"Getting kids to help out, get their hands dirty and learn where their food comes from can be an invaluable lesson," says Michael Pollan. "If you belong to a CSA you should look to see if the farm has days when members can join to harvest and plant vegetables, fruits and flowers."
Michael Pollan is the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, in which he explains how our food not only affects our health but has far-reaching political, economic, and environmental implications. He has written other books about food and consistently talks about the food crisis.
Johanna Mansfield may have read Pollan or just has that sixth sense that Mom's have to know when to walk the walk and when to shovel the dirt. With her two children, Serena, 9 and Aaron, 7, she volunteers their time to learn and get plenty dirty. When I ran into them, the three were learning how to plant potatoes.
"My son had eczema when he was young," she said "I wanted to feed him organic but never thought I could find a farm in Rockland County--I thought I would have to go upstate or into Orange County."
The Mansfield family is one of almost 200 families who belong to Cropsey Community Farm and who come once a week, for 25 weeks, from the end of May to way into November, to receive 8-10 pounds of freshly harvested, organically grown produce plus access to their year-round program of farm workshops.
"It really feels like I am learning science," said Serena, while her brother Aaron was very busy digging with Farmer Adam. The two were completely emerged in their task, sun on their faces; big smiles and dirt on their hands, learning where their food comes from and how hard it is to get it from farm to table. What's more is that they were talking to the very person who grows their food, learning from him and planting their very own crops. Running back and forth in the field; experiencing this fascinating place with all it has to offer, they were in the moment.
Serena told me she wants to be a nurse and a fashion designer and I believe she certainly will realize her dream and remember all the days Mom Johanna brought her and Aaron to the farm to learn how important it is to stay healthy, be close to the land and know who grows their food.
Shares are still available for the 2016 season.
Cropsey Community Farm, a project of the Rockland Farm Alliance, uses organic and biodynamic growing practices. They strive always to build the soil rather than deplete it, leave the land in better shape than it started in, grow nutritious food, and be part of a healthy ecosystem. http://www.rocklandfarm.org
The farm also offers a Junior Farmer Program where children learn about sustainable agriculture, healthy living and environmental stewardship through discovery, play and plenty of time getting their hands dirty working on the farm.
A staff of farmers and education specialists will lead children through farming workshops, science experiments, planting and harvesting, crop sampling, bug hunts, beekeeping workshops, raw cooking activities, nature walks, arts and crafts, and highly interactive organic and biodynamic agriculture education.
Pick Up Places:
1. Cropsey Community Farm, 220 South Little Tor Road, New City, NY 10956 Follow signs for pick-up. TUESDAY 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm SATURDAY 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
2. Hungry Hollow Co-op, 841 Chestnut Ridge Road, Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977 Pick-up is at cash register. SATURDAY 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
3. Nyack Farmers’ Market, Main Street Parking Lot, Downtown Nyack, NY 10960 Pick-up is at RFA/Cropsey Community Farm Booth. THURSDAY 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
4. Valley Cottage Library, 110 Rt. 303, Valley Cottage, NY 10989 Inquire at main desk for directions to pick-up area. TUESDAY 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
General Vegetable Shares, self-packed at Cropsey Farm ($750);
• Pre-Packaged Vegetable Shares for pick-up at Hungry Hollow Co-op in Chestnut Ridge, NY, the Nyack Farmers’ Market, or the Valley Cottage Library ($790);
• Work Shares ($650 after rebate applied upon completion of 16 volunteer hours);
• Cut-Your-Own Flower Shares ($50);
• Cut-Your-Own Herb Shares ($45).
History of the Farm:
Cropsey Community Farm is the largest CSA Model farm in the NY metro area. The historic 25 acres of farmland in New City were saved from development in the early 2000s, and the property is now farmed in harmony with nature using all biodynamic, sustainable methods. Cropsey produces the region’s most flavorful, nutrient-rich produce 12 months per year in the fertile fields and hoop houses.
Cropsey's CSA or Community Supported Agriculture, provides a family with a share of the farm’s delicious harvest for a full 25-week growing season from June through November. CSA members enjoy weekly baskets of over 40 varieties of fresh, seasonal produce, herbs and cut flowers, plus free access to our monthly farming, cooking and beekeeping workshops.
Cropsey Farm was purchased by the first generation of Cropseys in 1893, when the landscape of Rockland County rolled gently over the terrain of more than 500 farms. Jim Cropsey, the grandson of the man who purchased the acreage, spent much of his life cultivating the beloved Cropsey Farm that became a regional landmark during the latter half of the 20th century. As farmland began to give way to residential developments around Rockland County after the construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge, Cropsey Farm continued to thrive until Jim and his wife, Pat Cropsey, retired in 1999.
In 2006, the Cropseys sold their 25-acre plot to the Town of Clarkstown through Rockland County’s Open Space Program. Rockland Farm Alliance then signed a lease to maintain the land as a working farm, thus establishing Cropsey Community Farm in 2011.
Jim and Pat Cropsey continue to live on the property of their beautiful farm, residing in the sandstone farmhouse that has bore witness to centuries of local history since its construction by the Blauvelt brothers in 1769.
Cropsey Community Farm
220 S. Little Tor Rd.
New City, NY 10954