PFP Seeks Green Jobs Interns

Poughkeepsie Farm Project Seeks Applicants for Green Jobs Internships.

Poughkeepsie Farm Project is a farm-based non-profit organization committed to cultivating a just and sustainable food system in the Mid-Hudson Valley. On our member-supported farm in the City of Poughkeepsie, we grow fresh vegetables and fruit for our CSA, train future farmers, provide hands-on educational programs, and improve access to healthy locally-grown food.

General Information
Poughkeepsie Farm Project's Green Jobs Internship Program provides interns with the foundational knowledge to pursue a career in urban agriculture and farm education. Over the last 15 years, more than 60 alumni have completed our training programs. Our interns work on a 15-acre farm with PFP staff to grow over 200 varieties of vegetables, herbs, and fruit. We provide food for a nearly 600 member CSA and to several local institutions while contributing to Poughkeepsie Farm Project’s larger mission of working toward a just and sustainable food system in the Hudson Valley. PFP’s numerous education programs reach several thousand children, teens, and adults each year.

Who we invite to apply
We seek dependable, good-natured individuals with active interests in food, farming, and working with children. Applicants should have good communication skills, the ability to take initiative, and the desire to be part of an active farm community. Applicants should be able to comfortably lift 25 pounds and engage in repetitive work, in all weather conditions. Applicants MUST be City of Poughkeepsie residents aged 17 to 24 or Poughkeepsie High School students to be eligible for this internship.

Educational Benefits and Compensation

Both paid and unpaid internships are available. Applicants with more experience in farming, gardening, and/or teaching will be considered for the paid internships. Over the course of the season, interns will develop skills in a wide range of farming and teaching tasks including:

  • Greenhouse seeding and maintenance

  • Transplanting and farm bed preparation

  • Crop management, pest control, and irrigation

  • Harvest and CSA distribution set-up

  • Tractor and equipment safety

  • Effective instruction for children

  • Using gardens to teach

  • Building community and developing a conducive learning space

  • Leading cooking workshops for children

Funding for this internship is provided in part by NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Poughkeepsie City School District, NYS OCFS, and Dutchess County Division of Youth Services.

Growers Row: Hey André! Hey Plant Sale!

By Lauren Kaplan, Crew Leader

It’s SPRING… and gosh golly gee do we have some good stuff cookin’ this month.

First, we’re growing our team! Welcome André, who comes to us with a solid farming background, a (much appreciated) eye for detail, and a great big smile. As FoodShare Coordinator, André will be facilitating the donation of thousands of pounds of produce to our 12 FoodShare partners in and around Poughkeepsie. We are so thrilled to have him as part of our team for the 2019 season.

Also we are growing PLANTS. Lots of them. The tunnels are bursting with bright green arugula and mustards, and the greenhouse is finally starting to feel like itself again: the air inside is warm, the seeding table is in regular use, and all available surfaces are quickly filling with flats of seedlings. And some of them could go home with YOU!

That’s right: the next big thing we’ve got cooking is our Plant Sale.

As usual, our plant sale will feature around 100 varieties of starts -- everything from vegetable starts (of course) and potted strawberries to a wide selection of annual and perennial flowers and flowering herbs. Some have medicinal qualities, some are good for tea, some attract bees and butterflies and hummingbirds, and some (sunflowers! echinacea! rudbeckia!) are just plain pretty. We’ve tweaked our list this year, and will have some exciting new varieties.

Unlike past years, however, this year’s event is more than just a plant sale. This year, to mark 20 years (!) of this amazing PFP community, we are having a festival! We hope you’ll come celebrate with us at Farm Fest & Plant Sale, happening Saturdays May 4 & 11 from 9am-3pm.

In addition to the seedlings destined for the plant sale, we’re also starting lots of plants for our own fields. Tomato seedlings are headed to the high tunnel, where they will grow in a protected environment and eventually produce thousands of pounds of red tomatoes for CSA. Leeks and scallions, also destined for CSA, are headed into the fields, which are at the moment too cold and wet to plant into. And the first round of kale and collards, beets and chard, are right behind them.

We’ll be busy this month, clearing out our winter greens after a successful Winter CSA season to make space for incoming high-tunnel tomatoes, seeding up a storm, spreading compost, and even (though it doesn’t feel real on this gray grim end-of-March day) planting in the fields. We hope you’re not so busy that you can’t find a little time to go on a crocus-spotting stroll or splash around in an April shower puddle.

PFP Project Focuses on Environmental Justice Issues in Poughkeepsie

Chef Key leads a cooking workshop at the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory.

Chef Key leads a cooking workshop at the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory.

“So creative, I never thought of putting apples and sweet potatoes in the same dish!” An inspired smile spreads across the face of the woman taste testing. I can feel the excitement too, it bubbles up as I stir a pot full of finely chopped roots and fruit, seasoned with cinnamon and sea salt. There is definitely a warm, loving family energy happening on the black top of the basketball court at Malcolm X Park today. Children are dancing to the DJ’s kid-friendly hip hop, and adults from Scenic Hudson and a local mosque are leading a group on a exploration at the banks of the Fallkill Creek that flows alongside a shaded, grassy hill. MASS Design Group is also present, collecting community input about plans for accessible creekside parks.

That was the scene from last fall’s “Fall in the Park” where I offered a community cooking demonstration that was funded through NYS Department of Environmental Conservations’ Office of Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant. At the heart of environmental justice is the difficult work of ensuring that all voices are included in the making of policies for a healthier environment, particularly those from the most vulnerable communities, low income and people of color, who are disproportionately burdened with the impacts of industrial pollution and contamination. Our goals for the Community Impact Grant are to encourage city residents’ connection to nature, support existing community gardens and school gardens in ecological growing practices and cooking of local produce, as well as to increase the organic matter found in Poughkeepsie’s gardens.

The pursuit of meeting these goals has been such an incredible learning and relationship-building process. We began with Advanced Composting Workshops offered in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County and Nubian Directions II, Inc. Local youth, PFP education staff and interns, as well as a handful of community gardeners took part. We came together before the 2018 growing season to learn the science of soil, and to do real-time soil testing. The workshops were several hours in length, and very intensive. We found that it was not the right fit for the young people taking part. Another moment of learning occurred when I tried to lead a cooking class at the Community Family Development Center on Mill St for families of the children who go there for childcare, and no one showed up. Several CFD staff members, the custodian and I chatted while gnawing on some carrots. Had they encountered this issue before, I asked. Yes was the resounding answer, and as we talked much of our conversation reminded me of the similar struggles I have listened to Poughkeepsie public school teachers name about parent engagement. It was clear: in order to do a better job of connecting city residents to the opportunities that the Community Impact Grant was supporting us to offer, we needed to be much more flexible and responsive. So I, along with Jamie Levato, the Educator Direction, began to brainstorm. How could we reach people with already limited time and energy resources where they already are rather than asking them to stretch to make additional commitments?

Farm-fresh ingredients

Farm-fresh ingredients

Chef Key offers tastes of healthy dishes prepared with produce available at the Free Farm Stand.

Chef Key offers tastes of healthy dishes prepared with produce available at the Free Farm Stand.

Chef Key leads teens in preparing some zucchini fritters.

Chef Key leads teens in preparing some zucchini fritters.

So we shifted focus off hours of content and focused on getting connected to folks where they are living, playing, or already have to go to get basic needs met. Cooking classes at Interfaith Towers senior housing were an absolute hit! Following the popular “Week in Meals” workshop which focused on making fresh foods last and making a delicious Thai Noodle Bowl, I returned in November for “Healthy Holidays” where 26 seniors enjoyed company and conversation while chopping and braising brussel sprouts, parsnip, and carrots to serve with Maple Soy Glazed Turkey Breast. We also started to do cooking demonstrations at events at local parks, housing projects, and schools. This partnership model of community engagement has led to successes like the Malcolm X Park day I described earlier, as well as our attendance at the Boys and Girls Club of Poughkeepsie Day for Kids, a playful outdoor event focusing on health and wellness which reached over 60 children living in the adjacent public housing on Smith Street. At the Morse School’s Thanksgiving celebration, where the entire community of teachers, firefighters, police officers and community leaders come together to feed hundreds of students and their families, I was invited into the school’s cafeteria to prepare fresh Kale and Apple Salad to pass from table to table.

Finally, an ongoing relationship has also evolved with the Dutchess Outreach Free Farm Stand. This free distribution of fresh produce takes place the 3rd Friday of every month. I began tabling each event during the early summer last year and have become a regular fixture at almost every distribution since. Nyhisha Gibbs, Dutchess Outreach Volunteer Administrator always manages to welcome me with a quick hug before she returns to directing the group of about 20 or more volunteers who help create the no-cost pop-up market. Long lines of more than a hundred people form well before the 2:30pm start time. Parents with strollers, seniors with rolling metal carts, and young siblings giggling together all wind their way along the parking lot at North Hamilton and Mill St, adjacent to the Family Partnership Center or, in cool weather months, stretch down the block from the Poughkeepsie Trolley Barn. There’s different produce each Free Farm Stand, so each session I create a new, creative dish to offer based on the available veggies. Greek Cucumber and Tomato Salad; Stir Fry of Snow Peas, Broccoli and Carrots; and Spinach Pasta Primavera were some of the dishes sampled by people while they waited in line for food. The Free Farm Stand radically transforms the experience of visiting a food pantry into a bustling, warm neighborhood gathering, and PFP fits right in. What a joy to fill the air with the smell of sauteing onions and chat about experimenting with familiar foods in new ways!

Teen interns get their peers excited about kale salad at Dutchess Outreach's Mobile Fresh Market.

Teen interns get their peers excited about kale salad at Dutchess Outreach's Mobile Fresh Market.

Bintou Hinds, Jamie Levato, and Ozie Williams distribute produce at Dutchess Outreach's Free Farm Stand. Photo credit: Sean Hemmerle

Bintou Hinds, Jamie Levato, and Ozie Williams distribute produce at Dutchess Outreach's Free Farm Stand. Photo credit: Sean Hemmerle

PFP interns, Alyssa, Kitana, Zoe and Olivia offer tastes of fresh curdito at the Poughkeepsie Healthy Black and Latinx Coalition's Hispanic Heritage Festival.

PFP interns, Alyssa, Kitana, Zoe and Olivia offer tastes of fresh curdito at the Poughkeepsie Healthy Black and Latinx Coalition's Hispanic Heritage Festival.

With the weather warming up, I’m packing up more PFP produce for spring cooking workshops being held at Adriance Library, Family Services, Early Learning Center and Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory. Along with the team of educators staffing our afterschool programs in all 4 elementary schools, plus the middle and high schools, the DEC EJ grant will allow us to make permanent material updates to school gardens, improving their capacity as educational spaces. While environmental justice issues are a part of the many challenges Poughkeepsie residents face along with economic injustice and complex systemic social problems, these experiences have taught me that it can be a powerful and fun experience to cooperatively create a healthier, more just Poughkeepsie.

Chef Key and Chef Dave lead cooking workshops for teens at Poughkeepsie High School.

Chef Key and Chef Dave lead cooking workshops for teens at Poughkeepsie High School.

May Share Madness

Have you got the winter blues (and grays and browns)? Are you keening for some fresh greens?

Lettuce invite you to join May Share! Get your hands on the first crisp and tender greenstuffs to come out of the field! The first spring harvest of the season includes lots of fresh arugula and baby mustards, head lettuce, sweet (not spicy) red radishes and Hakurei salad turnips, as well as tart bright stalks of rhubarb and a few other surprises. Here are the details:

What: May Share! Two Tuesdays of around ten different spring-harvested crops for $62
When: Tuesdays May 21 & 28, 3:00-6:30pm
Where: Pickup at the farm (51 Vassar Farm Lane, Poughkeepsie, NY, 12603)

It’s also a great time to sign up for the main season CSA. Learn more, sign up, or stop by Farm Fest & Plant Sale for a CSA Q&A and guided farm tour!


Grower’s Row: Marching In Like A Lion

By Lauren Kaplan

The month may be off to a predictably cold start. But if the proverb proves true, the next four weeks will usher in some lamb-like weather. This means it’s time for us, the farmers, to start shepherding our fledgling crops.

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In the first few weeks of March, we’ll be transitioning our greenhouse space -- which for much of the last few months has served as our winter wash station for high-tunnel greens and storage roots -- back to a nursery. Soon, the tables which now stand empty will be overflowing with trays of seedlings. Sprouts of all kinds -- everything from tomatoes destined for the high tunnels to perennial flowers, herbs, and vegetable starts for our Plant Sale -- will cover every available sunlit surface. They will be demanding water at all hours of the day, as their little cells dry out, as well as the opening and closing of doors to keep them warm (but not-too-hot). Tens of thousands of little lives we’ll have, every one eager to gather sun and spread their roots, to stretch their stems and swell their fruits. It will be chaos: glorious, riotous leafy-green chaos… and a welcome change from the gray quietude of winter.

Leon spreading compost

Leon spreading compost

March is also a time, as the soil softens, to start preparing beds to receive these demanding little charges. The first step with all beds is to cover them in compost: a dark, biologically-active soil-like material rich in organic matter and nutrients. It’s a ton of fun to hop on the compost spreader (picture an oversized Radio Flyer wagon with spinning blades in the back), drive it into the fields, engage the PTO (or power take-off), and smell the earthy black richness as it spews wildly across the fields. We’ll be systematically covering the entire farm in compost over the next few weeks, as well as tilling in our winter cover crops, marking out beds, and generally getting ready to get into the ground.

What March has in store for us is anyone’s guess. Some days are damp and bone-chillingly cold, while others are harbingers of spring, soft with birdsong and warmed by the sun. As unpredictable as these days are, they all have one thing in common: the excitement at the start of yet another growing season -- PFP’s 20th! -- and all of the eager anticipation for the crops that are to come.

“Wait… learning can be FUN?”

“Wait… learning can be FUN?”
The benefits of garden-based education
By Chris Gavin, Garden Educator

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One of the perks of being an educator with Poughkeepsie Farm Project is that the job turns you into a bit of a local celebrity, especially among the 5-10 year old crowd. I cannot walk into an elementary school in Poughkeepsie without being swarmed by excited kids who want to know what we’re cooking today, what’s growing in the garden, or looking for a bite of whichever fresh veggies I brought from the farm that day. It doesn’t matter if it’s a student I work with every week or simply met once on a field trip to the farm, the experience makes such an impact that they remember the lesson long after it’s over. Just today a kid stopped me in the hallway to say “thanks for making popcorn with us; it was delicious!” - and I made popcorn with his class nearly six months ago! Students from last year’s after school program still regularly ask me about the red wiggler worms in our vermicomposting bin (How’s Henry? Tell him I say hi!”) and want assurances that I’m taking good care of them. And believe me, every student remembers EXACTLY where in the garden they planted their carrot seed and wants regular updates on its progress.

When a parent finds out that their child is now in love with kale salad or has a sudden interest in helping out around the kitchen, they want to know how we did it. But there’s no magic alchemy to our work, the key is facilitating joyful educational experiences. There’s a common misconception that “real” education can only happen sitting at a desk while passively listening to a teacher dole out information. And if kids are having fun they must not really be learning, right? Our education team loves our reputation as the fun vegetable people, but that’s an oversimplification of what we do. Well-intentioned teachers and parents often think that our programs are something EXTRA that kids can enjoy once they’re done with their ACTUAL education. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret, we are doing something revolutionary. We are helping youth recognize that not only can education occur outside of a traditional classroom setting but it can also be a joyful experience that sparks a life-long love of learning.

But don’t think that just because the kids are having fun that our programs are light on content. Our work supports classroom learning by providing hands-on and student-centered lessons that reinforce academic concepts. We make what kids are learning in school more relevant to their lives by connecting it to real-world applications. Connecting food and farming to classroom content is something we do every day with students. To highlight this, here are a few of the topics we recently covered in our elementary after school programs.

  • Students learn to be scientists as we plant seeds in the classroom, making predictions about when germination will occur and observing our seedlings with hand lenses.

  • Students study history and social justice as we learn about the contributions of people of color in farming like inventor/educator George Washington Carver and farm workers’ rights activists Dolores Huerta and Caesar Chavez.

  • We reinforce math skills as students learn to properly use measuring tools as we follow a recipe or when we estimate plant spacing in a garden bed.

  • We support literacy through our love of children’s literature and by writing letters to pen pals in other garden programs in our region.

  • Students build leadership skills as they practice teamwork, communication, and learn strategies for mindfulness and self-management.

For a student participating in the Poughkeepsie Food Power after-school programs, it may seem like all they are doing is preparing a healthy snack or carefully tending to a young plant in the school garden. But through our work we are helping to lay a foundation of joy, curiosity, and a life-long love of learning. We hope that our small acts will inspire the next generation of eaters to be more caring and empathetic to themselves, their community, and the world around them. I will leave you with a quote that regularly comes to mind as I’m leading youth in our programming. Paul Cezanne said “the day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.” And I hope our work is helping us all along the path towards that day.

Grower's Row: February: We Heart February (And Here's Why)

By Lauren Kaplan

Here’s 3 things we’ve got going for us in February:

1) More daylight. We start the month at 10 hours, and end it with 11.
2) Winter sports. Alternatively: hot beverages, fuzzy socks, and long hours to pore over seed catalogs / binge watch the Great British Baking Show.
3) It’s American Heart Month!

Yes. We have a whole month to focus on our hearts. With heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States, most of us could benefit from taking a closer look at our own heart health (right after we get up off the couch from watching the Great British Baking Show).

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We all know the basics. Exercise and eat better (which usually translates to “eat more fruits and vegetables”). But how many fruits and vegetables do you eat each day? And how many, exactly, are we supposed to be eating?

a) 2 cups a day
b) 3 cups a day
c) 4+ cups a day

If you guessed c), you’re spot on -- according to the American Heart Association and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, anyhow. Eight servings (4-5 cups) is the daily recommended intake of fruits and vegetables.

Now guess what percentage of Americans actually meet this requirement?

a) 50%
b) 20%
c) 10%

As it turns out, it’s actually less than 10%: As of 2018, only 9.3% of adults (and a measly 2% of high school students) are consuming the recommended 8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

We’ve all heard the virtues of vegetables extolled at some point or another, and it goes something like this: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. Why? Because fruits and vegetables are good for you! They are high in a whole alphabet of things, from antioxidants, fiber and minerals to phytonutrients (like flavonoids and carotenoids) and vitamins.

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Conveniently, all of these good-for-you things come in a natural package -- “food”. Consuming food (instead of supplements) means you get the non-essential nutrients that allow your body to absorb and utilize all the essential ones. Nutrients are most potent when they come from food.

Best of all, not only are they good for you, fruits and vegetables are just plain GOOD. They’re good roasted, baked, braised, stuffed, steamed, shredded or fermented. They’re good sweet or spicy, drizzled in oil, lightly dressed, dolloped with sour cream, or totally naked and raw. They’re especially good when they’re fresh, harvested at peak ripeness, and stored at ideal temperatures… something your local farm (ahem) can do really well.

So. In honor of American Heart Month (and another holiday happening mid-month that also involves hearts), consider signing up for a share of the freshest Poughkeepsie-grown produce! After all, what better Valentine’s day gift is there -- to a loved one, or to yourself -- than a CSA share?

Never mind the flowers. Woo your sweetheart with a bouquet of kale. Forget the chocolate and oysters. Nothing says “I love you” like vegetables.

The Power of Herbs

Larissa Alvarado, Garden Education Assistant and Meditation Garden Steward

I was introduced to the Poughkeepsie Farm Project as a participant in a family cooking workshop and now I work here as an educator. I’ve always had a desire to learn about natural remedies and now I have access to the plants and the opportunity to learn under Beatrix Clarke, a bio-regional herbalist. As we walked through the herb garden the first time she told me, “you would be surprised that most issues can be resolved by using plants that you see regularly.” This kind of herbalism includes both looking at what is growing wild in the area as well as cultivating herbs locally. Under her guidance, I have become the steward of the farm’s meditation herb garden and we work together to make and sell herbal products that help support the educational mission of the farm.

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My love for gardening and herbalism began as a child. Inspired by my mother who always had a garden while I was growing up and was very much into the natural world. She was a master improviser; she could create something out of nothing. We didn’t have much money so she had to get creative and use what was around us. My mother taught me how to grow food in the little plot of land in front of our apartment building. In addition to growing food, she would make things like lotions, soaps, and candles. I can remember going with her to the Adriance Memorial Library to check out books about herbal remedies and natural skin and hair care. My friends and I would go around the neighborhood collecting magnolia flowers to create our own perfumes and we loved making herbal steam baths for our faces.

As a kid I didn’t understand all the healing properties of each plant, but I always understood things from the earth are special and have value. My love for God, the creator of the earth and these beautiful weeds and herbs gave me the passion for wanting to use them and share what I'm learning with others. How loving it is to receive such a beautiful gift; the colors, shapes, textures and smells. I am truly grateful and I love what I'm learning! It's like good news! Who doesn't want good news?

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Plants were here with their healing properties before pharmacies but most people have lost their connection to this traditional knowledge. In addition to relying on science and medicine, let's not forget the ways the natural world can promote healing. For example dandelions, calendula, and elderberries, just to name a few, can be used to make so many natural remedies! The list seems endless, but you can make digestive bitters, detoxifiers, tea infusions, fire ciders, herbal tonics, salves, herbal liniments, insect repellents, and first-aid remedies. I love working with herbs because it helps us get to the truth of what we're looking for and create supportive, economic remedies for what our bodies actually need to be healthy.

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For me, jumping into a new project like this was exciting, but it can also feel overwhelming, so learning from an expert like Beatrix is incredibly valuable. This spring, she is leading a six-part series of workshops on using plants for health and healing. Each session will include the opportunity for you to make your own remedies to take home. The workshop topics include herbs for children’s health, herbal first aid, herbal skin care, winter health with herbs, using culinary herbs to aid digestive health, and herbs for strong bones and healthy joints. You can sign up for all six or take them individually, but if you are like me, once you attend one you won’t want to miss any. After attending just one workshop, it totally changed the way I look at plants I walk past every day. Now I understand their value and know how to use them to improve my own health, and well-being. I've even started making my own recipe book so I can share this knowledge with friends and family.

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Now that I make my own herbal remedies, I’ve learned there are so many benefits to using these plants. I have gained a sense of independence, I rely less on pills and have taken control of my own body and health. It isn’t something that happens overnight, it's a lifestyle. So, if you are committed and keep it up you can really feel the long term benefits. Once you start, you realize that it is so simple and, inexpensive, and it is better for your body and the environment. I find it empowering because it helps me get one step closer to being healthier and happier.

From wild edibles to cultivated herbs, these ingredients are available to us right here in our community and you can learn more about them through the PFP. Please join Beatrix and myself for the herbalism workshops this spring. You can also support our work by purchasing our new line of herbal products at CSA distribution or by emailing me (larissa[at]farmproject[dot]org). If you would like to get your hands dirty, join us on Wednesday afternoons in the spring, summer, and fall as we plant, water, and weed the meditation herb garden. These work sessions are a great opportunity to share knowledge and gain experience caring for these medicinal plants. I really appreciate all the help from the volunteers. It’s fun for the whole family, and you’ll never leave hungry or empty-handed.

What can I say, I’m excited about using plants to heal! Nature grows all around us, but sometimes we don’t realize the wonderful benefits of these herbs, flowers, and even weeds. When it comes to taking care of your body, happy, healthy and empowered is the way to go!

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Grower’s Row: January: Surviving and Thriving

By Lauren Kaplan, Farm Crew Leader

Farm fields in January

Farm fields in January

It’s winter, and the days are short. As I write this in the first week of January, we currently have 9 hours and 17 minutes of daylight.

As farmers, we often refer to this time of year -- when daylight falls below 10 hours per day -- as the Persephone period. During this period, regardless of the temperature, plant growth slows to a near-halt. The greens that we’ve been harvesting from for our Winter CSA put on most of their growth in October and November. (This is why the process for winter greens actually began on a 70-degree day in September!) These days, the plants are mostly hanging out, waiting for that critical increase in daylight hours to signal renewed growth.

High tunnel greens are healthy and awaiting harvest

High tunnel greens are healthy and awaiting harvest

Those of you who leave your office at 5pm to darkened skies are probably acutely aware of the brevity of daylight hours. But don’t despair: there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! Though it may seem (especially now that the holidays are over) that the winter stretches out, endless, ahead of us… the truth is that with the Winter Solstice behind us, the days are already growing longer.

For now, the farm crew -- taking a cue from the plants -- have also slowed down. We are taking advantage of more flexible time in the winter to rest and rejuvenate. While Leon is snuggling his new baby daughter, LK and German are both reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (which for German is the first of fifty books he plans to read in 2019); Chris has been doing lots of hiking with his curious and adventurous pup; and Laura is making jams from squirreled-away summer fruits and painting vegetable portraits (like this beautiful arrangement she made for Lauren’s going-away card!).

Speaking of Lauren McDonald, our dear friend is settling into her new home in Belfast, ME with her partner Julia and their rambunctious cat Turtle Bean. She’s preparing for lots of fiddle gigs, savoring every bite of her dwindling supply of purple carrots, and sending warm wishes to all of us (and you!) here while making new farming connections in Maine.

Surprise overwintered Hakurei!

Surprise overwintered Hakurei!

Just like these candy-sweet overwintered turnips that amazingly not only survived the winter cold, but thrived -- so are we not only enduring these dark days, but enjoying them for all that they are. We hope your New Year is off to a healthy and happy start, and that you too are taking advantage of these Persephone period to snuggle up on the couch with a good book, enjoy a steaming mug of hot chocolate or tea, and generally adopt a Scandanavian winter mindset towards these short but precious days.

Poughkeepsie Food Power After-School Programs are Accepting New Students

Poughkeepsie Farm Project is running after-school programming at six schools in the Poughkeepsie City School District as a partner on their Empire State Extended Learning Time grant.

Twice per week at six schools, PFP educators engage students in garden-based learning in all subject areas through hands-on gardening and food activities. While caring for their school gardens, students conduct, science experiments, explore plant life cycles, write poetry, observe insects, prepare healthy snacks, design inventions, read and discuss literature, create art, and improve their academic and leadership skills.

If you have a student who attends PCSD who would like to take part, please download the forms below and return to your child’s school. To register elementary and middle school students, fill out the first two forms below. All three forms are required for high school students. We would love it if you also emailed scanned forms to learning [at] farmproject [dot] org or texted photos of forms to 845-475-2734.

Program Registration Form (all schools)
Enrollment Form (all schools)
Internship Application Form (PHS Internship only)

Poughkeepsie Farm Project’s Elementary and Middle School Programs
Poughkeepsie Food Power is the perfect place for your child to increase her/his academic skills in a nurturing environment. Through children’s literature and group projects, Poughkeepsie Food Power builds social-emotional skills which support school and life success. Students will build skills in all subject areas through hands-on gardening and food activities. While caring for their school garden, students conduct science experiments, explore plant life-cycles, write poetry, observe insects, prepare healthy snacks, design inventions, create art, and read and discuss high-quality children’s literature.

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Poughkeepsie Farm Project’s High School Internship
Would you like to help care for your school garden, learn to cook healthy meals, and participate in fun team-building activities? Join the Poughkeepsie Food Power Internship at Poughkeepsie High School.

  • Gain culinary skills while preparing delicious meals with garden produce

  • Build leadership and relationship skills

  • Explore career and growth opportunities in the food sector.

  • Become active members of our local food system and work to create justice, equity, and power for all eaters.

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Here are some highlights from last year’s programs: