I visited a prison today, struck by immense steel doors and barbed wire that surrounds an edifice of brick and mortar. As you pass through gate after gate, the sound of slamming steel behind you is a silent reminder of...Read More
In starting Rise & Root Farm, our goal was to create a place that mirrored the rest of our work around food. This is to say, creating a place where food and agriculture can make a big difference in areas like social justice, community development, health, and equity.
We know that in order to move these indicators, we have to build connections with the communities around us. This means that the vegetables, herbs, and flowers we grow should be accessed by different types of ethnic and socioeconomic communities, and that these different communities should also have the opportunity to participate in the powerful act of growing and cooking food.
We also know that we have to invest in our farm over the long term. We’re lucky that we have a long-term lease on our land through a collaboration with the Chester Agricultural Center. With this long-term lease, we’ll aim to maintain and improve the health of the soil through organic management. More broadly, we hope our farm will contribute to helping preserve this section of Orange County as an agrarian one.
But this lease also gives us a special opportunity to create win-win community relationships that reflect how powerful urban-rural relationships can be.
This is partly the reason why we are building a community kitchen on our farm. With this space, we’ll provide farming and cooking classes, create new education and employment opportunities, and host events for our community, from downtown Chester to New York City.
We hope you’ll help us make this vision a reality by donating to our ongoing Indiegogo Campaign here.
Integral to our vision of Rise & Root is the idea that our farm should be strongly linked to New York City as well as the communities of the Hudson Valley.
We have spent much of our lives pursuing activities that blur the line between traditional “urban” and “rural” activities. We cherish our relationships with organizations such as Farm School NYC, which has helped train a new generation of community gardeners, and Just Food, which promotes access to nutritious, locally grown produce in our urban communities.
We believe that food is a tool to mitigate many of the social and economic inequities that we face. Everyone should have the opportunity to feel empowered by the act of growing their own food. Everyone should have access to food that will improve their health. Everyone should be given the skills that will allow them to prepare fresh vegetables.
This is a vision that will come true only if we continue to recognize and build upon the connections between agriculture and everything else. This is where Rise & Root comes in. We’d like to build a new community kitchen and use it to host farming and cooking classes, to create new education and employment opportunities, and to create a space that we can use as a hub for our community, from downtown Chester to New York City.
We need your help to make this community kitchen a reality. To donate to our Indiegogo campaign, click here.
Why build a community kitchen on our farm?
The truth is, we already see our farm as a community hub.
But this new space will allow us to integrate our other passions into the operations of the farm, bringing together our culinary experience and interest in preservation and fermentation with our desire to bring the community together in a year-round space.
We have seen how visiting this farm has changed minds and lives, and by opening our doors to a new space, we hope to take our farming experience and the experience of visitors to the next level.
This community kitchen will lead to the reuse of an existing barn that hasn’t been in use for almost 20 years. We will add basic infrastructure into the space (bathrooms, walls, plumbing, gas lines), plus add in kitchen equipment such as sinks, stoves, a walk-in cooler, a fermentation walk-in cooler, and specialized equipment such as dehydrators and canning tools.
We will focus on sourcing produce directly from our farm and creating value-added products. This includes drying herbs for teas and herb salts, fermented food products, and traditionally canned items.
The kitchen will also have the basics of any community space, such as tables and chairs for classes. Since community members will be able to rent out the space, we will build in storage spaces to accommodate other users.
Through all of that, we hope to create a dynamic community space for learning and for coming together to share in the healing power of food.
But we need your help to make this project a reality! Learn more about how to contribute to make this kitchen a reality here.
When we began our farm two years ago, we began with a very simple vision: turn our passion for food justice and urban farming into action.
Why? Sometimes, you have to go to the core of something to figure it out.
We created a cooperative 3-acre farm in Orange County to grow nutritious food. We wanted to use this farm to build a base for education and to bring our New York City family together with our new Hudson Valley neighbors. We also wanted to make sure that this farm met our ideals of sustainable and equitable agriculture, which meant taking into account issues such as farm worker equity and the accessibility of our products to all races and socioeconomic classes.
As Karen, one of the four founding women of Rise & Root, has said, “No matter what their economics, ethnicity or race, everyone has a right to food that is good and healthy, and that is what we are trying to provide here at Rise & Root Farm.”
We think the media coverage that we have received since beginning reflects how ready our society is to start a conversation about how justice and equity play into building a strong local food economy. We’ve been featured in outlets such as Huffington Post and Mother Earth, and even have a documentary in development. From Hawthrone Valley Farm to the nearby Chester Presbyterian Church, we’ve also highly appreciated the partnerships we’ve been able to create in the Hudson Valley.
As winter nears and our second season winds down, we’re so proud of what we’ve been able to create. Now, we’re taking the next step in this enterprise through our efforts to build a community kitchen. This kitchen will allow us to create a new year-round hub on our farm to host classes, to develop new products, and to be a resource for other local farmers and food-based businesses.
Learn more about how to contribute here.
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