FarmOn! opens new farm

Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2014 12:30 am | Updated: 9:53 am, Fri Aug 8, 2014.
By Tessa Edick
For Columbia-Greene Media


Happy to officially invite you to FarmOn! Join us at the new farm. Let’s build a victory garden at our new headquarters that will include a community center and an apprentice program to teach the business of food to young people on a best practice working farm.


The 217 acres at FarmOn! at Empire Farm, known as the Ackley’s Empire Stock Farm, will be open to the general public on Sept. 27 as part of the Friends of the Farmer Festival in Copake, an annual event to benefit the FarmOn! Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and public charity.


The announcement came at the Hootenanny! event held July 27 at the Copake Country Club, which raised $60,000 to support youth educational programming and farm initiatives at the annual farmer to table benefit dinner. Award-winning chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten prepared a farm fresh menu at the event — 100 percent of it sourced within 40 miles of our plates. At the table with hundreds of supporters and celebrities from the tri-state area were nearly 100 farmers as the guests of honor.


Dr. Mehmet Oz and John Varvatos made special on-stage appearances at the Hootenanny, participating in a live auction, which helped raise more than $60,000 to support educational programming and farming initiatives spearheaded by FarmOn! Foundation in the Hudson Valley.


In addition to the youth programs, the FarmOn! ABCSA (Community Supported Agriculture) curated and citified for ABC Carpet & Home in New York City paid $70,000 to Hudson Valley farmers through membership fees, for which members receive a bi-weekly delivery of organic produce, fruit, cheese, grass-fed meats and other provisions.


The foundation also funds FarmOn! Local School Milk Initiative by partnering with Hudson Valley Fresh to bring higher quality local milk, cow to carton in 36 hours, to the nearby Taconic Hills Central School District. We’re connecting the farm to school by subsidizing the cost of local milk for better nutrition and bringing awareness to the importance of visiting a farm.


Since the program has been implemented, children’s milk consumption has increased dramatically. We plan to expand the program to 15 school districts in the New York area, as well as SUNY college campuses, and include applied learning accreditation.


Camp FarmOn! which aims to foster the entrepreneurial spirit among youth in agriculture by allowing them to pitch agri-business ideas to a board of venture capitalists, is designed to get young people interested in farming, to show them that it is a business and that it is viable and needed.


Join us for the ribbon cutting of FarmOn! at Empire Farm on Saturday, Sept. 27 at FarmOn! at Empire Farm in Copake, as part of Friends of the Farmer — Hudson Valley Food Lover’s Festival. The event will be held rain or shine, beginning at 10 a.m.


The Friends of the Farmer Festival will feature a Disney musical artist, as well as “Meet Your Farmer” opportunities to connect families with their food choices and sources in an interactive day of music, little farmer activities, educational games, taste tests, live animals, a locavore TasteNY shopping village, local libations, farmers market and grill, CSA sign ups and introductions to extensive agriculture-based community resources, nonprofits and small businesses from throughout the Hudson Valley region.


Tickets to the festival start at $15. Children attend free. Let’s plant! Let’s eat! Victory! FarmOn! For more information, visit


Follow Tessa Edick on Twitter at @FarmOnFarmOn.


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