2014-07-19 Main Street Magazine


the farm on! foundation


By Thorunn Kristjansdottir

Many of you may perhaps consider yourself a selfproclaimed
food lover, and if you are, take note:
here’s a festival for you. And if you consider yourself
a friend to the local farmers, well, this festival
is for you, too! The Friends of the Farmer Hudson
Valley Food Lover’s Festival is a celebration of local
farming and community that raises funds and
awareness for the Farm On! Foundation, fostering
the entrepreneurial spirit of youth in agriculture
in the Hudson Valley. This year’s festival will take
place over two days, July 19th and 20th at the
Copake Country Club.

What is the festival all about?
Tessa Edick is the founder of both Farm On! and
the festival, and she is a food entrepreneur having
launched many food products. Along with some
celebrity chefs they realized that farmers are the real
celebrities and they wanted to celebrate the farmers,
bringing economic development to their hard work
that feed us so well. She visited many local farms
and ended up starting a festival that brought the
farmer and local consumer together to a table so a
dialogue could begin about who makes your food
and how.
The foundation is the philanthropy of Tessa’s
food launch business, CulinaryPartnership.com.
But now she’s got a great and expansive team
involved with her: people, places, businesses and
farms related to food and farming with a focus on
local. The festival that will take place this July is the
third annual festival and Hootenanny Farm Fresh
the farm on! foundation
Fundraiser dinner with host chef Zakary Pelaccio
of Fish & Game in Hudson. Lukas Nelson &
P.O.T.R. will be the headlining music ensemble
– From FarmAid to Farm On – this is the story of
succession and the future of farming. Plus we all get
to come together, meet our farmers, and celebrate
with them while showing them our support!

There’s more to this than just a party!
The Farm On! Foundation is fostering the entrepreneurial
spirit of youth in agriculture. They
started with a summer camp. In it’s second year,
Camp Farm On! will sponsor 20 students July
8-12 in a one week summer camp where kids visit
local farms and ag related businesses to formulate
a profitable solution and pitch their ideas in teams
to a shark tank – real live venture capitalists with
notable investors and celebrities. In development is
coursework and accredited curriculum in partnership
with SUNY Cobleskill, Questar III and
AdultEd, Cornell Cooperative Extension, 4H and
Taconic Hills High School for pilot programs.
“We want kids participating in Camp Farm On!
to know farming is not only cool, it can be a highly
profitable business. Paring agriculture with an ROI
business mentality makes for viable livelihoods and
gives the next generation of farmers the tools to
succeed today. Only then can we talk about succession
and the future of farming,” said Tessa.

What’s a starmer?
The first festival was inspired to celebrate the
farmer as the real celebrity – the starmer. The first
festival started at the same time as the Farm On!
Foundation was established. It’s about the future
of farming – raising your replacement and the
story of succession. Farmers are 60 years old, if the
collective “we” don’t bring awareness to our food
choices and sources – which is what they do at the
festival – how will the farmers sustain profitability
and their children maintain viable livelihoods at
family farms? Therefore one of the main goals of
the festival is to bring awareness and appreciation
for the farmers.
“Experience meeting your local farmer to
change the way you eat. Understand where your
food comes from – who makes it and nutrition
density will make you look and feel great. Opt out
of processed food. We cannot fix our broken food
system we trusted to feed us well – we can only
teach the youth honest food and responsible eating.
Keep our local community going!” exclaimed
founder Tessa Edick.
Tessa continued by explaining the details of the
foundation and festival: “The Farm On! Foundation
funds Camp Farm On!, Taconic Hills Harvest
Club, Courses and Farm Tours at CLC Town
summer camps. By attending the festival and the
Hootenanny you support the Farm On! Foundation.
Sponsors and patrons also generously donate.
And we greatly appreciate everyone’s support.”

What does the future hold for Farm On!?
What’s next on the horizon?
Tessa answered that easily and simply stated, “To
change the way we eat, meet your farmer and
inspire students to opt out of processed food. The
next move is to build course work and curriculum
that will hopefully get accredited for our camp.
Our dream would be to own a working farm as
our educational site. It would be our foundation
for a working classroom that includes teaching
everything from planting to ownership of a small
business and everything in between.”
“I’d like to take a moment to give a special
thanks to our great sponsors: Whole Foods, John
Varvatos, Copake Country Club, Dodge Ram,
Specialty Food Trade, Maple Hill Creamery, Ginsberg’s,
Chobani, BluHomes, Farm 2 Consumer,
Harney & Sons, and all of our other fabulous sponsors
plus the support of Zak Pellacio and Lukas
Nelson. And of course this couldn’t happen without
our amazing farmers!” exclaimed Edick.

A few more details about the event
As Farm On’s! press release states: For the third
consecutive year, Farm On! Friends of the Farmer
Festival is organizing two fundraising events at
Columbia County’s Copake Country Club. The
first, is the July 19th’s ‘Hootenanny!’ with host chef
Zak Pelaccio (who’s newly opened Fish & Game
is committed to serving local and foraged ingredients)
who will carve a lamb spit-roast, in addition
a local farmer and his wife being seated at each
table, giving guests a first hand experience meeting
the people who make their food. The ‘Hootenanny’
will be held lakeside at Copake Club Golf
from 6-11pm, which will include a Hudson Valley
cheese course, golf cart drive-in movie sponsored by
Whole Foods.
The 2013 Friends of the Farmer Festival’s music
and stage will be sponsored by John Varvatos, who
will be joining us at the festival and feature a performance
by Lukas Nelson & P.O.T.R. The festival
is designed to engage the community with experiences
in local food, meet your farmer opportunities,
a farmer’s market and vendors with local libations.
There will also be a wide range of kid-friendly
activities including a baby petting zoo, pony rides
and more. In addition a “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere
Barn to Belly – Meet your Farmer Mixer,”
that kicks off a Q+A celebrating the farmer as the
real food celebrity under the summer sun, lakeside
at the Copake Country Club – the heartland of

Copake Country Club is located at 44 Golf Course
Road, Craryville, NY 12521 overlooking Copake
Lake between Catskill and Berkshire Mountains. For
more information about the events, directions and to
purchase tickets, go to www.FriendsoftheFarmer.com
or call 917-722-2438.

Copyright © 2014 Main Street Magazine