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In Brief Summer 2023

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Family Garden Tour & Seed Mosaic 
On September 10, a Family Garden Tour and Seed Mosaic event was held at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City to celebrate the exhibition Nora Thompson Dean: Lenape Teacher and Herbalist. The event included a special tour of the Morgan Garden and a viewing of plants important to the Lenape, including corn, squash, beans, and amaranth. The program was led by Joe Baker, co-founder and executive director of The Lenape Center, and K Greene, the Farm Hub’s Seed Growing program manager. 

La Nueva Siembra 
On May 27th, the Farm Hub hosted GrowNYC’s final 2023 session of the La Nueva Siembra program, during which participants presented their farm business plans and celebrated the completion of the program. La Nueva Siembra is a business planning course for farmers who are native Spanish speakers. The program is held over nine weeks in the spring and covers topics such as access to land and markets, whole farm planning, and financial management. This year’s cohort of graduates included a diversity of ages, experiences, and ethnicities; two of the graduates were from the Farm Hub’s production team. Since 2020 the Farm Hub has collaborated with GrowNYC and hosted courses at the farm. The Farm Hub’s Language Justice team offered interpretation and translation services for La Nueva Siembra.

Researching Birds 
This summer, Violet Wu came to the Farm Hub to study birds as part of Noah Perlut’s Bobolink research project. Perlut, a professor at the University of New England, has studied Bobolinks since 2002. Violet recently earned her bachelor’s degree in wildlife conservation at the University of California, Davis. This fall she joins the University of New England as a master’s student studying the breeding ecology of Bobolinks on the farm under Perlut. Violet has always had a passion for animals and wildlife conservation. “I just love being in the field and getting to learn the calls, songs, and behavior of the birds,” she says. “For my project, the welfare of farmers and birds are almost always contradicting–farmers want to harvest the crops as their best yield, but that will likely destroy the bird nests in the field. Understanding the breeding ecology/timeline of the birds is important for designing the best solution to benefit both farmers and the birds.” To learn more about Bobolink research at the Farm Hub watch the short film The Wonder of the Bobolink.

Violet Wu has a passion for studying Bobolinks.
Students from Bard College visit the Farm Hub to learn more about seed saving.

Seed Growing
In May we welcomed Bard College students from Vivien Sansour’s class ‘The Belly is a Garden’; Vivien is an artist, researcher, and writer who founded and leads Palestine Heirloom Seed Library, a partner of our Seed Growing Program. The class was hosted by Seed Growing Program Manager K Greene and Program Coordinator Dyami Soloviev. The students had the chance to harvest Yakteen seeds, talk about seed rematriation, and work in the Seed Growing Garden. “(The class) was very intriguing because it was about culture, biodiversity, and food and that kind of just prompted me to register,” said David Gorospe a Bard student. “It’s personally an important thing to me — how my connection to my culture has been really through my mom and the food she’s making. We have a lot of discussions about that during class.”

Blueberry Picking 
Blueberry gleaning season returned to the farm. Throughout July and August, volunteers came to the fields on Route 209 to pick blueberries for food pantries in the region. The initiative was organized by the Ulster County Farm to Food Pantry Collaborative, led by Family of Woodstock and Rondout Valley Growers Association with volunteer support from UlsterCorps. The berries were immediately distributed to food pantries and community meal programs across the county. Read more about food pantries and meal programs in Ulster County. 

Left, Anne Bloomfield discusses bird watching with attendees.

Farmscape Ecology Field Day 
In August we were thrilled to host Farmscape Ecology Field Day at the farm showcasing the work of researchers from the Applied Farmscape Ecology Research Collaborative (AFERC). Researchers from Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program, Bard College, SUNY New Paltz, and Hudsonia discussed their research projects and potential applications for farms and land in the region. This public event welcomed farmers, conservation professionals, land managers, and others interested in on-farm ecology. Click here to access Field Day resources and handouts in both English and Spanish.

Online Interpreter Practice 
The Language Justice Program has been holding virtual interpreter practice sessions two times per month on Zoom. The sessions are free and open to anyone who has an interest and/or experience with interpretation. The practice sessions have been popular, drawing participants from not only the Hudson Valley region but across the country and even internationally. For more information register here or e-mail Li Sierra, Language Justice Program Manager, at [email protected]

Corn Pest Blog
Please check out the blog post about the European corn borer, a common corn pest, written by Jacob Dayton, a Ph.D. student at Tufts University. Sweet corn, one of the most popular summer vegetables, is often the target of the European corn borer. Last fall Jacob visited the Farm Hub to collect European corn borer larvae in corn stubble as part of his research on its life history, emergence, and behavior. In this latest blog post Jacob highlights the discoveries related to the year-round cycle involving crops, pests, and parasitoids at the farm. Learn more here.

Male (Left) and female (Right) European corn borer moths found at the Farm Hub.
Photo of Yellow-billed cuckoo courtesy of Dixon Onderdonk

Grassland Bird Walk 
In June we hosted a grassland bird walk organized by the John Burroughs Natural History Society and led by Teresa Dorado, coordinator for the Applied Farmscape Ecology Program. Despite a foggy start to the morning, the birding enthusiasts spotted a few Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks. Another highlight was a pair of adult Bald Eagles flying overhead along with a pair of Yellow-billed Cuckoos.  As many as 188 species of birds have been identified at the Farm Hub. 

New Staff 
The Farm Hub is pleased to welcome the newest members of our team: Esmeralda Tiel Cac, Vegetable Production Team Member; Joel Martinez, Vegetable Production Team Member; Adriana Yates, Program and Seed Garden Assistant. 

We are hiring 
Interested in joining the Farm Hub team?  Check out our employment page where we list office and field-based opportunities throughout the year.  Click here to learn more about the open positions.

Click here to read previous In Brief Columns.

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