Thursday, December 9, 2010

Terra Madre thoughts and images

In October, we announced a third delegation of Catskills farm and food producers was selected to attend Terra Madre, an event held biannually in Turin, Italy. Over 6,000 delegates from over 150 countries participated in workshops, tastings, regional meetings and a marketplace of sustainably produced foods. Slow Food organizes the event and selects delegates for sponsorship.

In selecting this year's delegation, we called upon the twelve past delegates to nominate and select peers they felt would most benefit from the experience. The group did an excellent job selecting a diverse group from three counties in the region including Paula Allen of Thornwood Farm, Kendall Craig of the Masonville General Store, Sonja Hedlund of Apple Pond Farm, Marybeth Mills of the Peekamoose Restaurant and Tap Room and Mary Tonjes of Tonjes Farm Dairy.

Delegates shared the following thoughts and images for us to share with the Pure Catskills community.

Catskills delegates Paula Allen (fourth from left) and Kendall Craig (second from left) gather with fellow producers outside Terra Madre.

“As I stepped off the bus, the realization sank in, what an immense undertaking to nurture and coordinate such an event. And people the world over had responded, showing up, standing together in common-unity for a positive declaration of good, clean and fair food. People had journeyed long and far, proudly representing their regions and sharing their wares at this global, yet intimate convergence. It is a powerful thing to witness and recognize, the potential of looking forward together in this good way. Living on the ‘frontier’ of rural New York has an element of isolation, so the sheer numbers of Terra Madre is a memory that will sustain me.”
Kendal Craig – Masonville General Store, Masonville

Panelists including Alice Waters discuss Farm to School projects. Photo by Marybeth Mills.

“We attended a seminar, geared towards the educators in attendance - about living and teaching the principles of the Slow Food movement. Teachers from around the globe got up and shared their stories about how to bring this manifesto to life for their students. Many of these dedicated professionals told amazing stories about their commitment to interacting with children - helping the children learn about their cultural roots in food production. Many of the students in their classrooms heralded from different regional groups within their country. Since we've been back, Devin and I have visited Phoenicia Elementary School and have spent the day in their 'Community Garden' - their very own edible schoolyard. Each grade was asked to come in and harvest crops for us to cook. The children would bring their bounty to Devin, wash it, and Devin would prepare salads, grilled vegetables, soups for the children to sample. We were even impressed with how many children were excited about a kale salad - not often considered an exciting vegetable - at least from the under 10 year-old crowd.”
Marybeth Mills - The Peekamoose Restaurant and Tap Room, Big Indian

Ah, variety! A display of Italian cheeses. Photo by Marybeth Mills.

“A special encounter with young American farmers and old farmers (like me!) was organized by Slow Food USA. About 100 new farmers gathered for small group sessions. . Twelve of us old timers from all over the USA had a chance to describe their farms, what worked and did not I was the only farmer that had expanded into on farm renewable energy systems. My suggestion to the new farmers was to make personal pleasure and play a regular day of their farm work.”
Sonja Hedlund - Apple Pond Farm, Callicoon Center

A decorative fruit carving in the Salone de Gusto. Photo by Kendal Craig.

A display of Italian peppers in the Salone de Gusto. Photo by Kendal Craig.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Scholarship recipients announced

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the latest round of our Education Scholarship Program. These awards are offered to Pure Catskills members on a competitive basis for educational expenses related to developing new products or improving production methods. The average award is $350 with funding offered to cover registration and travel expenses. Program details are available at the Scholarships & Grants section of our main webpage.

Paula Allen
Thornwood Farm
2010 Annual Conference, American Livestock Breeds Conservancy

Brett Budde
Majestic Farm
Young Farmers’ Conference, Stone Barns Center

Mark Harvey
Good Fields Farm
Nutrient Dense Crop Production Training

Terry Hannum
Abundance Farms
2011 Annual Conference, Northeast Organic Farmer's Association of New York

Joseph Lennon
Sullivan County Farmers’ Market Association
Profession Farmers’ Market Manager Training Program, Farmers’ Market Federation of New York

Loren Pola
Rusty Plough Farm
Online Courses for Beginning Farmers: Financial Record Keeping and Evaluating Land Resources, Cornell University Small Farms Program

Michelle Premura
Turquoise Barn
2011 Annual Conference, Northeast Organic Farmers Association of New York

Abby Wilson
Maple Shade Farm
Annual Conference and Convention, North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association