What's in the water in Essex County?
Courtney at the Saranac Lake market. Photo: David Sommerstein
As we've reported for quite a while here at NCPR, the Champlain Valley has become a hotspot in the North Country for young farmers trying to forge a new path for agriculture.
The Adirondack Explorer traces the roots and future possibilities of that community in a recent article. It highlights Courtney Grimes-Sutton, who wrote journals for The Dirt all last summer, and her Mace Chasm farm. It also points to the influence of Essex Farm and Kristin Kimball, author of A Dirty Life.
Many young farmers worked at Essex Farm before going off on their own. Others found different ways to acquire practical know-how in advance. Take Courtney. She ran a vegetable farm and little CSA program for several years with a couple of girlfriends and later immersed herself in livestock production at Essex Farm. She also apprenticed with a blacksmith, graduated from industrial welding school, and gained competency as a butcher.
The dynamic Essex County scene caught the attention of Severine Von Tscharner Fleming, the force behind the Greenhorns, a national organization that aims to “strengthen the cultural and social fabric for the next generation of farmers.” The six-year-old, largely volunteer group throws parties for young farmers, produces festivals, hosts a radio show, and engages in all sorts of creative collaborations. It has published several books and released a full-length documentary.
That documentary, "Small Farm Rising", has aired on PBS. Watch the trailer here.
I hope to have more this summer on the interwoven relationships between many of these farms. And the other day I received great news that Courtney will be journaling here at The Dirt again this summer. Expect a new entry soon!
Tags: adirondacks, agriculture, farming, food, local