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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

The Fellowship Community, Focused on Elder Care, is Accepting New Members

The Fellowship Community

The Fellowship Community—a work-based, intergenerational community centered on the care of the elderly—is accepting applications for new members. Approximately 140 elder members, co-workers and their children currently live and work together there in rural Rockland County, where they grow as much of their own food as possible on a biodynamic farm.

“It is a place for people who are interested in self-development, by working and learning in service to others and caring for the earth,” says Tari Steinrueck, co-administrator of the Fellowship Community.

Founded in 1966 by Ann and Paul Scharff, the Fellowship Community sits on more than 20 acres of farm, woods and orchards. It serves the needs of elder members through all phases of aging, from independent living apartments to more direct help, surrounding and supporting them with a more human approach to elder care. 

The Fellowship Community owns Duryea Farm Diary, whose 10 Jersey cows constitute the last remaining dairy herd in Rockland County. ​It supplies the Hilltop House kitchens with pasteurized milk and cheeses. The community also raises sheep, chickens and honeybees; grows 10 acres of vegetables; maintains 30 acres of pasture and hay fields; and grows herbs, flowers, berries and grapes. ​ 

“Here we offer ample opportunities for an individual to be actively involved in real work until this becomes impossible,” Steinrueck says. “Some members volunteer occasionally within the community, and others make a daily or weekly commitment to community activities like gardening, cooking or creating in our workshops, including the pottery studio and the weavery. Those who are no longer capable of engaging actively in work are able to participate simply by being present, as these activities are always going on in their midst.”

In spring 2020, a fire destroyed Pine Lodge, which held some residential quarters, guest accommodations and a weavery. While no one was injured, the building was a total loss, Steinrueck says. After many donations and hard work, the community is now rebuilding, with an expected completion time of summer 2023.

For more info, call 845.356.8494 Ext. 2 or visit