Harvest Line, March-April 2013
- In the Spotlight
- Update from the Farm
- Meet the PFP's New Farm Management Team!
- Open Farm Day - May 18
- Farm to School - A PFP Education Intern’s Experience
- Get Involved
- Save the Date
- Calling All Interested Gardeners & Eaters!
- Best Practices for Caring for your Garden Plants
- Poughkeepsie Community Food Coalition Meeting
- Featured Vegetable and Recipes
In the Spotlight
The last few months have been a whirlwind. We’ve hired a new staff including Jesica Clark, Katrina Cohoe, Robyn Glenney, Noel Poindexter, Patrick Lang, and Helen Zincavage. We have trained and supervised 13 Vassar College Field Work students, each of whom have worked six hours a week for the last month. It has been a pleasure working and getting to know them.
We purchased over $35,000 dollars worth of new and used equipment including a new tractor, seeding equipment, a mower, plastic mulch layer, cultivating equipment, a perfecta, and a 5-row basket weeder. We have worked diligently to orient ourselves to the systems and production plans developed by our predecessors, Wendy and Asher, during their long ten years tenure at the PFP. Our gratitude goes out to them for the work they have done and will continue to do to ease our transitions.
I am happy to report that despite the cool spring, new staff, steep learning curve, and lack of sun, we are up-to-date with the execution of our farm production plan. In the ground we have broccoli, cabbage, arugula, kale, radishes, lettuce, radicchio, beets, fennel, chard, spinach, garlic, carrots, and strawberries. Over the next two weeks we’ll be planting potatoes, onions and the first succession of cucumbers and zucchini.
We’re looking forward to seeing you all at the Open Farm Day on May 18th and then again in the distribution room.
Yours in the field,
Introducing Leon Vehaba, Farm Manager and Jesica Clark, Assistant Farm Manager
(photo above of Leon and his wife, Tracy Lerman)
Leon Vehaba came to the PFP from the Student Farm at the Agricultural Sustainability Institute of the University of California at Davis. Leon grew up in Brewster, NY, and earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a master's degree in education from Boston University. (more about Leon)
Jesica Clark (photo by Dion Ogust) writes: When the opportunity to apply for the Assistant Farm Manager position at Poughkeepsie Farm Project arose, I jumped at the chance. I had worked at PFP as an intern in the 2004 and 2005 seasons and since then I have moved on to other farming ventures in the Hudson Valley.
In returning to Poughkeepsie, I bring with me the experience of managing a similar education and CSA based farm, Phillies Bridge Farm Project, for three seasons as well as the perspective of being the President of their Board of Directors for the past two years. I have also been running my own start-up urban farm in my current home in Kingston for the last couple of years, which has taught me the confidence to take on new challenges and increased my sense for running a successful business.
But, as always, time changes everything, and in the coming years my family and I are looking to transition back to Dutchess County, a place I hold dear to my heart even now, after six years of living across the river. The coincidence of PFP going through its own transition has given me the opportunity to use my skills as a farmer in a useful way while also guiding my move over the Hudson. I am thrilled to be working with Leon Vehaba, who has already taken on the task of getting us prepared for the season, despite being three time zones away, and I believe we will make a great team for the year.
His road to farming began when he worked as a waiter at the Blue Hill Restaurant at the Stone Barnes Center.While at Stone Barnes, he realized that a career in agriculture would allow him to combine many of his passions, including environmental stewardship and sustainable development.
This realization led him to California where he apprenticed for a year and a half at the University of California Santa Cruz Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture. Following that, he managed a small, diversified organic farm outside of Santa Cruz, where he put into practice the skills he learned while apprenticing at UC Santa Cruz. For the last two years, he's worked at the University of California Davis Student Farm as the Field Coordinator. He has taught tractor training, coordinated field research, and developed his knowledge of agriculture mechanics.
Leon is excited to move back to New York with his wife, Tracy, to be the Farm Manager at the Poughkeepsie Farm Project. Farming has been a passion of his for a number of years, and he relishes the opportunity to instill that passion in others. Food hobbies are also a big part of Leon's life outside of work. He is an avid home brewer, fermenter, cook, and loves taking on new food-related projects. This past winter he made hoshigaki, Japanese dried, massaged persimmons. He is looking forward to meeting all of you and becoming a part of the PFP family.
We invite you to join us and celebrate the new season!
Open Farm Day (All morning 9:30 am-12 pm) is open to the public, takes place rain or shine, and is FREE!
Come and meet the farm staff, take a farm tour, and learn about how the CSA works. PFP CSA members will have their first opportunity to sign up for shareholder work hours as well. Not yet a member of a CSA? You can sign up here too. Children's gardening activities and face painting! NO PLANT SALE this year, look for its return in 2014.
- Member benefits available - members pick up your plants and PFP extras!
- PFP CSA shareholder work hours sign-upsgar
- Children's gardening and face painting activities
- PFP items available for sale (t-shirts, herbal products, water bottles, bags, decals...)
9:00 - 9:30 am (pre-table opening) Qigong class
10:00am CSA/New Member Orientation and Farm Staff Introductions
10:45 am Farm Tour
We hope to see you at the Poughkeepsie Farm Project (located at the intersection of Raymond and Hooker Avenues in Poughkeepsie) on Saturday, May 18 from 9:30 am-12:00 pm for a day of farm, community, and fun!
By Andrew Murphy
Upon our arrival to the School Food Summit 2013: Celebrating our Children, Food and Future in the snowy Hudson Valley, my colleagues and I were welcomed into the Rondout Valley High School cafeteria by enthusiastic volunteers. We entered the Local Food Fair where we were able to meet with local farmers and representatives from community organizations that work on food access, food education, sustainable agriculture and other related issues. They talked with us and other event-goers about their farms and their work from behind their beautiful displays. I picked up some stickers and brochures advocating for local farming and community supported agriculture. We got to taste the output of the Kitchen Camp held earlier in the day. One of my colleagues, Meghan McDermott, participated and worked with school food service workers and others to prepare healthy school lunch options from a range of donated ingredients.
I treated myself to a homemade meatball made from grass-fed beef, a bit of apple granola, and a chicken burrito. After talking to various farming representatives in the area, we all moved into the theater for Songs of Food and Farming performed by Creek Iverson, the new farmer at Brook Farm, and his partner, Lisa Mitten. After the music, Chef Ann Cooper gave an informative lecture and moderated a panel of other school food service directors and advocates for healthy school food.
Piled into the theatre auditorium of Rondout Valley High School were farmers, students, educators, and parents gathered together to listen and learn from the Renegade Lunch Lady Ann Cooper and others who have a great voice in the public school food service world. Chef Ann Cooper, who was the main speaker for the event, is currently the Food Services Director at Boulder Valley School District in Boulder, Colorado and is known for her great work in improving school food systems.
Starting off her presentation on how we can work to improve the food we serve our children in schools, Ms. Cooper woke us up to the idea that “hungry kids can’t learn and malnourished kids can’t think.” She reminded us that changing school food is not for the faint of heart because, as she highlighted throughout her presentation, it takes an enormous effort in order to make even a small change. Ms. Cooper then discussed how school food, although essentially a part of government, is inextricably connected to our children’s health and education.
Ms. Cooper went on to point out that US agriculture uses 1.2 billion pesticides per year—that’s five pounds per person. She mentioned that the US presently has more prisoners than farmers, while emphasizing what she calls the sustainable food triple bottom line: people, planet, and prosperity. After reviewing a laundry list of what she wanted out of schools, which included refined sugars, fried foods, sodas, candy, chips, chocolate milk, high fructose corn syrup, antibiotics, and hormones, among others, she moved onto what she wanted in schools: healthy cold white milk, unlimited free water, composting and recycling programs, whole grains at every meal, school gardens, garden tastings, salad bars, and updated school wellness policies. Ms. Cooper finished her presentation by claiming “it should be a birthright in our country that every child has healthy delicious food in school every day.”
After Ms. Cooper’s portion of the event, a group of sustainable food activists, food services directors, and farmers, including Director of Food Services at Guilford, Connecticut Public Schools, Chef Timothy Cipriano, Bruce Davenport of Davenport Farms, Food Service Director, Todd Fowler, Director of Food Service at Keene, NY Central School, Julie Holbrook, author Janet Poppendieck, and Food Service Director at Rondout Valley Schools, Chris van Damm, participated in a panel discussion entitled “Local Food Goes to School.”
In response to the first topic concerning what can be done in order to get more local and healthy food into schools, many of the panelists championed the initiative to put a salad bar into every school, which has been part of the recent work of first lady Michelle Obama. Salad bars are one way children in lower income school districts might have greater access to healthier foods. Other responses included putting gardens in every school and growing food for use in the cafeteria. Some of the panelists posited that food education for students at a young age is one method by which to get children to understand that “food is medicine and medicine is food.”
The panel then responded to questions from the audience. In response to a question concerning where we go from here, one of the panelists reminded us that school food system changes do not happen overnight—they happen with patience and continual hard work. One audience member inquired about how to properly educate students about healthy food, and the panelists emphasized starting the process at a young age by requiring health classes to include education on nutrition as well as body image, and even working to educate parents on the foods they feed their children. The discussion ended with a question from a child in the audience who curiously asked: “what if we could make a sugar that everyone liked but wasn’t bad for you?” Ms. Cooper responded by mentioning that there do exist good types of sugars (like those eaten as fruits) and that any added sugar should be used in moderation and consumed in concurrence with sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables.
The panel discussion, audience’s questions, and Ms. Cooper’s presentation were all very terrifyingly real. The whole event gave us all a reality check about what has been entering our children’s bodies and thus considered nutrition. It is my sincere hope that events such as these continue to happen across the country so that the food we allow our schools to feed our children continues to improve in locality and nutrition. I felt as though I were becoming a part of a movement simply through my participation, and I cannot wait to find out ways in which I can contribute to this effort.
Do you enjoy working with fellow shareholders to ensure the smooth flow of our CSA Distribution? Are you friendly and enjoy meeting people? Do you possess good judgment, communication skills and the ability to work with diverse people?
If so, download the job description to learn more about this Bartershare Position.
|Tuesday Distribution Coordinator 2013.doc||116.5 KB|
Save the Date
As part of the new Poughkeepsie Plenty Food Coalition created with the support of the PFP, a group of community members have been meeting (next meeting April 23rd at 7pm at Mainstay on Main Street) to encourage gardening and eating healthy, local food in the City of Poughkeepsie. We call ourselves the "Urban Gardening Group" - although the acronym, UGG, leaves something to be desired. We are planning a number of events this year, from attending community events to encourage people to garden and try local foods, to creating pop-up gardens in city parks! So, we need help from gardeners, eaters, and everyone in between.
The vision of the Urban Gardening Group is to “foster a dynamic, engaged community that knows how to grow and cook local, healthy food.” In order to accomplish this vision, the UGG is committed to outreach for building enthusiasm about gardening and cooking by:
- Creating pop-up gardens in the City of Poughkeepsie
- Establishing a gardening/healthy eating presence at community events
- Developing a website to compile information
The pop-up gardens will be placed on City-owned park property, and we will use them to plant vegetables and fruits that community members can pick, cook, and eat. Alongside the gardens, we would like to install signs that explain why we are developing these gardens, and a space to hold pamphlets that direct residents to our website for additional information. If you would like to get involved with building, planting, or maintaining these gardens, please contact Betty Olson.
We plan to attend at least one community event each month during the growing season, at which we will highlight easy ways to grow food in containers and teach people how to cook with fresh vegetables. We will provide interested residents with materials to start their own container gardens along with samples and recipes of healthy food options. In order to encourage residents to visit our booth, we will have face painting available for kids, and a tomato growing kit raffle at each event. If you would like to attend an event as a volunteer, or help with organizing the table, please contact Becky Nielsen.
The Urban Gardening Group will be developing a website that will act as a clearinghouse for information about local workshops on gardening, cooking, and preserving food. The Poughkeepsie Farm Project is organizing a series of workshops for community members who are interested in learning how to garden throughout 2013, and workshops that have already been held were well attended. We are in communication with members of the Master Gardeners group from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County, and we will post their workshops and trainings on this website as well.
We also welcome additional ideas - so please come to our next meeting on April 23rd at 7pm at Mainstay on Main Street in Poughkeepsie. Contact Cornelia Harris (Lia) for additional information.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm
It is almost time to plant the summer vegetables!
This workshop will focus on providing the best care possible for your vegetable and herb garden.
Location: Charwat Meeting Room on the first floor of the Adriance Memorial Library, 93 Market Street, Poughkeepsie.
Registration is necessary; please call 845-485-3445 x3702 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
We will cover the basics of plant care for new or beginning gardeners. We welcome veteran gardeners to join us and share some of their best tips and advice. Please come with your questions and challenges. If you do not have space at home to garden, there will be information about community garden plots available for city residents.
This program is a collaboration of the Poughkeepsie Farm Project, the Fall Kill Partnership Gardens, and the Poughkeepsie Public Library District.
Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 5:30pm - 7:30pm
What: The quarterly general membership meeting of the Poughkeepsie Community Food Coalition (PCFC). The PCFC facilitates a forum for food issues, coordinates a platform for projects and policy and engages and develops committed and diverse leaders to build capacity in the City of Poughkeepsie to ensure the right for all to access sufficient and nturitious food.
Featured Vegetable and Recipes
|Prep time||30 minutes|
A crisp, cool salad for a summer day
Heat oven to 350°F. Cook bulgur or cous cous as directed on package; set aside. Halve tomatoes. Scoop out and discard inner meat and seeds. Cut tomatoes into 1/4-inch pieces and place in a bowl. Peel cucumber, halve lengthwise and scoop out seedy center. Cut cucumber into ¼-inch pieces; add to tomatoes. Add garlic and onion. Toast pine nuts on a baking sheet in oven until slightly browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Add cooled bulgur, chickpeas, oil, lemon juice, parsley and jalapeño; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and stir again. Marinate at room temperature about 20 minutes before serving (optional but recommended).
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison (New York: Broadway Books, 1997).
|Prep time||30 minutes|
Beets with a summery twist
|1 1⁄2||lb||beets (Cooked and peeled)|
|2||T||lemon zest (zest of one lemon )|
|2||T||red onion (finely diced)|
|2||T||mint (chopped )|
|4||salad greens (4 handfuls such as spinach, frisee, and/or red-leaf lettuce)|
|oz||salt and pepper (to taste)|
Cut the beets into quarters or sixths. Whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, onion, herbs, 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and the oil in a small bowl. Toss the beets with enough dressing to coat slightly. Toss the greens with the remaining dressing and arrange them on salad plates. Add the beets and serve.
Last year the Poughkeepsie Farm Project, along with collaborators Pattern for Progress, the Poughkeepsie City School District, and Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation, was awarded one of the USDA Farm to School grants. The goals of the grant are to develop routine procurement of local foods and to create a culture of food systems learning and engagement for the Poughkeepsie City School District. The role of the PFP in the project is to provide educational experiences for City of Poughkeepsie youth that lead to their increased consumption of vegetables and fruits as well as an increased demand for and receptiveness to local vegetables and fruits in school meals. So far, we have seven teachers from Warring School, five teachers from Poughkeepsie High School, and one teacher from Poughkeepsie Middle School signed up to participate with their classes in farm visits, cooking workshops, and other educational activities this spring. We will be highlighting the health benefits and tastiness of dark leafy greens through experiential activities including gardening, cooking, and learning about sustainable agriculture and nutrition.
Last fall, the PFP made a difficult decision based on the last few years of experience with the Farmers Market. After several years of considerable effort on the part of the staff and some volunteers, we realized that we could not run and participate in this market without considerably increased partnership and other support, which has not been forthcoming.
Farm & Community
The Poughkeepsie Farm Project is a non-profit organization that works toward a just and sustainable food system in the Mid-Hudson Valley by operating a member-supported farm, providing education about food and farming, and improving access to healthy locally-grown food.
Assistant Farm Manager: