Friday, January 28, 2011

Diggin' the Sullivan County Farm Network

Sonja Hedlund of Apple Pond Farm shares the story behind the recently formed Sullivan County Farm Network with us today. This diverse group of farmers is working to organize the agricultural community in the county through events and advocacy. To learn more about the Network, follow them on Facebook or join in the discussion at the next Delaware Valley Roundtable. The February 3rd meeting of the Roundtable which will focus on agriculture is taking place at the Tusten Town Hall in Narrowsburg from 1 to 4:30 pm.

Farm Network members meet to learn about microcreameries.

A small group of energetic, dedicated farm women got together last spring to promote farming in Sullivan County. They formed the Sullivan County Farm Network. The mission of the Network is to increase farming activities in Sullivan County and strengthen communication between those who grow food and those who eat it.

Projects we have worked on alone and with others include include: FARMSTOCK 2011 agri-tourism program, winter farmers' market in Callicoon, meat producers list, a workshop on setting up a micro dairy, WJFF Radio's new 'Farm and Country' show, database of farmers in the county, 'You are what you eat' workshop, and new farm to school programs in three local schools.

Of equal importance is work to present an agricultural perspective at public meetings on economic development. Attending meetings of IDA/the Industrial Development Authority has resulted in more attention to agricultural issues and to follow through on long awaited projects like the red meat slaughter plant in Liberty. Similar interactions have happened at the newly formed Economic Development Corporation. At the County level, speaking at open meetings of the legislature, the Network has advocated for hiring an ag economic development specialist.

The Network's meetings are now attracting a wide variety of farmers, citizens, not - for profit agencies and those with public sector jobs related to agriculture, tourism and economic development. These may well be the only place in Sullivan where people sit at the same table to address issues related to food and farming.

1 comment: