Blog

Photo Credit: Mary McGurn

Plowing Ahead at April Hill Farm

Despite the pandemic and the huge impact it has had on all of our lives, we continue to ‘plow ahead’ here on the farm, preparing beds and planting trees and perennials – future food for those who need it most. Today is Giving Tuesday, a global day of unity as a response to the unprecedented need caused by Covid-19. Any donations received today and in the week to come will go straight to our food production programming – April Hill Farm and Front Lawn Food – as we work together (at a distance) to help fill the food gaps in our community. Donate today to support this important work. 

Here’s a peek at the work going on:

Photo Credit: Monique Bosch

A line of nut and fruit trees has been planted along either side of one of our hedgerows, soon to be the ‘Duck Food Forest’. Chestnut, Hazelnut, Hickories and Northern Pecans on the North, Mulberry trees on the south and elderberry, sea berries, black and red currants, comfrey and much more planted throughout, a delicious future food forest.

The .6-acre demo garden is planted and ready to grow. Locust posts were stripped and drilled into the ground for the fence. Our crew worked to clear tree limbs from above the beds, while compost covers the cardboard for planting of perennials: asparagus, horse radish, strawberries, and raspberries to start.

Photo Credit: Mary McGurn

 

Working independently on a single mission, a day might look like this: Sarah rakes out the compost in the planting bed, Jessie saws off large limbs of a prolific crabapple tree to bring in more sunlight, while Eli plants the asparagus crowns. We have found a way to do this important work while keeping a safe distance during this difficult time. We hope you can also find creative ways of working and helping each other as we all keep a safe distance. As more of us are saying; “we are going to get through this…together!”

Photo Credit: Monique Bosch

Our farm manager Justin Torrico stops to pick up some discarded roots, dug out of the compost pile…yellow dock (rumex crispus). “Full of magnesium and calcium’ he explains. “The roots of the dock plant penetrate deep into the subsoil, finding these minerals far below ground and making them available to nutrient deficient soils above. Mountain soils around the world are regularly low in these minerals.  I dry it, and use it as a tea, which rejuvenates the muscles and joints and nourishes my bones. Keeps me deeply rooted so to speak.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farmer Justin sniffs the roots to identify the discarded weed as yellow dock. He then gathers up the beneficial plant for future consumption.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clearing out the ‘dead wood’ is something that we often take for granted. Here’s a ‘behind the woodshed’ scene of tree removal to make way for the new edible food forest, being planted now.

Greenagers is this month’s Round Up for Change Recipient at the Berkshire Food Co-op

There is always a silver lining of hope in the midst of any crisis. Berkshire Food Co-Op is continuing to serve our community through these hard times, and is giving back by choosing Greenagers for their Round Up for Change campaign in April: “every customer, every day is asked if they’d like to round up their total to the nearest dollar so their spare change can MAKE BIG CHANGE in our community. Each year, there are twelve recipient organizations that have been democratically selected by our Owners and each month one of those organizations will receive the money raised through our ROUND UP FOR CHANGE program.”

Greenagers is very grateful to have been selected as this month’s Round Up for Change recipient. Donations through this program will go directly to our Front Lawn Food program, supplying healthy food to local families in need. The need now is greater than ever and your support makes it possible for us to support our community in this way.

Thank you for providing Berkshire residents with local, healthy food and supportive programming!

Covid-19 Update

To the Greenagers community:

We have been working along as best we can during this ever-changing and difficult time. Our thoughts are with our non-profit colleagues in emergency services and front-line social services. The needs are great and it is heartening to see the Herculean efforts employed by the community at-large.

Our staff continues to work from home and we still encourage youth that hope to work with us to send in their applications. Our date for confirming hiring will be fluid as we follow guidelines from state and federal authorities. At this time, it will not be sooner than April 27.

We continue to get some work accomplished at April Hill Farm. Agriculture is an essential sector and our new fruit and nut trees, shrubs and seeds need to be planted and stewarded. The products of these labors will be more food for our community, direct to those who need it most. If you would like to help provide more food security for our community, visit the Front Lawn Food page of our website. A donated bed could go a long way toward restoring a family’s resilience. When we do begin to peek around the corner of this crisis, the need for gardens, local food, and trails will be stronger than ever. We are eager to meet this need and community efforts to create these opportunities will be one of the many forms of COVID catharsis. Working outdoors will be one of the first, and safest, modes of reconnecting.

Wishing you safety and wellness and looking forward to seeing you in the garden or on the trail.

What if, for the new year, you could inspire a teen?

Inspire: give new breath; animate

It’s the end of the year, time for a deep breath, time for reflection. What if, for this new year, you could inspire a teen?

We often have such lofty goals toward environmental awareness and activism, civic duty and wholesome community. But not one of these is possible without the first breath of inspiration. It might be the wonder of first spotting a kestrel or hearing the vernal wood frog. Perhaps the first time a crew member stacks stone upon stone for an Appalachian Trail staircase sparks new confidence and self-esteem. Or it could be meeting a new friend during the course of shared work. These are the moments that inspire, that set a course for future success.

Chesterwood has been a longtime partner of Greenagers. For the past three years, Greenagers kids rebuilt and stabilized Daniel Chester French’s Ledges Trail. They hewed from the rocks a path for visitors to access one of French’s favorite spots for reflection, looking at the northern tip of Monument Mountain to the south, the Taconic Range to the west. Each crew then gets to tour French’s studio and see that they are continuing the work of the man who sculpted Abraham Lincoln. What do the kids report first upon coming back? They say, “I didn’t even know Chesterwood was there.”

Your support of Greenagers makes these moments happen. Your gifts get them “there”, to that first point of contact, learning, and adventure.

If we, with your gift, can keep inspiring our kids, they’ll be alright. With any luck, they will give us a little new breath as we head into winter, storing up our energies for spring and beyond.

DONATE

Double Up, Buttercup! It’s Giving Tuesday.

A loyal Greenagers friend and supporter, Robin McGraw, has pledged to double all of your Giving Tuesday donations! Please meet Robin in the video below, make your gift — and put Robin to the test!

DONATE NOW to double your gift to Greenagers!

Our sincere thanks to Robin and his family foundation for their loyal support of Greenagers’ work with teens and young adults.

Now Hiring: Farm Manager

Community Farm Manager for Bard College at Simon’s Rock and April Hill Conservation and Education Center.

Greenagers and Simon’s Rock seek a motivated, skilled, and enthusiastic farmer to manage two small educational farms and work with students in all aspects of running these agricultural ventures.  This is a full-time, year-round position. Continue reading “Now Hiring: Farm Manager”

Now Hiring: Business Manager

UPDATE 12.9.19 – This position has been filled.

Business Manager – Part-time ~20hrs/wk

Position Overview

We are looking for a high-energy, mature self-starter who can serve as our Business Manager. We seek an individual with exceptional communication and problem-solving skills to ensure a smooth operation in the delivery of our mission. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Business Manager will oversee all administrative office functions as well as financial responsibilities and board communications and recordkeeping.  Continue reading “Now Hiring: Business Manager”

Neil Chrisman, Emily Fisher

Donor News: A Garden Party at April Hill

Greenagers invited some of our key supporters to April Hill in August, to celebrate our nearly completed $1.5 million fundraising campaign for our acquisition of April Hill this year.

We now have a place to call home, thanks to these great friends and neighbors, and hundreds of others who have helped us to make April Hill a reality for Greenagers’ future.

So many of our guests are nearby neighbors, as well as longtime friends and Egremonters who are excited to have Greenagers as the stewards of historic April Hill going forward.