The Phillies Bridge Farm Project

March 11, 2019

FOOD JUSTICE & EDUCATION

 

The Phillies Bridge Farm Project is the oldest non-profit CSA in the Hudson Valley, but it’s mission is much broader. “We consider every healthy nutritious meal that reaches food insecure people to be a victory,” said Brian Obach, Co-President.  Food justice and education programs are at the heart of their Projects. “We produce healthy food grown using ecologically sound methods, and at the same time we seek to educate people and build community.”

 

The Cornell Cooperative Extension Nutrition Program offers several varieties of cooking and nutrition education workshops in the area. For those with limited income FREE nutrition education classes are offered through the ESNY (Eat Smart New York) and EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program) federally funded grant programs. Sessions include a series of 6-8 one hour classes at agencies/schools throughout the Hudson Valley.

 

Topics include cooking and planning low cost meals, smart food shopping, food safety and reading food labels. Goals of the programs include increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, decreasing sugary beverage consumption and attention to caloric balance and physical activity.  Thanks to a grant from Hudson Valley Community Foundations, the farm provides the produce for these programs at no cost.

 

Ulster County Healthy Families brings their program participants to the farm for a graduation day festivities. Participants tour the farm and garden and then help to harvest the tomatoes, squash, beets, radishes and greens.  Last summer, the bounty was used to create salsas, zucchini muffins and a Greek salad for everyone to sample.

“Phillies Bridge Farm is a model of what our food system could look like. We produce healthy food grown using ecologically sound methods, and at the same time, we seek to educate people and build community.  Everyone eats, so farms serve as great places where people can come together,” said Obach.

 

There is always something happening at the Farm!  Some of the one day adult workshops for 2019 include container gardening, the  sustainable agriculture movement, food preservation, sip and paint, painting landscapes, flower arranging and basket making.  Most workshops have only a nominal fee or donation request which helps to support the Farm.

During the spring and fall the Farm is bustling with festivals which include food and craft vendors, farm animals and hidden treasures for the kids to find along the nature trails.  SUNY New Paltz and Vassar students also visit the Farm with their professors.  Art students come for landscape painting lessons, while environmental study scholars learn about sustainable agriculture, and English As A Second Language (ESL) students are exposed to our country’s best farming practices.

 

GIVE YOUR KIDS A CHANCE TO DANCE IN THE RAIN

 

If your child would love to grow crystals, do some solar cooking and dance in the rain, Phillies Bridge Farm in Gardiner is the perfect Summer Camp!

 

The Phillies Bridge Farm and Steam Summer Camp offers an experience that combines the peaceful and grounding feeling of being on a farm with educational and creative play.  Our goal is to help children from all walks of life understand the importance of sustainable life practices while building and developing their own sense of character.  Each of the four summer sessions combine STEAM elements (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) with an emphasis on fun, farming and learning.

The camp hosts children ages 4 to 12, and according to camp director Jazmine Langlitz, only around 70 percent of the campers are local. Other campers come from the New York City metropolitan area, staying overnight with family members who live or are vacationing in the mid-Hudson.

 

There is a farm full of animals to explore, a discovery garden with edible goodies, and a 1.5 mile nature trail meandering through 60 wooded acres. Session 1 is aptly named DOWN TO EARTH and the children will be getting down and dirty.  They will learn about the ground that supports and sustains Phillies Bridge Farm. The children will be measuring garden beds, planting seeds, constructing an earth battery, growing crystals and learning about composting. 

Session 2, UP WITH THE CHICKENS, will appeal to the kids who love animals and wildlife including birds, bugs and amphibians.  They will explore different breeds of chickens and goats while helping the staff with feeding, watering and cleaning the pens.  Animal experts will be on hand to oversee experiments and games.  Session 3, GREEN FINGERS, is perfect for the garden lovers.  The campers will learn about plants and what it takes to keep them safe from pests and thriving in nasty weather.  There will be hydroponic growing and seed sprouting activities, and each child will start their own seedlings to bring home.  The art component will include flower pressing and pokeberry ink creations.

 

The final Session, BUNDLES OF ENERGY, will explore the kinds of energy that keep a farm moving, from sunlight to wind to water and how animals and plants take part in energy processes.  Pinwheels, circuitry and solar cooking are a few examples of the fun projects and art included in this session.

The Creative Arts are included in every session. In past summers there have been talent shows, rain dances, and animal weddings!  Inside the goat pen, the campers built a wedding arch out of sticks and vines that they found on the nature trail. They then performed a romantic marriage ceremony between Eleanor and Paul, two goats who seemed to be very much in love!  The goats were attired in farm finery and shared a carrot instead of a kiss.  Parents are also thrilled to have their campers bring home handmade presents such as kaleidoscopes and battery light-up cards.

 

A thriving subsidized CSA, a magical summer camp, and engaging workshops all include food justice as their underlying theme.  This is the heart of the Phillies Bridge Farm Project.

 

PHILLIES BRIDGE FARM PROJECT

45 Phillies Bridge Road

New Paltz, NY

Phone: (845) 256-9108

 

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