Tag Archives: food

Hancock Permaculture Courses Lucky Dog Organic Farm

flooded field in GoshenPURE CATSKILLS



Hancock Permaculture Design Course

Spring 2014 – begins June.

CONTACT: Andrew Leslie Phillips



Hancock Permaculture Center

HAMDEN, NEW YORK: To be held at Lucky Dog Farm, Hamden N.Y. With additional field visits to local regional farms and homesteads and the New York City Watershed.

 Five weekends over five months – June thru October – miss one, make it up later. Graduates receive the official permaculture design certificate which enables you to teach permaculture.

Lucky Dog Farm is a working organic farm, catering business, farm store, food hub, three hours from NYC in the picturesque northern Catcalls. Accommodation available at Lucky Dog’s Hamden Inn. Camping also available. Contact: hollyway@gmail.com

Special guest lecturers:

Wes Gillingham, Project Director, Catskills Mountain Keeper, the north-east’s leading antifracking organization.

Laurie Schoeman, founder Intervention Green addresses climate change and city planning.Laurie works on climate change and sustainability issues with government agencies in NYC.


Andrew Leslie Phillips

: Hancock Permaculture Center;. Studied with Geoff Lawton and Bill

Mollison and known for his approachable teaching style.

Maria Grimaldi:

Degree in Environmental Psychology and diversified background teaching

gardening, farming, plant science, cooking with New York Botanical Gardens, Brooklyn Botanic

Garden, Cornell Cooperative Extension, NOFA-NY and Sullivan County Community College



Kyle T. Murray

: Catskill Mountain native brings youthful energy to this group. Studied with Andrew

Leslie Phillips, Hancock Permaculture Center, Albert Bates and Christopher Nesbitt at Maya

Mountain Research Farm, Belize. Alumni Paul Smiths College of the Adirondacks. Skills and

project experience include Land Surveying and Forestry, Arboriculture, Watershed Management,

and Natural Building

Erika Medina:

Certified Master Gardener and Naturalist. She lives in an off-grid homestead where

she runs a small CSA, raises bees, chickens, heritage ducks and turkeys. She and her husband

own and operate

One Earth Energy, a renewable energy design and installation company,

Dr Nancy Eos:

Family & holistic medical doctor, attorney. Studied with Dave Jacke (i2008).

Graduate of first Financial Permaculture course, Hohenwald, TN. Active with Transition Towns

Sullivan and Transition Towns Delaware – localized credit cards, stock exchanges, time dollar

enterprises, business funding, Think Local First campaigns.


: Five modules over five months – first weekends May thru September.


: Hamden N.Y., northern Catskills. Three hours from NYC. DIRECTIONS


: $220 per weekend with five organic meals.


: $440 covers two sessions and ensures a place in this course.

Send check and register:

Hancock Permaculture Center

372 West Front Street Hancock NY 13783



More course details at:


“Care of Earth. Care of people. Return of surplus to both.”



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Filed under Alternative Energy, EDUCATION, Environment

Breeding Organic Vegetables Step By Step Guide NOFA-NY


The Northeast Organic Farming Associations of New York (NOFA-NY) is happy to announce the recent publication of “Breeding Organic Vegetables: A Step By Step Guide for Growers.”

A century ago, all gardeners and farmers saved their seed and planted local strains.  Today, the art of plant breeding is nearly lost.  Much of modern plant breeding uses biotechnology and caters to the high-input needs of large-scale commercial growers.  Through the work of university researchers, on-farm researchers and home gardeners/homesteaders, NOFA-NY brings practical solutions for plant breeding to organic growers of all experience levels through the Breeding Organic Vegetables manual.

The purpose of the 96 page manual is to give farmers and gardeners clear, concise and tangible tools for plant breeding through theory and techniques that allow growers to create varieties that suit their particular needs.  In addition to explaining basic plant breeding theory and methods, the authors cover all the necessary steps in a breeding project, from deciding on a breeding goal and finding suitable germplasm to performing selections and evaluations.  Five grower-breeders also share their insight and breeding “recipes.”  The authors’ goal is to not only show how plant breeding can be done, but also to empower growers everywhere to breed imaginatively, and to produce vegetable varieties that are attractive, productive, disease resistant, and well adapted to organic systems.

The recently released publication was co-authored by Rowen White and Bryan Connolly and edited by Elizabeth Dyck. In collaboration with the Mohawk group Kanen:hiio, Rowen White is the curator of an extensive collection of heirloom seeds for native communities all over the Northeast region.  She is also the author of Haudenosaunee Native Seed Restoration.  Bryan Connolly is the state botanist for the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program and has authored The Wisdom of Plant Heritage, the NOFA handbook on small-scale seed production.

Copies are available for purchase for $18 (plus tax and shipping) on the NOFA-NY website, www.nofany.org/shop or by calling (585) 271-1979.  Orders of more than ten copies are eligible for a 25% bulk discount.

NOFA-NY, Inc. is an organization of consumers, gardeners, and farmers working together to create a sustainable regional food system which is ecologically sound and economically viable. Through demonstration and educational opportunities, we promote land stewardship, organic food production, and local marketing. NOFA-NY brings consumers and farmers closer together to make high quality food available to all people.

The project was supported in part from funds from the USDA Organic Research and Education Initiative Award No. 2004-51300-02229 and USDA-SARE grant LNE04-204.



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Filed under Beginning Farmer, seed saving, seeds, Sustainable Farming

Rondout Valley Growers Association Farm to Community Series FOOD MATTERS



Food Matters!

A Series of Farm-to-Community Conversations

A Day in the Life of a Local Farmer

Friday, Febrary 24, 6:30-8:00pm, Accord Firehouse Find out from local farmers what it takes to work the land, grow crops and raise livestock that keep us happy and healthy. Chris Kelder of Kelder’s Farm, Deena Wade of Transition Marbletown and a group of local farmers will talk about the real-time world of farming right here in the Rondout Valley. Suggested donation: $5. The Accord Firehouse is at 22 Main Street (entry in rear).

Goodnight Irene: Lessons in Resilience

Friday, March 9, 6:30-8:00pm, Accord Firehouse Our region was walloped by Hurricanes Irene and Lee, and many of our local farms were hit hard. Find out from farmers how they have recovered and how we can help strengthen our local food resources for a secure future. Suggested donation: $5. The Accord Firehouse, 22 Main Street (entry in rear).

Food Landscape: Farmer, Food and Family

Friday, March 23, 6-7:30pm, Marbletown Elementary School Did you know that our valley has some of the best farmland in the United States and we are lucky to have a great variety of farmers? Come find out about the bounty outside your door. This evening is part of the “Breakfast for Dinner” event organized by the Marbletown Parent Teacher Friends and the Chefs Consortium. Join the fun with optional dinner prepared with local food, Zumba (r) workout for all ages, local food exhibits and farmers who will share with you how our local food is created. Kids are welcome! Suggested donation: $5. Dinner is $7 for adults, $4 for children, with reduced family pricing. Marbletown Elementary School is at 12 Pine Bush Road in Stone Ridge.



This program of RVGA’s Rondout Valley Growers Education Project is fiscally sponsored by the Open Space Institute as part of their Citizen Action Program. Co-Sponsored by: Transition Marbletown, Town of Rochester Environmental Conservation Commission, Marbletown Parent Teacher Friends & Chefs Consortium.

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Filed under Environment, FARMERS MARKETS, Local Business, Local Farm Food Event, Locavore Challenge Event, Sustainable Farming, Transition Towns, Workforce Development

Growing Under Cover Neversink Farm Claryville New York–Beauty More Then Skin Deep!


Winter growing is a challenge for northeast farmers but a visit to NOFA-NY Certified Organic Farm in Claryville New York in mid-January demonstrates that it can be done and done well. Kate and Conor Crickmore are meticulous farmers and surprisingly Conor declared emphatically that aesthetics was a “very  important part of the operation.” Maybe it’s Conor’s background as a restaurant owner in New York City rather than his commitment to the USDA regulated  details of growing organic food that prompted this comment. But one would have to agree, that in spite of the long-term belief that organic food might not look as good as conventionally grown food, when it comes to marketing your product “aesthetics” does matter.

“It all ties in together anyhow” said Conor. Methods of harvesting, proper packaging, labeling, getting produce to market so that it is beautiful also reflects the care that goes into growing food “on a human scale”. Nothing at Neversink Farm is overreaching in scale or volume, yet Neversink offers diversity of products that the Crickmores are developing slowly and carefully paying strict attention to National Organic Practices (NOP).

Growing under-cover in hoop houses are an important part of Neversink’s year-round operation. In summer, it is cucumbers and tomatoes “They must have even heat” says Conor, “to develop a sweet juicy flavor.” And with his restaurant background, one can see that flavorful food is what it is all about, from his slower, growing meat chickens and  heritage breed layers  to the stunning Tansworth pigs that add to the farm’s diversity and manure source.

 Employing a “stacking of functions” the Neversink poultry flock prepares the ground in the high tunnel for early spring planting. In the warm weather the poultry are truly free ranging guarded against predators by two donkeys who are kept primarily for their contributions to soil fertility.

The winter crop consists of  mixed salad greens, including Mizuna and Tatzoi which are put into rotation with spinach and lettuce in the greenhouse beds.  The greens are delivered in “just picked” condition, washed, nicely  packaged (with a gold label) to specialty food stores  and restaurants in the area.

The greenhouse crop varies as the months progress into spring taking advantage of the natural course of the sun in fall and winter. Neversink CSA subscribers, retailers and farmers market customers were also treated in late fall to greenhouse grown carrots. Conor remarked that “no carrots or potatoes are left” so storage is not presently a problem. Everthing is kept to scale with appropriate yields for the season’s demands and marketing opportunities, remembering their motto “Human Scale Sustainable Agriculture.”

For more information and to appreciate the diversity of this outstanding organic farm please visit the Neversink Farm  website where you may find information on food events, farm tours and CSA subscription as well as more insight into the philosophy that inspires “beautiful” organic farming which goes much deeper than appearance.


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Filed under Beginning Farmer, Environment, Sustainable Farming

Community Organic Apple Cider Parties Savor Apple Harvest Abundance

The trees are loaded with apples. Many that have gone wild or live in abandoned orchards overtaken by forest are heavy with fruit. And many of my organic locavore friends have seized the opportunity to not only harvest from their own trees but are gleaning from “wild” places. Getting together for an apple pressing party gives everybody something to do. From picking, to washing cutting up the apples, young and old alike can participate in this fun activity.

The great thing is that you only need to invest in one cider press and if you have a great friend as I have, Adrianne Picciano (locally known as The Dirt Diva) you can borrow the press. Calling in neighbors and friends to come over, bring apples if they have them, or just to share in the fun. Everybody gets to take home delicious, unsprayed apple cider, usually a medley of apple varieties that lend an exotic taste to the beverage.

Setting up the assembly line to the press is part of the process. First we give the apples a bath in a weak solution of white vinegar and pure well water. The next step is a rinse in plain water. The next step is culling out any really bad apples and cutting out any really bad spots which go into buckets under the table (to be recycled  as compost, chicken food or forage for the deer)Kids learn to use knives properly in cutting up the apples into chunks which are dumped into the press. The excitment of tasting the first of the year’s harvest has got to be memorable to a child, and even some of us “older” folks.

And what to do with all that cider? Why hard cider of course! Organic apple cider vinegar!  I am thinking apple kombucha these days as well!

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Filed under Environment, Local Farm Food Event, Locavore Challenge Event, Transition Towns

When Times Get Tough….The Tough Get Farming-Small Farms Continue to Increase

In spite of the continual negative media coverage on the “job” market, the largest growing sector of the economy seems to remain ignored. Food and farming continue to grow, both figuratively and literally.

According to USDA Census reports:  The sector with the largest growth in percentage and absolute terms was farms with less than 50 acres.

Moreover, more small farms in America means more locally produced food, which means less petroleum burned transporting food across the country or around the world. A Cornell University study notes that a “simple but radical reduction in transport distance” would save great amounts of energy; for example, “transporting strawberries from California to New York by air requires 100 kcal of oil per kcal of strawberry imported.”

Jobs are HERE, not only in actual “hands-on” farming, but in farm and food related businesses. It will be a long time before people stop eating.

Visit our  Regional links especially   http://nebeginningfarmers.org/farmers/  and stay tuned as to what is going on in our Region in this important sector of the local economy.


Filed under Sustainable Farming