Happy Autumn! Tori and I took a walk in the woods today. We have an 800’ mountain at the side of the house that comprises most of our land. She is moody and beautiful, her trees constantly giving up their wood to the land. The paths are covered in branches after every storm. This rainy day is no different. Tori and I scale the trail up to the first switchback with ease marveling at the difference in our stamina since spring. I realize I have never been up the mountain when the trees have all their leaves. I almost missed this wonderland. We are assessing the changes since Hurricane Ida. Our regularly flowing stream that feeds our pond and travels under the driveway to our farmland opened up from three feet to six feet with Ida. Thankfully, when the water hit Duell Hollow it flowed down to 55 instead of crossing the road and flooding our herb beds and greenhouses.
We have a breather here since our successful GoFundMe campaign. I paid the taxes, and we look to get ahead of the Spring taxes. We consider renting out the rooms of the house. Another long-term option we are considering is to offer retreat space to organizations for an annual fee. Although we are a non-profit, the town of Dover refuses to take the taxes off the property. We did finally get the full form request this year as well as met with the Board of Review which we plan to do annually. I will be in my third-year next year of a five year plan as Executive Director for A Farm for All. I started out as a volunteer in 2017 needing greenhouse space in exchange for organizing the office. Drawn to the land and having been a farm partner with Ben for thirteen years, I fell in love with the project and am happy to offer my support. I am a gardener (herbs & vegetables), so A Farm for All is my venture into big land. It’s also an advancement of my non-profit work having been Treasurer for the Beacon Sloop Club for seven years prior. One never knows what one can get up to.....
In line with our mission Jaime Ramirez and Hercilia Romero, Guatemalan immigrants who reside in Wingdale visited us asking to use the land and our greenhouse to grow vegetables and flowers. We have given them a six-month trial with lease conversation in December.
Thank you everyone who donated to our GoFundMe campaign! We reached our goal and can now focus on what’s next on the property. Our work is ongoing so if you can support us, donations are gratefully accepted at paypal.me/afarmforall. Paper checks or money orders made out to “A Farm for All!” can be sent USPS to 295 Duell Hollow Rd, Wingdale, NY 12594. Thank you!
The barn work continues, we received a grant from Berkshire Taconic (www.berkshiretaconic.org), so the next step is to install walls to stabilize the original stone foundation that is crumbling. Stone mason work is so impressive – no mortar and it has lasted 200 years! The problem now is not necessarily the wall , but the size of the modern trucks that come thundering past the barn on Duell Hollow Road.
Donna Coane of Spirit of Thunderheart (Spirit of Thunderheart), our resident indigenous elder, will be holding Autumn Equinox from her Mohawk tradition October 30th. Come join us!
Nicole N’Diaye of NAHE Farms (www.naheus.com/) is our hemp partner and has been in partnership with us over the past two years. She has placed us on her license as a test and education site for CBD. She joined us at our herb distribution in the Bronx back in June and we had a great conversation about next steps for our work together. In September, we visited her site in Sloansville, NY to offer support and advice. Nicole has ten acres at Corbin Hill’s (https://corbinhill-foodproject.org/) 90 acre upstate farm. It turned out to be a wonderful retreat for us here at A Farm for All as well as our growing network of farmers. Our most underserved community – Black farmers – have grown to the point where a network of black farmers through Dutchess, Columbia and Albany counties is forming. We look to develop a support network for black farmers.
Our latest partnership is with Amanda Longo of The Connecticut Center for Immigrants. Amanda brought us Eternal Prana (Eternal Prana) in August, a wellness weekend filled with yoga, herb walks and music. It was a magical weekend and we are excited to make it an annual event. Consider A Farm for All for your event or retreat. The main house has three bedrooms that hold groups of 5 - 8 people. We also have three campsites that can hold 12 – 24 people.
Our women’s cooperative in Honduras is learning record keeping and how to develop a budget so that we can better understand their needs. Stay tuned for next steps for this now six-year-old project. Please see our donation info above and mark your donation “Women’s Cooperative.” With the help of White Pine Community farm, who grows herbs for us, we have distributed free herbs to our three sites this season: Padre Plaza Community Garden in the Bronx, Sun Health Clinic in Amenia and Victory Bus in Germantown. We receive a grant annually to support the work. White Pine attended the Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival this season. Our herbs were a big hit. White Pine’s subsidiary is Sharon Mountain Greens, which is a
microgreens operation serving grocery stores, hospitals and restaurants. Sharon Mountain Greens has taken a hit through the pandemic, but now can be found at the Kent Farmer’s Market.
Twin Star Herbal Education’s (www.twinstartribe.com) Seed to Market Herbal Training which runs from March to November winds down. Twin Star is our longstanding partnership now running at White Pine Community Farm for six years. Twin Star students have provided us with volunteer hours as well as advertising for A Farm for All.
Happy Autumn! Time for the high holidays which begin on Halloween for me and our deep dive into the darkest nights of the year. Enjoy the stillness and this reflective time of year.
Sarah Elisabeth, director