Helping out at a local farm not only supports the community, it is also a great way to get informed (and excited) about the Hudson Valley’s advancing agricultural scene. Heck, you may even start a new summer tradition.
The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Pocantico Hills
Stone Barns, a nonprofit organization aimed at creating a healthy and sustainable food system, considers education and stewardship to be the cornerstones of its operation. Volunteer opportunities include: assisting in the 22,000-square-foot greenhouse production by cleaning, weeding, and harvesting; working alongside the garden manager to engage in landscaping or terrace gardening; helping out in the visitor center; or lending a hand in the mobile kitchen classroom to educate students on how to prepare food. (www.stonebarnscenter.org)
Glynwood, Cold Spring
If you’re interested in learning more about where your food comes from, check out Glynwood Farm in Cold Spring. An agricultural nonprofit organization, Glynwood works to distinguish the Hudson Valley as a region defined by food by building networks around area producers, community members, and culinary professionals. The site offers regular workshops for agricultural entrepreneurs, drop-in tours for anyone interested in a day’s worth of learning, and seasonal volunteer opportunities. Get hands-on in their pasture-raised livestock program by participating in activities like egg collecting or feeding and watering animals, or work to transplant seedlings, weed, harvest, and pack produce as part of the veggie crew. (www.glynwood.org)
Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Poughkeepsie
Based on a member-supported farm in Vassar College’s Ecological Preserve, Poughkeepsie Farm Project (PFP) offers educational programs for both future farmers and visitors of all ages. Signing up to volunteer can entail joining the education team to become a youth educator, or organizing and helping out at any of the numerous community-developing events PFP facilitates. If you do feel comfortable mucking up your boots, PFP can use a hand in the fields, too: The organization runs a successful CSA and can always use help with farm chores like harvesting or weeding. (farmproject.org)