Give thanks for arts and agriculture

Posted: Thursday, November 27, 2014 12:30 am
By Tessa Edick
For Columbia-Greene Media


As you fully slip into that tryptophan dream this afternoon, think about the harvest: what you ate, how it was made, where it came from, what it impacts and fantasize about all the goodness that comes locally.


Celebrate the farmer — America’s heartthrob on a tractor who works tirelessly in any weather (thank those in Buffalo!) to provide nourishment. Be thankful for the food on our tables today and every day and make local sourcing a priority! Devote your gratitude to the family farm and make an early New Year’s resolution to plan a visit and shake the hands that feed you.


From the farm to your table is the only directive we can collectively count on to make conscious decisions to source honestly-made goods from any direct buying program.


Being a locavore is easy! It makes you joyful, functioning and fulfilled in every way. It’s a gratifying lifestyle that begs for answers about how our food system got so over processed and our habits so focused on saving that we actually spend more to come up empty — preferring “super size” over real value and underappreciating the rich resources that surround us in the Hudson River Valley that are so very rewarding.


Farming has sustained the Hudson Valley for more than 400 years. Give thanks that art and agriculture are rooted in our Hudson Valley landscape and once again turn to the neighborhood for fresh food and finds that make local provisions everything we need, and give back, too!


When you connect to seed and soil you learn how valuable it is to spend in your own back yard buying from people you can trust — be it a farmer that feeds you, a designer that clothes you from local fibers or craftsmen’s furnishings felled from our woods for comfort in your home. Come together to strengthen our health and wellness as people, a community and local economies with mindful spending.


Make a difference this Thanksgiving weekend and opt out of the yearly “Black Friday psychosis,” as Basilica Hudson Co-Founder of the second annual Farm & Flea Melissa Auf der Maur brilliantly puts it, and come to Black Friday Soiree (free and open to the public) to shop this holiday.


“I thought wow, what a perfect day to celebrate the alternative to Black Friday shopping, which is buying one-of-a-kind things made, grown, found or collected promoting the talents and resources within our own community,” Auf der Maur says.


As an urban Canadian from Montreal, Auf der Maur discovered the rural Hudson Valley thanks to her life partner Tony Stone. “The Basilica’s 19th century repurposed factory is a geographical perfection and we fell in love with the beauty of that building, met the former owner and took over what he had set out to do — create a gathering place for the community.”


It happened very naturally from there as these creative directors started having events with the building “as a central muse in its 17,000 square feet of industrial perfection and we just wanted to fill it with anything and everything — we have a wedding business and in our own programming, me as a musician and Tony as a film maker — we are inspired by what’s going on in the area as far as local talent and organizations,” so they draw on experience in their respective fields to bring thoughtfully curated events to the local community while inviting people from outside the area to discover Hudson in the heart of our agricultural region.


The couple also produces a musical festival “Basilica Soundscape” each September which embodies all of their artistic programming in one, then added Farm & Flea in 2013 because as Auf der Maur explains, “It became so clear to me as I fell in love with the area that the talents in the region and history of artists and agriculture have had a strong hold here for hundreds of years. So, personally, as a fan of vintage and one-of-a-kind things, I fell in love and so anything I can do to celebrate one of a kind people or one of a kind things, I will do. And so that’s a big part of the inspiration is being thankful for unbelievable talent and the crossover with the farmers and cultural people in this area I find so exciting. Last year 3,500 people attended Farm & Flea over the Thanksgiving weekend and it was the most effortless success the Basilica ever had, so for me, it was a sign that Hudson is on the map as destination of quality. So this is a real celebration moment.”


And celebrate we will! Come join the fun and indulge in the best Columbia County has to offer in resilient agriculture, unparalleled talent and vibrant community collaboration with food and spirits from the farm — all under one roof along the Hudson River in what Conde Nast Traveler calls the “superlative farmer’s market” in Hudson, where we can all give thanks.


Join us at the Basilica Farm & Flea in collaboration with Hudson River Exchange this weekend. You won’t be disappointed in local! FarmOn!


Contact the author at tessa@


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