In the Spotlight

New Grants Sustain Momentum of Two Educational Programs

By Julie DeLuca, Assistant Education Manager

Two grants awarded to The Poughkeepsie Farm Project will fund the continuation of specific educational programs in 2014. Clif Bar Foundation awarded $3,000 for our Community Seed Project and the Jane W. Nuhn Charitable Trust gave $10,000 for our role in the Farm to School program.

The Community Seed Project educates youth and adults on seed saving techniques and encourages their participation in maintaining local food security by “increasing the availability of regionally adapted seeds.”

Last year’s seed and education garden flourished, producing 13 seed varieties that are now available for sale and planting. Teenagers from Dutchess County Probation, Green Teen Beacon, and River Haven -- a local youth shelter, were intrinsically involved in the seed saving process from planting to packaging. The groups of youth came on a weekly basis, doing the repetitive yet therapeutic work of shelling beans, fermenting tomato seeds, testing for germination rates, and storing seeds in individualized PFP packets. As they worked to contribute to our local food security, they also developed their knowledge and self-sufficiency of how to foster the continuation of locally adapted

 produce. They also built a sense of community among themselves. The grant received from the Clif Bar Foundation goes directly toward this work.

The PFP will also continue to encourage Poughkeepsie youth to increase their consumption of vegetables and fruits, and to be receptive to these items in their school meals. Last year the PFP collaborated with thirteen Poughkeepsie School District educators to bring their students to the farm for experiential lessons on growing, cooking, and eating healthy, locally produced food. We also visited their classrooms to conduct cooking workshops that incorporated local vegetables and fruits. Through our farm visits and workshops, we fostered excitement in the youth specifically about leafy green vegetables.

As a result of our educational programs and connecting farm produce to our local schools, we saw a measured increase in the amount of vegetables eaten during school lunch hours. Specifically, in the classes we worked with, 63% of students ate a full portion of kale at lunchtime, as compared to 8% of students we did not work with in the same schools and 1% of students at a school where we have not provide educational programs (yet!). In response to seeing kale on their lunch trays, students who had not been in our programs often asked, “What is this?” and either tried it hesitatingly, after some encouragement from staff, or avoided it altogether. Many students who had participated in our educational programs reacted with excited anticipation to have kale as part of their meals and frequently asked to have a second portion. While the USDA funded the Farm to School activities in 2013, the Jane W. Nuhn Charitable Trust Grant awarded the PFP $10,000 to support this year’s farm to school programming.

Through these generous funders we continue the momentum of bringing healthy, local produce to our area’s youth.

One warm day can make a world of difference

At the farm, we were just trying to convince ourselves that spring and summer on the horizon.

Our dynamic farm management duo, Leon Vehaba and Jesica Clarke, have completed recruitment of all farm apprentices and interns.  It is a tribute to them that several apprentices and interns have signed on for yet another season but you will also see some ruby-cheeked fresh faces in the fields.  Leon and Jes have done a thorough assessment of our farm machinery prepared the crop plan.  Due to their very careful planning, and many of your helpful suggestions, we have another successful season on tap.

Jamie Levato, Education Manager and Julie DeLuca, Assistant Education Manager, have already started booking the very popular Farm to School classroom visits.  Although the Education Garden is in a state of deep repose, seeds and plants have been ordered for the exquisite spring transformation they engender with the collaboration of interns and volunteers.

Your participation in our growing and vibrant community farm is very important to PFP’s ability to sustain the CSA and to provide a weekly bounty of fresh vegetables to homeless shelters, food banks and transitional housing units.  Whether you are a CSA shareholder or member of the wider Poughkeepsie community we can use your help planning and participating in such events as Open Farm Day on May 10th, the infamous Soup-A-Bowl fundraising event and other activities.  We also always need extra help with planting and harvesting as long as you are fairly spry and able to carefully follow directions.  For more information on 2014 volunteer opportunities please contact

Just hot off the presses we offer the 2014 PFP Member Handbook that can be accessed through   The handbook features several changes this year.  We will have a separate communication well before the season to address any questions so please be patient until we have the opportunity to provide this information.

Lastly, it is my pleasure to welcome Lee Anne Albritton, PFP’s new Executive Director.  Lee Anne has been involved in launching community gardens and offers extensive nonprofit management experience.  I have thoroughly enjoyed serving as Interim Executive Director and thank you for the opportunity to share in the PFP experience.




Growing our Community

Introducing our new Executive Director, Lee Anne Albritton

Dear CSA Members,

On behalf of your PFP Board of Directors, I’m happy to announce that Lee Anne Albritton became our new Executive Director on February 17.

A native of Florida, Lee Anne moved to Manhattan in 1990, then to the mid-Hudson Valley in 1996.  In 2000, she completed her B.A. in Women’s Studies and Education at SUNY New Paltz.  While still a college student, Lee Anne started working with youth and family programs of the YMCA.  She served as Program Director, then Executive Director of the Southern Ulster Branch Y, and most recently she held the position of Childcare and Camping Director of the YMCA of Kingston and Ulster County.  During her 16 years with the Y, Lee Anne successfully developed many healthy lifestyle and enrichment programs for day camps and childcare programs that served close to a thousand youth per year.  She also gained experience in all aspects of non-profit work, including program development, grant writing and awards management, fundraising, fiscal management and budgeting, and staff management.

Recently, Lee Anne has been instrumental in starting several community and school gardens in New Paltz and Kingston that include nutrition and cooking classes, as well as a ¼ acre urban farm that will have a bicycle powered mobile market for Midtown Kingston. 

Lee Anne would like all to know that she “is truly honored and excited by the chance to bring my energy and skills to the Poughkeepsie Farm Project and to build upon its impressive foundation that so many have worked hard to achieve.”

Your Board and Staff are looking forward to working with Lee Anne to further our mission of engaging a diverse community in supporting sustainable agriculture, providing education on farming and food, and improving access to healthy, locally-grown food.  Please join me in welcoming Lee Anne to the PFP. Her PFP email is:

Mark Schlessman, Chair, Board of Directors

Save the Date

Plant Sale and Open Farm Day

The Plant Sale has returned, just in time for Mother's Day!  Come to the Poughkeepsie Farm Project on May 10th and May 17th from 9am-2pm.  We will be selling nearly 100 varieties of vegetables, flowers, herbs, and hanging baskets raised in our greenhouse as well as starts for strawberries, raspberries and asparagus, and beautiful PFP merchandise.  Download our 2014 Plant Sale Guide to see everything we have for sale.  Please bring containers/boxes to put 4 inch pots and plugs into.  (Sorry, we can't accept credit cards-cash or local checks only.)

May 10th is also Open Farm Day, where you can join us on a tour of the farm, meet the staff and board, learn about our programs and activities, and find out how to sign up for shareholder work hours on our new online system.  Our farm managers will also lead a new CSA member orientation at noon.  Don't forget to stop by the Membership Booth to see if you are eligible to receive free plants!

The Poughkeepsie Farm Project is located on the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve at the intersection of Hooker and Raymond Avenues in Poughkeepsie, New York.  Follow the driveway down past the red barn to the parking lot.

Proceeds from the Plant Sale support upgrades to the farm operation and equipment.  Proceeds from merchandise sales and membership donations support our education and food access programs.

Plant Sale Guide 2014.pdf223.15 KB

Summer Institute: Using Gardens to Teach

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 8:30pm - Friday, August 8, 2014 - 4:30pm

As part of the Growing City Seeds project to develop gardens as centers of learning and to support gardeners and educators with workshops and technical assistance, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies is collaborating with the Poughkeepsie Farm Project and other organizations to offer professional development workshops designed to help educators integrate gardens into their teaching.

Join the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and the Poughkeepsie Farm Project for three days of hands-on learning on how to integrate gardens in the classroom. We will cover topics including math, science, literacy, and nutrition, as well as build our own knowledge about the benefits of sustainable agriculture and ecological gardening principals. (21 professional development hours).

For more information, please click here.

Composting for the Home and Community Gardener

Thursday, July 17, 2014 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Composting for the Home and Community Gardener 
At the Adriance Memorial Library (in the Charwat Room)
93 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, NY
As part of the PFP's workshop series on growing, preparing, and preserving food, we invite you to a hands-on composting workshop led by Cornell Cooperative Master Gardener volunteers. Workshop participants will learn about the types of compost systems, the advantages and disadvantages of each system and how to determine which system would work best for them. They will also learn about vermicomposting (composting with worms) and will make their own vermicomposting kits to take home. There will be information available about opportunities to help out with school garden projects in the community. Registration opens July 1st. To register, please call the Adriance Memorial Library at 845-485-3445 or register online at


Featured Vegetable and Recipes


Beets can be eaten raw, roasted, steamed, grilled, boiled, and baked. They are, of course, the featured vegetable in borscht, and they star in all kinds of salads. The tasty greens can be used in all the ways spinach and chard are. Fresh beets keep well for weeks in the refrigerator in a paper or perforated plastic bag. The greens can also be stored in a plastic bag, but only for a few days at most. Cooked beets keep for a week in the refrigerator.

Regardless of how you cook them, be sure to leave the tail, skin, and at least an inch of the stems attached to keep the valuable juices locked inside. Beets are easier to peel after they're cooked, so just scrub them and cook them with their skins on.


Both filling and nutritious, the beet is a great source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and folate. Most of the calories in beets (though there aren’t many) derive from beet sugars, but unlike table sugar or corn syrup sugars, vegetable sugars are healthier and add heartiness to any dish. Furthermore, the small percentage of fat in beets consist solely of healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fats are essential to our bodily functions, but our body cannot produce them. These fatty acids aid in metabolism, prevent blood clotting, and lower risks of heart disease and cancer. Similarly, antioxidants in the pigments of beets are proven to help prevent heart attack and stroke, lower cholesterol, and have anti-aging effects. Even the beet greens are edible, and a great source of antioxidants and vitamin A (which is vital for good vision).

Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison (New York: Broadway Books, 1997).  

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Beets and Garlic with Rosemary



My friend Adrienne

Prep time10 minutes


Delicious recipe that can use any root vegetable and Brussels sprouts. My kids love it!


2cbrussels sprouts (washed and cut into halves or quarters)
1bnbeets (trimmed, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces)
1 garlic (whole head of garlic, with base cut off)
2Tolive oil (enough to coat all vegetables lightly)
2Tdried rosemary
1tkosher salt
4dsbalsamic vinegar (or more to taste)


Preheat oven to 400.

Prepare all the vegetables and place in a low roasting pan or cookie sheet, add olive oil, salt and rosemary and toss to coat with your hands.  Place the whole head of garlic, unpeeled but with the base cut off into the pan with the vegetables.  

Put into the oven for 35-45 minutes, checking at 35 minutes and stirring to re-coat vegetables if they aren't quite done.  Sprouts will turn brown at the edges and red from the beets.  Remove when vegetables are finished and cover the vegetables and set aside.  Remove the head of garlic to cool for 5 minutes or until you can handle it.  When you can, squeeze the roasted garlic out of the head onto your vegetables and stir, adding dashes of balsamic vinegar.   (If you prefer, you can add peeled cloves to the vegetables and roast, but then the garlic isn't infused into the dish, it is hunks in the dish -but still delicious!)

Serve hot!





 I have made this recipe with carrots, sweet potatoes, fennel, and parsnips.  It is good any old way.  My son loves this dish so much he asks for it.  The beets are a nice compliment to the more bitter sprouts.  And the garlic and balsamic really knock them over the top.

Green Leaf Salad with Roasted Beets and Potatoes


Prep time5 minutes


Hearty salad with beets and potatoes


2 lettuce (heads lettuce (red or green leaf))
1 1⁄2Twhite wine vinegar
1⁄4tdijon mustard
1⁄4colive oil (plus 2 tablespoons)
1clvgarlic (minced)
  salt and pepper (to taste)


 Heat oven to 425 with oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Toss potatoes and beets in olive oil, salt and pepper and spread them out evenly on a baking sheet. When oven is to temperature put sheet in the oven and roast vegetables, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes.Meanwhile, wash and chop the lettuce. Mix all dressing ingredients in a separate bowl. When potatoes and beets are done, toss them in a large bowl with the lettuce. You can serve the salad warm with the potatoes and beets warm, or set these aside to cool for a cold salad. Pour dressing over the salad, and toss immediately before serving.

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