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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

The Sustainability Advocates: Creating Food Security, Educating Farmers, Building Community

Gynwood volunteer helping with chickens

A big reason Hudson Valley’s small farmers have been so successful is the variety of local organizations that advocate for them. Whether it’s the one-on-one farmer training at Glynwood, the visitor-friendly atmosphere at historic Hilltop Hanover Farm, or the community garden and workshops run by Roots and Wings, there are local resources for anyone who wants to support sustainable farming, either as a consumer or a producer. As a result, everyone wins: farmers, families and communities.

Glynwood, Cold Spring, NY

Dave Llewellyn, Glynwood's  Director of Farmer Training, with apprentice at farm in Cold Spring
Dave Llewellyn, Glynwood's Director of Farmer Training, with apprentice at farm in Cold Spring
The mission of Glynwood is to ensure that farming thrives in the Hudson Valley. The nonprofit approaches that mission through farming, training farmers, promoting regional food, and collaborating with other organizations to realize its vision of a Hudson Valley defined by food—a place where farmers prosper, food entrepreneurs succeed, residents are nourished and visitors are inspired.

Farmer training at Glynwood is a hands-on, personal process. Each year, three vegetable and two livestock apprentices are invited to the Glynwood in Cold Spring, NY, to learn soil science, composting, welding, draft horsemanship, rotational grazing, cover cropping, marketing and other skills, with options for certification.

Glynwood also oversees the Hudson Valley Farm Business Incubator, one of the region’s premier training programs for aspiring farmers. Located on 323 acres owned by Mohonk Preserve in New Paltz, NY, the incubator provides agricultural entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to develop and manage a sustainable farm. Upon completion of the program, participants are helped to secure permanent land where they can continue to build their businesses independently.  

In response to the increasing number of farmer-training services across the region, Glynwood founded the Hudson Valley Farmer Training Network in 2013 to improve communication, collaboration and synergy among them. Glynwood also participates in the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT), a model for complementary farm training in collaboration with participating farms.

Glynwood also hosts farm dinners and guided Tour & Tastings as a way to connect surrounding communities with the place where their food is grown. Upcoming farm dinners will be held July 10, August 1, October 16 and November 14. Tour & Tastings originate at the farm store and include samplings of locally sourced or house-made food products. Upcoming dates are July 7, August 8 and October 10.

Info:;  Office: 845.265.3338 ext. 102


Hilltop Hanover Farm, Yorktown Heights, NY

Farm stand at Hilltop Hanover Farm
Farm stand at Hilltop Hanover Farm
Visitors regularly flock to northern Westchester to enjoy the natural beauty of Hilltop Hanover Farm (HHF), which dates from the 1600s. Now a 187-acre tract that includes an environmental center, the farm is owned by Westchester County but operated by the volunteer group Friends of Hilltop Hanover Farm. Both the farm staff and volunteers pledge not to use any pesticides, herbicides or synthesized fertilizers.

The farm is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the HHF farm stand is open Fridays from 1 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Saturdays, the farm’s You Pick It program allows consumers to pick designated vegetables and flowers. A full stock of vegetables is always available at the farm stand.

Visitors who come to HHF to stock up on fresh produce can also meet the resident cows, chickens and baby goats, have a picnic on site, or hike the trails. (Hiking maps are available in the main office.) Guided tours of the farm are usually available on the weekends.

HHF offers workshops and educational classes throughout the summer, including a new homestead series, which teaches people things they can do at home to increase food independence and peace of mind by closing the gap between themselves, their food and the land. The next workshops in the series are “Backyard Greenhouse” on July 19 and “Seed Saving” on August 16. On July 18, HHF will also host a special workshop, “Preserving the Harvest: Pickles,” from 2 to 4 p.m.

Info:;  Office: 423.962.2368


Roots and Wings, Dobbs Ferry, NY

Roots and Wings’ Kitchen Garden
Roots and Wings’ Kitchen Garden
From its community garden to its permaculture presentations, Roots and Wings—the green living initiative of South Church in Dobbs Ferry, NY—advocates for sustainability of the individual as well as the earth. Its educational programs, which are open to the public, teach people how to feed their bodies, regenerate the environment and nourish their spirits.  

An upcoming Roots and Wings workshop is “Composting is EZ,” which will be offered July 16 and 30 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Kitchen Garden, located behind South Church at 343 Broadway. (The July 30 workshop is geared for apartment dwellers.) The workshop leader is Elisa Zazzera, manager of the Hastings/Stoneledge Farm CSA group. She has been involved in sustainability projects and environmental activism in the Hudson River villages as well as India and Nepal.

Zazzera will teach participants to turn food scraps into “black gold” for their garden, yard and houseplants—saving money and the earth in the process. “In each hands-on demonstration, we will look a bit into the biology of compositing,” she says. “But mostly we'll answer people’s questions and discuss issues they may be having with composting.” She will also discuss alternatives to the backyard bin, such as vermicomposting, kobashi and possibly finding places to take compostables. For information and registration, visit

The Kitchen Garden is Roots and Wings’ first community garden, and it's different than most. It has six private plots as well as common garden space where food is grown for the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry.

All are welcome at the Kitchen Garden—regulars, first-timers and one-timers. Community gardening times are Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon and Wednesdays from 5 to 6 p.m. Gardeners there share tools, know-how, compost bins, veggies and laughs—learning from each other and putting into practice the old saying “Many hands make light work.”