GLYNWOOD APPRENTICES SHOW PASSION FOR HUDSON VALLEY FARMING
“People in the Hudson Valley have a strong sense of place. They adore the views, the hiking, the food and the landscape. Agriculture is an important part of the landscape, and it’s not taken for granted. People here understand that they need to support their local farms, and they enjoy spending time on the farm because it helps them feel connected to the natural world,” said Dave Llewellyn, Director of Farm Stewardship at Glynwood.
Glynwood, a non-profit organization, supports food and farming professionals across the Hudson Valley. Guided by the highest standards of ecosystem, soil, animal and community
well-being, Glynwood is a teaching venue for aspiring farmers and a testbed for regenerative agricultural practices. Located in Cold Spring, NY, the farm sits on 225 acres in the middle of Fahnestock State Park.
Glynwood's mission is to save farming by strengthening farm communities and regional food systems. The farm is Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) for the rearing of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and layer hens. Their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program feeds more than 150 local families, and subsidized CSA shares are available, plus SNAP is accepted. Glynwood also donates excess produce to local food pantries and school cafeterias.
To assist with their mission, each year Glynwood welcomes six apprentices to their farm. In addition to hands-on experience, including formal training in the safe operation of farm machinery, the apprentices complete a comprehensive classroom curriculum geared towards farm management. There are classes designed by Holistic Management International which empowers farmers with the knowledge of regenerative agricultural practices that help them heal the land, strengthen their business and improve the quality of life for all of us. This summer Dr. Tatiana Stanton from the Department of Animal Science at Cornell, will be a guest lecturer. Seasoned farmers are invited to speak on budgeting and the overall economics of owning and operating a farm.
Glynwood apprentices are provided with a private room in one of the farm houses on the property, a $450 weekly stipend and workers compensation insurance. Since there is no charge to the apprentices for their education or housing, the program is supplemented by participation in the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT), which is a model for sharing complementary farm training with participating farms. Apprentices visit host farms for a tour, talk or demonstration on a specific topic. This provides exposure to a number of diverse farm enterprises and the opportunity to develop practical skills and network with other farmers. Examples of upcoming classes include: Greenhouse Management; Starting & Managing a Raw Milk Dairy; and Beekeeping.
The apprentice program began in 2007, and Glynwood has trained 40 aspiring farmers. The current six apprentices range in age from 26-30 years old, all are college educated, and most are 1st generation farmers. Dominique Mailloux came to Glynwood from coastal Los Angeles and is a rare second generation farmer. “I chose this apprenticeship to gain hard technical skills like tractor work and small machine maintenance. Glynwood has a great reputation of bringing in fabulous teachers and conducting relevant workshops,” said Mailloux.
Glynwood offers both vegetable and livestock apprenticeships. From March through November, three apprentices assist in all aspects of production for the six acres of organic vegetables that are distributed mostly through the CSA. One season of previous experience on a vegetable farm is required to be admitted to the program. The vegetable operations grows more than 40 varieties of vegetables across six cultivated acres of farmland. All produce is USDA Certified Organic, prohibiting the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, as well as requiring a holistic approach to land stewardship and transparency. “Meeting other local farmers, understanding the challenges of vegetable farming in the Hudson Valley, and learning more about farm management are all very important to me,” said Jeremy Teperman, a current vegetable apprentice.
Glynwood raises pastured cattle, goats, sheep, horses, hogs and poultry. From February through December, the three livestock apprentices participate in day-to-day care of the animals as well as monitoring breeding, birthing and care for sick or injured animals. They also assist with on-farm processing of chickens and Thanksgiving turkeys. One season of previous experience on a farm with livestock is required. The apprentices rotationally graze the ruminants and poultry and move them to a fresh pasture every few days, and hogs are allowed ample space to root around in the pastures and woods. The meat goats are used to help control invasive species on the farm and graze many dense, brushy areas. “Sheep are moved to help improve our neighbors' pastures. We clip behind the graze so it grows back more evenly and grass can compete with the weeds,” said Stephanie Pittman, Livestock Assistant.
Seventy percent of Glynwood’s graduates are still involved in farming, and ninety percent continue to be in the food or farming world. Some notable graduates include Sophie Ackoff,
National Field Director with the Young Farmers Coalition, and Daisy Freund, Senior Manager with Farm Animal Welfare/ASPCA. Daisy was instrumental in stopping a large cock fighting ring in New York. “I am inspired by the spirit of the regional food system; it’s such a hopeful thing to contribute to. I am especially moved by new farmers because they bring so much passion,” said Llewellyn.
“Regional farming will strengthen when more farmers see strong business management as an equally important part of their path to sustainability. Many new farmers get involved with sustainable agriculture because it resonates with them philosophically. They are environmentalists, they like the connection to the natural world,” said Llewellyn. Glynwood’s mission is to ensure the Hudson Valley is a region defined by food, where farming thrives.
Visit glynwood.org for a Calendar of Events including picnic days, farm dinners, farm tours, farm market hours and farmer training workshops.