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Locavore lore

Food, Inc. farmer Joel Salatin keynotes Woodstock Land Conservancy symposium on regional food this Saturday

by Ann Hutton
February 17, 2011 11:00 AM | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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The greater Hudson Valley region is rapidly becoming a veritable, if not still small-scale, breadbasket for citizens here – and in the New York metropolitan area as well. Small vegetable and grain farms, dairies and various meat producers are offering products that have been grown, harvested and packaged in ways that honor the health of the planet as well as individual consumers. As concerns about food quality and availability increase and people become more aware of the impact that their eating habits have on the environment, the concept of establishing sustainable agricultural systems emerges. This Saturday, February 19, the Woodstock Land Conservancy (WLC), in conjunction with the Woodstock Farm Festival, will host an event that brings together regional farmers for a symposium addressing these issues.

Farmer Joel Salatin will be the featured speaker at 10 a.m., delivering a talk titled “Why Food, Farms and Eating Local Matter.” Renowned for his three-generation Polyface Farm in Virginia (www.polyfacefarms.com), Salatin focuses on farming practices that ultimately harm the least while producing the best in meats, eggs and other produce.

When asked why the Land Conservancy choose this particular topic and speaker to kick off this year’s programming, coordinator Megan Reynolds explains that while the WLC is primarily involved in land preservation, the organization wants to explore how land-trust work interacts with larger trends and questions like hydrofracking, climate change and sustainable agriculture. In this first program of the series, it’s anticipated that Salatin – a notably powerful speaker with a down-home sense of humor and surprising approach – will energize the conversation about building a regional food system. A pioneer in the field (literally) and a passionate defender of local food systems, Salatin has been featured in the movies Food, Inc. and Fresh, as well as in Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

At 1 p.m., former WLC board member Sabine Hrechdakian will moderate a panel discussion titled “The State of the Food System in the Hudson Valley,” with six local producers addressing the issues that they consider vitally important to creating a viable regional foodshed. On hand will be Ken Migliorelli, owner and farmer of Migliorelli’s, a three-generation farm in Tivoli, growing 130 varieties of fruits, vegetables and grains using low-input sustainable practices (www.migliorelli.com); Miriam Latzer of Loose Caboose Farm – started just this year after ten years of hands-on farming experience and five years of co-owning Hearty Roots Community Farm in Tivoli – that provides non-certified organic produce to more than 450 Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) members (http://loosecaboosefarm.com); Jim Hyland, founder of Winter Sun Farms, which partners with local farmers to freeze and preserve their vegetables and fruits to distribute to members all winter long, and co-founder of Farm to Table Co-Packers, a full-service contract packaging facility and incubator kitchen in Kingston (www.wintersunfarms.com and www.farm2tablecopackers.com); Matt Longyear, producer of grass-fed Longhorn beef on one of the few remaining working family farms in Woodstock, also offering vegetables, eggs, maple syrup and honey; Sara Grady, director of Special Projects at the Glynwood Center in Cold Spring, whose mission is to help communities in the Northeast save farming by empowering them with tools, resources and education to support farmers and conserve farmland (www.glynwood.org); and Don Lewis, owner of Wild Hive Farm in Clinton Corners, where he mills local grain and sells flour throughout the region, and has recently begun a grain CSA, and also runs Wild Hive Farm Bakery and Café, a store that provides locally sourced food (www.wildhivefarm.com).

Don’t miss this program if you’re interested in sustainable agriculture, want to make more informed choices about the food you eat or just want to become familiar with the folks in the Hudson Valley who work in the gardening trenches. Lunch will be served between the morning presentation and the afternoon panel discussion. Tickets cost $25, and space is limited at the Woodstock Elementary School, so reserve your ticket by visiting www.woodstocklandconservancy.org. Call (845) 679-5345 or e-mail mreynolds.wlc@gmail.com for further information.

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