In the Spotlight

Many Hands Make Light Work

By Patrick Lang

The harsh winter now seems like a distant memory (sorry to bring it up) and I’m sure everyone is enjoying the fruits (and of course vegetables) of our collective labors. At the PFP, this means welcoming returning CSA members and meeting new ones during work shifts at the farm. Did the title give it away? This will be about shareholder work hours! Shifts are being filled as fast as ever with the online system, and those who were unsure about the change in sign up procedure have mostly seen that it is user-friendly and convenient. Let’s turn our attention to the actual work though, and to some issues that have been raised this spring, such as: What are we expecting from you during your work hours on the farm? What are you committing to? And why do we have shareholder work hours in the first place?

The last question is an easy one, and there isn’t just one answer. For one, your participation allows us to get all of the work done! For instance: harvesting 600 bed feet of cucumbers in an hour or two. Or equally: simultaneously pulling countless weeds and thinning thousands of tiny parsnip plants (sound familiar?). These are things that the crew could only do if we worked 12 to 13 hour days; many hands indeed make much lighter work. Another wonderful reason to have these shifts is the chance for community involvement with the farm: conversing with the farm crew, meeting fellow shareholders, and doing meaningful work to help produce food for all of us.

Here are the main things that we expect of shareholders completing work hours on the farm:

  • Please make it to shifts you’ve signed up for, and try to arrive a few minutes early
  • Walk down our road to the area with vehicles and farm equipment, which is where we start each morning
  • Prepare mentally and physically for farm work! Wear sturdy shoes/boots and clothes that can get dirty and wet, and expect to break a sweat
  • Bring water! We provide water at break time, but bring your own container to stay hydrated during work
  • Know your limits, and pay attention to your body. Take a break if necessary, and let us know if you feel unwell.

What you should expect during work hours:

  • The start time of your shift will be the actual time we start! Please be ready to work at that time.
  • We will work at a fast pace, while respecting everyone’s individual limitations.
  • Break occurs after 2 hours of work, when we will provide shade and water. Usually, generous individuals will provide snack and/or beverages. This is a great time to bond with folks who also appreciate the farm!
  • Farm crew members will give constructive criticism. Please also ask questions if any directions are unclear.
  • Field work and harvest shifts are perfect for enjoying the company of PFP community members, for learning more about farming/gardening, and for sharing your knowledge/experiences with us! It is also a terrific chance to share all of your worst jokes.

In organizing shareholder work hours, we try to avoid the necessity of working at a feverish pace. For instance, harvest was moved from Saturday to Friday so that folks don’t have to work their butts off Saturday morning with a 9:00 deadline, when distribution begins. Three-hour shifts are broken up with a 10-15 minute break/snack, allowing some time for chatting and rehydration in the field. And if 2 hours of physical labor (harvesting or fieldwork) is physically challenging, we actually do suggest a fieldwork shift. It is always possible to help out in this way by weeding crops like carrots, which requires no lifting and little strain on the body. It is a challenge, however, to provide non-fieldwork to those interested in that, since most labor is physically demanding. With that said, we just added a Tuesday afternoon greenhouse shift for those shareholders who require less physically demanding tasks.  Please only sign up for this shift if you have a true need. If you are concerned about your ability to work in the field, please let us know in advance; this way we can do our best to provide less strenuous work that is still a meaningful contribution.

It is also important to know that we are open to suggestions from anyone who has given thought to all of this (see us on the farm or use We have put plenty of energy into starting this season strong, and we are looking forward to busy harvests and field work days with our shareholders. We sincerely appreciate the time and effort everyone contributes to make the PFP what it is!

Growing our Community

News from Lee Anne

After a super successful two days of our Annual Plant Sale, two exciting MayShare Distributions, and the first two days of Full season and Summer shares, you'd think we'd be tired! But honestly, the farm and education crew (including all of our apprentices and interns) are mostly feeling invigorated and excited for this season. It's been great to finally meet many of you, and we really do enjoy the personal connections we're making or continuing with each of you, that proves what an amazing phenomenon the Poughkeepsie Farm Project is.
It's truly exciting to recognize that this is our 15 year anniversary! And we are gearing up for an extra celebratory year, as we are planning to introduce some extra activities for members starting in July - yoga, Chi Quong, movie nights, Contra Dancing to name a few - to enhance your contribution to this community as well as provide some fun activities for us all to connect to each other and our overall mission for food justice. I'd love to hear from anyone who has more ideas interesting and engaging activities we can offer, so please feel free to contact me.
Also as one of the many ways to celebrate this 15 years of success, we'll be collecting recipes for that constant question of "what do I do with this?!" Starting June 10th (a brilliant innovation from our Apprentice Ellie Limpert), we'll have a box for you to drop in your favorite ways to use and enjoy our produce, and will be highlighting many of them on Facebook and our Website to share with everyone. So please "like" us on facebook and stay tuned!
Other great news, thanks to Al Muhlnickel, PCSD Food Service Director, and all of the PCSD food service staff who've been working with Jamie Levato, our PFP Education Manager, we've just received a $15,000 grant from the United Way to expand our collaboration with the Poughkeepsie School District, and to bring healthy fruit and education awareness to students through their breakfast program! 
See you at the Farm!

Welcome Jan Nagle, our new office manager

Originally from the Hudson Valley, PFP’s new Office Manager, Jan Nagle has just made her way back home after living in Western NY for many years. Holding a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from SUNY New Paltz, and a Master of Fine Art from SUNY Buffalo, Jan is a practicing, nationally exhibited fine artist. She brings extensive gallery management, small business management, and not-for-profit board leadership experience to PFP. Jan is also an enthusiastic home cook, foodie, and food blogger, and is excited to blend all of these experiences together in her role at PFP.

Welcome (back) to the crew!

Hannah Snyder-Samuelson

Hannah will begin her senior year at Vassar College this fall, where she studies geography with concentrations in earth science and environmental policy. She is fortunate enough to have spent this past semester doing a paleoclimatology and geopolitics program in Copenhagen, Denmark, traveling to the west coast of Greenland to study the Greenlandic Ice Sheet firsthand! Hannah is also interested in forestry and natural resource management, especially after conducting research on land use policy and silviculture techniques in the Adirondacks this past fall and working in an urban forestry office near her Pennsylvania home last summer. At Vassar, Hannah is constantly hearing exciting news about the work that the Poughkeepsie Farm Project has done over the past few years, and she is absolutely thrilled for the opportunity to finally meet and work with all of you this year.

Katrina Cohoe

I am happy to be here for another season at the PFP!  At the farm I am usually running around like a chicken with its head cut off but in my downtime I like to garden, weave, collage, needlepoint, whatever else can put my near-sightedness to work.  I was born and raised on the west coast, and went to college in Indiana where I studied the environment, specifically in urban contexts.  Thank you all for this community I am grateful to be a part of!  See you in the field!

Patrick Lang

Although he is easily mistaken for a Midwesterner (apparently), Patrick hails from Western Massachusetts and is a Vassar grad who first joined the PFP last summer as an intern. Returning to Poughkeepsie and working as a beginning farmer was an unexpected change for him, but a rewarding one; he is energized by working outdoors and inspired by the environment that exists at the PFP. Patrick loves cooking and baking and is interested in sustainability and the accessibility of nourishing, and especially local, food. He is also a strong advocate of walking and bicycling as legitimate (and fun) forms of transportation, and particularly enjoys walking the ecological preserve and the dense row home neighborhoods of Poughkeepsie.

Charles Carrier

Charles Carrier is pursuing a degree in Sustainable Agriculture at Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, Vermont. A few years ago he was so intrigued with the question “How do farms grow food?” that he had to find out first hand. He traveled to southern New Hampshire and became a farm intern on a small organic farm. It became clear to Charles the strong connection food has to our environment, culture, and economy. Last year back in his home state of New Jersey, he worked on the farm of a non-profit working to increase access to fresh produce for residents in urban areas. Charles wants use growing food as a tool to help address some of the difficult, interconnected issues of our society.




Get Involved

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering in the Fields

We are open to drop-in field volunteers at the following times, weather permitting:

  • Fieldwork and Harvest: June–mid-Oct: Tues & Fri 8:00am–12:00pm, Sat. 7:00–10:00am and 10:30am–12:30pm
  • Fieldwork and Harvest: Mid-October-early November: Monday and Friday 1-4 pm, Sat 10:30am –12:30pm
  • Meditation (herb) Garden tending: April through October, Wednesday 4–6pm
  • Education & Seed Garden tending: April through October, Wednesday 4–6pm
  • For other farm volunteer opportunities, contact Leon Vehaba (845) 516-1100 x2
  • For other education opportunities, contact Jamie Levato (845) 516-1100 x4

New volunteer position! Media Volunteer for Soup-A-Bowl

Delicious food, good fellowship, delightful music and fun are planned for the PFP's seventh annual Soup-A-Bowl on October 12, 2014.  We already have the core of a terrific committee to organize this important event that raises friends and funds for the PFP.

We are seeking a media volunteer to send out press releases, follow up with media staff and arrange coverage.   We have templates from previous years and contact information for print, internet and radio news.  If desired, support from a communications professional to guide and coach you may be a possibility.  Media outreach should should begin in July to attract sponsors and will gear up again in September to publicize the event to the community.

If you are interested in knowing more about this position, please contact Soup-A-Bowl Chair Margery Groten at


Volunteering for PFP Projects

We rely on volunteers to help us with a variety of projects including soup kitchen deliveries, developing our meditation and seed gardens, putting on PFP events, tabling at non-PFP public events, assisting with construction projects and making submissions to the newsletter. Please note your areas of interest on your membership form, or contact us to learn about opportunities to volunteer. 

For more information on volunteering for events, see chart below.

Becoming a Barter Share Volunteer

Several key responsibilities at PFP are fulfilled by shareholders who have taken on specific positions such as editing the newsletter or managing the website.  Some of these positions receive a small or standard share of vegetables in appreciation for the work provided.  To find out whether we are currently recruiting for any of these positions, contact us at: 

Joining a Committee

PFP Committees take on significant roles in furthering our mission.  Committees are chaired by a member of our Board of Directors and are made up of a combination of volunteers and board members. Our current committees include Events and Outreach, Finance, Fundraising Strategy and Program Steering.  Additional sub-committees take on specific projects, such as fundraising events or strategic visioning for the farmers' market.  If you have an interest in joining a committee, contact the committee chair.

Joining the Board of Directors

Our volunteer Board of Directors oversees the Poughkeepsie Farm Project by defining the mission, programs and goals of the organization, ensuring adequate resources to accomplish the work, taking on the legal and fiscal responsibility, and representing the PFP in the community. If you are interested in joining the Board, contact the Incoming Chair.  

2014 Key Contacts for Volunteers

Board of Directors: Contact Mark Schlessman 

Buildings and Grounds: Contact Leon Vehaba

Field Work on the Farm: Contact Leon Vehaba

  • June–mid-Oct: Tues & Fri 7:30am–12:00pm, Sat. 7:00–10:00am and 10:30am–12:30pm
  • Mid-October-early November: Monday and Friday 1-4 pm, Sat 10:30am –12:30pm

Finance Committee: Contact Eric Spitzer (845-214-0422)

Food Share Transportation

Fundraising Strategies Committee

Leading Farm Visits: Contact Jamie Levato (845-475-2734)

Making Pottery: Contact Karl Kruszynski (845-486-4048)

Meditation Garden and Making Herbal Products

Newsletter:  Contact Jane Livingston (845-476-5405)

Program Steering Committee: Contact Lia Harris (845-242-0203)

Publicity / PR

Seed and Education Garden: April through October, Wednesdays 4–6 pm. Contact Jamie Levato (845-475-2734)

Soup-A-Bowl:  Contact Sarah Lee (845-473-5263) 

School Gardening in Poughkeepsie Schools

The Poughkeepsie Farm Project’s educators have been working to support and promote school gardening at City of Poughkeepsie schools. School gardens are vibrant outdoor classrooms that encourage observation and discovery. They also produce delicious food for healthy snacks.

Through our Growing City Seeds project (funded by the DEC) and City FRESH (funded by United Way), we have been able to train 72 educators to use garden-based instruction to enhance their teaching.  Five teachers at Warring School have taken one of our trainings and are committed to using their school garden and farm-based learning to teach their student about life cycles, healthy eating, and plant ecology. Four teachers from Krieger School participated in our 2013 Summer Institute and another three attended our 2012 training. They worked with the PFP to start a school garden this year. Krieger School held an Earth Day and garden-building event on April 25th at which families, school staff, and community members assembled the raised beds and filled them with soil. Since then, students with their teachers have been planting, tending, harvesting, and devouring the yummy fruits of their labor.

The PFP has also worked with educators from the Early Learning Center at Smith School (ELC) to start a new school garden. On a drizzling morning in the early spring, educators and community members gathered to build the garden beds, fill them with soil, and get them ready for the young students to plant and learn in the garden. In fact, the ELC has a book collection that ties in beautifully with the school garden. The students read delightfully illustrated non-fiction books about plant parts and then explore garden beds for vegetables and herbs that are examples of those parts.

At Poughkeepsie High School, one teacher has taken the lead in caring for the garden with his students. Mr. French takes his science classes out to the garden every Thursday to tend to, and learn in, the garden. In addition to teaching students about the natural world, encouraging curiosity and patience, and supporting their academic learning objectives, the school gardens are also giving them the opportunity to learn how to grow their own food, which is an important life skill.

One of the goals of these projects is to support students in developing a preference for fresh healthy foods that will inform their lifelong eating habits. Working in the school gardens, students have the opportunity to become familiar with growing and eating nutritious foods. Their positive experiences, evidenced by comments such as “I wish I could live in this garden” and “Wow! Lettuce tastes good even without ranch,” helps solidify both their taste for vegetables and a love of learning.

Featured Vegetable and Recipes


 Lettuce is a filling, nutrient rich veggie entirely free of fats and sugars. Lettuce is a great source of dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, and vitamins C (a powerful antioxidant that aids immunity), A (which is essential for healthy skin and vision), and K (which promotes bone mass). All lettuce have different qualities (Napa cabbage is crunchier than green leaf, etc.), but always choose lettuce with healthy, vivid leaves and avoid lettuce with limp leaves or discolored spots. Thoroughly wash your lettuce before eating it, as produce with an outer skin or peel can absorb and retain harmful pesticides.

Image: Lettuce, Rebecca Partington, Creative Commons.

Fennel and Apple Salad with Lemon-Shallot Dressing



Adapted from Cooking Light

Prep time15 minutes


A Great Salad


3 shallots (Minced)
1⁄4clemon juice
2Tolive oil
2tred wine vinegar
2cbraeburn or gala apples (Chopped)
2 fennel bulbs (Thinly Sliced)
16clettuce (Torn)


 Combine the first 8 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.Place the apple and fennel in a large bowl. Spoon 1 tablespoon of dressing over the apple mixture, tossing to coat. Add the remaining dressing and lettuce and toss. 

Mexican Chopped Salad


Prep time5 minutes


A crunchy, colorful side dish


1 lettuce (head of romaine, chopped)
1cnblack beans (drained and rinsed)
1cjicima (peeled and chopped into cubes)
1⁄2cqueso fresco (cubed -or feta cheese)
1cradishes (quartered)


For the salad, toss all the chopped vegetables together in a large bowl and top with cubes of queso fresco.Spicy Lime Cilantro DressingIngredients:¼ cup olive or vegetable oil2 cloves garlic, minced3 T. lime juice (about 2 or 3 limes)3 T. cilantro, finely chopped1 jalapeno, choppedSalt and pepper to tasteFor the dressing, pour olive oil into a small bowl. Add garlic, cilantro, jalapeno and whisk. Next add limejuice, whisk, and taste test. If the dressing is too spicy (which is how I like it), add more limejuice or oil. Season with salt and pepper and pour over the salad. Toss to evenly coat. 


Library Patrons Take Herb Walk at PFP

In photo: Beatrix Clarke explains the benefits of culinary and medicinal herbs in PFP's meditation garden.

By Julie DeLuca, Assistant Education Manager

On Monday, June 30, as the sun set and cast gentle golden rays across the farm, patrons of the Beekman Library strolled the Poughkeepsie Farm Project's Meditation Garden for an "Herb Walk" - a time to learn about the culinary and medicinal purposes of the various herbs growing in the garden. PFP member Beatrix Clarke led the group, allowing every person to smell, touch, and taste each plant.

Attendees discovered how herbs have qualities that promote health. To alleviate headaches, peppermint can be made into an oil and rubbed onto forehead temples. Consuming peppermint in the form of tea or in a culinary dish helps to ease stomach cramps. Sorrel has high Vitamin C content and thus assists in curing gum problems such as scurvy. Thyme is an antiseptic and can be used for cleaning purposes, both in the home (on countertops) and on the body (wounds).

The group was also taught that many common weeds have health benefits. Purslane, for example, is high in Omega 3 fatty acid, which helps to regulate metabolism.

More than 40 herbs grow in the PFP's Meditation Garden. Learning about them can continue by aiding in the garden's maintenance. Those who currently maintain the garden use the herbs to make salves for ailments such as burns and rashes, as well as chap sticks and teas. Anyone is welcome to help on  Wednesdays from 4-6pm. 

© Poughkeepsie Farm Project. All Rights Reserved. Contact Us. Read our Privacy Policy.