Photo Credit: Austen Dupont

Let’s hear from: Austen Dupont, Trail Crew Alum and Current Trail Crew Leader

Austen took the time to write about his experiences with Greenagers – we are so grateful for his hard work, thoughtfulness, and great spirit as a former trail crew member and now as one of our fearless trail crew leaders!

Here is his testimony:

My Greenagers journey started at 16 years old. It was my first “real job.” Full time and a meager 8.50/hour. Without any idea of what the job entailed, young and impressionable, I signed up. Next thing I knew we were hiking 45 minutes into the wilderness of northwestern Connecticut with a crew of 8 local teenagers on the fringes of normalcy. The payment was the experience. Waking up to the sound of birds, the orange hue of the fresh summer sun, it was liberation from a life of high school obligations. After the first day, led by a passionate and vivacious Elia Delmolino, we were all best friends. Elia’s passion was almost corny, yet unfaltering: contagious. When the work day concluded we would relax by the river and play poker for who had to carry the water jug. I continued with Greenagers until college; time passed, life changed. When I returned to the Berkshires, I was fresh off of a cross-country trip. Eager to get back into society yet nervous at the possibility of a lost opportunity. I assumed Greenagers was no longer, until a chance encounter with Elia. I popped into April Hill Farm the following week: lost, discouraged, 23 years old with no sense of direction. Once again, I found my niche in the woods. Greenagers had their first fall crew and I was offered the position of crew leader. I nervously accepted. Now, a tumultuous year later, I have a place in the organization. A true sense of belonging and direction. I’ve regained passion for the environment and once again, covered in dirt and worms, I’m happy. Happy to be part of something bigger than myself. I’ve traveled half the world, seen the silver spoon, eaten from a microwavable plastic platter, and through it all Greenagers was the unspoken angel on my shoulder, quietly laying the foundation for my future. I’m proud, truly happy, blessed, and still bewildered that these opportunities have come into my life. When I leave April Hill at 5 o’clock, I’m excited for the challenges of tomorrow, fulfilled with the day I’ve completed, and more than proud to tell my peers I’ve found my calling. It feels good to go home knowing I’ve done my part, and helped others along the way.

I’ve regained passion for the environment and once again, covered in dirt and worms, I’m happy.

The Jewish Women’s Federation of the Berkshires generously supports our Food Sovereignty Crew

Thank you to the Jewish Women’s Foundation of the Berkshires for generous support of our Food Sovereignty Crew. The Jewish Women’s Foundation of the Berkshires, under the auspices of the Jewish Women’s Federation of the Berkshires, is “dedicated to sharing Jewish values by addressing needs in the community and supporting social action.” This year, the Foundation provided $59, 270 in grants to 18 community nonprofits working to address unmet community needs; Greenagers is honored to be among the recipients. Read the Berkshire Eagle grants announcement here.

Greenagers’ Food Sovereignty Crew installs free, organic vegetable gardens for local families in need. Greenagers started this garden program, ‘Front Lawn Food,’ in collaboration with Berkshire Community Action Council, to encourage local families to grow their own organic veggies. We partner with CHP WIC, BCAC, Berkshire VIM, Multicultural BRIDGE, and CONSTRUCT to reach out to families eligible for a free garden bed. The Food Sovereignty Crew travels around the county, installing these beds in the spring, returning in the summer for garden check-ins, and again in the fall to set-up the garden winterization hoop house. In addition to managing the Front Lawn Food program, the Food Sovereignty Crew assists Greenagers’ April Hill Farm Crew with the farm’s gardens and orchards and is responsible for delivering food to food pantries, health centers, and direct to families in need. The Crew also works with Berkshire Bounty’s gleaning program, harvesting food that would otherwise go to waste and delivering it to area food pantries.

 

Thank you to our 2021 Farm Crew

Many thanks and so much appreciation to all of our farm crew members who worked with us this summer! We are so grateful to have such a hardworking, fun, supportive, and dedicated full crew from June through August!
We accomplished a lot this summer! From prepping beds, to planting, watering, lots of weeding, harvesting, washing and packing produce to donating all our produce and working with other local farms & gardens. We’ve learned to take care of eachother through it all! I’ve been on the farm crew for more than a whole year now. It has been full, exciting, I’m always learning, I feel welcomed, I’ve felt exhausted from the hard work, and I’ve met amazing people through this work and made true friends aswell. This year has taught me to care of our land and eachother as it all cares for me in return. I’m excited to continue doing this work throughout my whole life!  Sasha, April Hill Farm Apprentice 
Photos by Sasha

Farewell and thank you, Summer trail Crews!

In a summer defined by stifling heat, soaking rain, and clouds of mosquitoes,

Greenagers’ youth trail crews nevertheless swung their pick mattocks, carried their buckets of mineral soil, and levered their boulders into place. Those youth trail crew members that worked over their summer vacation can rest assured that they’re a hardy bunch! Trails were built in Sherman (CT), Monterey, Becket, Richmond, and Pittsfield, while major improvements were added to trails in Lenox, Stockbridge, Sheffield, Great Barrington, and Sharon (CT).

We will be running a small fall crew through November. If interested in a position on this crew, please contact email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Photo Credit: Felix Carroll, Berkshire Eagle

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

We are so grateful to Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax for an incredible, beautiful evening! And to all of our sponsors – Mill Town Capital, Barnbrook Realty, Herrington’s, Race Mtn Tree Services, Main Street Hospitality Group, Lee Bank Foundation,  Greylock Federal Credit Union, Stagecoach Tavern, Domaney’s, South Egremont Spirit Shoppe, and Wild & Cultivated – for helping to make the fundraiser a tremendous success. And, of course, to our incredibly generous community for showing up – in spite of the weather! – and raising over $100,000 for Greenagers!

Read these wonderful reviews of the concert written by Terry Cowgill, Berkshire Edge, and Felix Carroll, Berkshire Eagle.

Photo Credit: Felix Carroll, Berkshire Eagle

Lee Bank Foundation Awards Grant to Greenagers’ Youth Employment Programs

We are so honored and grateful to be among the 12 Berkshire County non-profits awarded funding in Lee Bank Foundation’s first round of 2021 grant funding.

Lee Bank Foundation was established in 2021 to support Lee Bank’s long standing mission of community reinvestment on behalf of organizations working to improve the lives of Berkshire region organizations and the people they serve. In 2020, Lee Bank awarded $179,000 in funding to area nonprofits and for Covid-19 relief efforts. In 2021, the Foundation projects awarding $250,000 in grants and the Bank expects to award an additional $70,000 in sponsorships.

 Lee Bank shows what it means to be a community bank: investing in the people and causes that provide the foundations of our community.  We’re so grateful for their investment in our youth. Will Conklin

Read the full press release and see the list of grantees here.

This June, Run/Hike/Walk for Greenagers in Honor of World Environment Day!

Announcing greenagers’ First Annual Environment Month Trail Run

WHEN: June 1st-June 30th

WHERE: Any of your favorite hiking trails in the Berkshires and beyond!

WHY: Greenagers is a nonprofit organization focused on providing employment and volunteer opportunities for teens and young adults in the fields of conservation, sustainable farming, and environmental leadership. World Environment Day is the United Nations’ way of raising awareness and action for protection of our environment. By running or walking, participants will receive a free Greenagers t-shirt to wear on their run or walk, while supporting Greenagers in their efforts to engage youth and the community in environmental conservation

HOW: Click on the link below to register. The registration fee is $22.60, included in this price is a Greenagers t-shirt to wear on your adventure. Take a picture of you (and your friends/family) wearing your Greenagers gear on your run/hike/walk and tag @greenagers_offical and hashtag #GreenagersTrailRun to be put in the annual Greenagers Environment Month Trail Run photo collection.

The registration fee is $22.60, included in this price is a Greenagers t-shirt to wear on your adventure.

Go out and have fun!

Register today!

We are so pleased to welcome Bronly Boyd to the Greenagers Board!

Egremont, Mass. (May 20, 2021) — Greenagers has appointed Bronly S. Boyd of Stockbridge to its board of directors.

In 1980, Boyd established Boyd Technologies Inc., a Lee-based contract manufacturer and supplier of paper products for healthcare, medical and consumer markets. He is chair and treasurer of the business, which is now led by his three sons.

He is a graduate of American University and is a U.S. Army veteran, having served in the Vietnam War.

Boyd is in his third term on the board of Berkshire Health System, which he first joined in 1992, and has served two terms as chair. Previously he served on the board of Fairview Hospital from 1984-1992, including a three-year term as chair.

He has a longstanding interest in issues and programs impacting area youth and students. He is on the board of the Berkshire Hills Fund for Excellence, an endowed fund that supports educational initiatives of students and teachers in the Berkshire Hills Regional School District.

Boyd is a longtime member of the First Congregational Church in Stockbridge and is a member of its board of trustees.

He has also volunteered on Stockbridge search committees for town administrator, fire chief, treasurer and town accountant.

We are so thrilled to have Bronly’s enthusiasm and experience on our Board.

Great Berkshire Eagle Interview with Will Conklin

Check out this great Berkshire Eagle Executive Spotlight article/interview with Greenagers’ Executive Director, Will Conklin.

Read it now

The idea of having skills, of being competent and being connected to the Earth in your community, to my mind, [is] just foundational. If we are able to provide opportunities for youth to develop those skills, those empathies and those concerns, then I think we’ll be better off.

Berkshire Agricultural Ventures Awards $10,000 to Greenagers

Press Release

Berkshire Agricultural Gives $10,000 Grant to Local Nonprofit Greenagers

Great Barrington, Mass —Berkshire Agricultural Ventures’ (BAV) announces a $10,000 grant to Berkshire-based nonprofit, Greenagers. The grant will both support Greenagers’ second year of apprenticeships ($2,800) at their farm at April Hill Conservation and Conservation Center as well as offset the cost of a pilot year of Greenagers Helping Farm Hands project ($7,200).

Specifically, this grant will help Greenagers apprentices learn how to re-engage the agricultural land at April Hill Farm from pasture and hay production to a diversified farm that will include tree nuts, tree and vine fruits, vegetables, beef, lamb, duck eggs, chicken eggs, conservation nursery stock, pollinator habitat, and honey.

Starting April 1, the Helping Farm Hands project grant would offset the cost of helping with the need for labor on local farms and allow youth crews a diversity of farming experiences. For more information on this program visit https://greenagers.org/april-hill-farm/.

“We need more farms and we need more farmers and we need more educated consumers.  Helping Hands, by connecting youth with local farms, supports the labor needs of farms–elevating profitability and puts young people on farms.  If out of twenty youth that participates, one becomes a farmer and nineteen know more about their agricultural landscape and the power of their food choices, we will be making great strides toward a more resilient and just food system.”, Will Conklin, Executive Director of Greenagers.

“We are happy to be supporting Greenagers training the next generation of farmers through their apprenticeship at April Hil.  We also see a big win/win getting young adults working for Greenagers exposed to a variety of farms through the Helping Hands Program, all while giving the farmers the extra hands needed for big projects.” – Dan Carr, Outreach & Technical Assistance Coordinator at BAV

About Greenagers: Through its paid employment programs, internships, and apprenticeships, engages teens and young adults in meaningful work in environmental conservation, sustainable farming, and natural resource management. In the Berkshires and nearby New York State, our trail crews maintain existing trails and build new trails for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Trustees of Reservations, Columbia Land Conservancy, and other conservation organizations. Our Farm Apprentices work with local farmers, learning animal husbandry and organic agriculture. Our volunteer teams install front-yard gardens for area families, to encourage home-based food growing.

Greenagers participants learn the value of teamwork, collaboration, initiative, and solid work ethics. They learn about community partnerships through collaborations with area nonprofits, businesses, and organizations that both hire Greenagers and partner with Greenagers’ broader mission of youth and community engagement. We embrace the values of service and stewardship, and we support social and environmental progress in all of our work. For more information on their services, please visit https://greenagers.org

About Berkshire Agricultural Ventures (BAV): Over the past four years, BAV has given over 100 low-interest loans (0-2%) and/or grants to farmers and food businesses. BAV is a 501(c)3 IRS tax-exempt, nonprofit based in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. BAV’s mission is dedicated to supporting farm and food business development and viability by offering access to technical assistance and nimble financing including low-interest loans, grants, and other professional resources. BAV brings together collaborative financing programs for farmers and food makers in the region of New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut by using donations from individuals, foundations, and businesses.

For more information about BAV please visit  www.berkshireagventures.org or call Glenn Bergman, Interim Director, at 413.645.3594.

For more information on Greenagers visit https://greenagers.org.

 

Photo Credit: Mary McGurn

Now Hiring: Community Farm Manager

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.

The manager’s primary responsibility is to oversee and maintain the farms/gardens at Bard College at Simon’s Rock (BCSR) and at April Hill, home to Greenagers. Additionally, the manager will supervise student interns during the growing season and coordinate the educational programs at BCSR and April Hill. The manager will work closely with staff and faculty to support and develop associated programming, and coordinate the supply of produce for the BCSR dining hall. Depending on the season, a significant portion of work will be dedicated to administrative work, including farm development, food policies, grant writing, and curriculum development. In addition to the farms, the manager will have the opportunity as time allows to engage with the operation of the BCSR apiary and maple sugar house programs as well as with various Greenagers educational and community based programs.

MORE INFO