone is encouraged to stop by and learn about the Farm Hub and LEP's work supporting the regional food system in collaboration with regional partner organizations.  

Visit the Farm Hub website for details, and to learn more about our growing methods. We look forward to seeing you there!

Preview:  Farmer Meetings at the Hub

Information sharing is an integral part of the Farm Hub’s mission to address the Hudson Valley’s ability to build its own food economy.  With a number of field trials taking place on the farm this season, Farm Hub Associate Directors John Gill and Jean-Paul Courtens, together with Cornell University project collaborators, will be welcoming farmers for on-site discussions of the Farm Hub’s work as it progresses. 

These field days and "twilight" meetings are an invaluable way for farmers to participate in, and to learn from, the innovative agricultural research taking place on the farm.  This year's topics include:

  • Small Grains: The second annual Small Grains Field Day, with updates on our winter grains and scaled-up spring variety trials at the Farm Hub.
  • Farm Equipment:  Evaluating the latest in innovative equipment for vegetable crop production, with a focus on weed control.
  • Tomato Varieties:  Comparing a dozen tomato varieties for disease resistance.
  • Root Crops:  Variety selection for beets, carrots, and parsnips, with raised bed and ridge cultivation comparisons.

Visit the Farm Hub website for meeting dates and times as they are scheduled. We hope that many area farmers will join us as, together, we continue to build a collaborative and inspired learning community in Hudson Valley agriculture.

Seed Library Trials at the Farm Hub

One of the region's celebrated gems is the Hudson Valley Seed Library, cataloguer and purveyor of heirloom and open pollinated seeds for vegetable, flower and herb varieties.  The Seed Library is also recognized for its unique and beautiful packaging, with colorful seed "art packs" created by local artists working in a variety of media.

From the Seed Library's farm in nearby Accord, New York, founder Ken Greene and the "Seed Squad" will be bringing seeds to the Farm Hub this year to plant as part of a collaborative project to test squash, tomato, sunflower and phacelia (purple tansy) varieties.  

Which varieties hold the most potential for Hudson Valley farmers?  What are best practices for seed production and for avoiding cross-pollination?  What kind of seed collection techniques work best?  These questions will be explored during the course of the trial.  Stay tuned for updates in future editions of this newsletter, and in the meantime, visit the Seed Library's website to learn more about their work in the Hudson Valley.

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LEP and the Farm Hub are now on Facebook and Twitter. It’s a great way to get the latest news and see more photos. Click the links below to follow. We hope to see you there!  

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