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See you at Empire Farm for a Hootenanny

Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2016 12:30 am
By Tessa Edick
For Columbia-Greene Media

My name is Tessa Edick and I eat. I know where 90 percent of my food comes from and make a conscious choice to eat local daily. I opt out of processed food and invest in my farming community.

FarmOn! is my mission to change the way you eat by bringing awareness to food choices and sources and connecting you to seed, soil and the soul of farming — the people that make your food with impactful experiences like the Hootenanny this weekend.

Everything you ever need to know you learn on a farm. It’s meaningful. It’s rewarding. And most of all it’s delicious. Farming is the most noble profession I know. It returns our children to the farm with excitement, which leads them curiously in the kitchen and teaches them values that promise a commendable work ethic, rewarding and viable livelihoods with a respect for the environment and our bodies that all starts with pulling a carrot and cooking it too.

Every kid in America should serve on a farm. This isn’t disruption, it’s vital for the next generation to feed us. And it fills the succession gap in farming, necessary to rebuild local communities and rural economies with economic development, health and wellness.

While I cannot fix the broken food system single-handedly, I can FarmOn! I can do something. I can inspire the next generation to learn to earn, to lead, to cook and to feed. Our children are the future of food. And if they experience the source of food early on in their lives — where it comes from, how it grows, the hard work it takes, smart economics, systems and organization, accountability, accounting and taste — they will take that with them.

There will be a shift in the way we eat because they will demand transparency and truth. It will change food. And it will preserve the 1 percent of family farms currently feeding 90 percent of us and remind us to value our health before it is gone.

It’s a HOOT! Celebrate local agriculture in our farming community at Empire Farm with a dinner featuring whole local spit roasted pig from Sir William Farm, rotisserie chicken from Yellow Bell Farm, sweet corn succotash from Holmquest Farm, tomatoes, beets, fennel, potatoes, dairy, herbs, fruit, bread and eggs from other family farms, including McEnroe, Berry Farm, Ironwood Farm, Mx Morningstar Farm, Rock Steady Farm, Hudson Valley Fresh, Hawthorne Valley Farm, Sky Farm, Bread Alone, Pigasso Farm and more — all just down the road. The meal will raise funds and awareness for youth education programs in agriculture at the FarmOn! Foundation.

The epic meal will take place at 8 p.m. today at Empire Farm, a historic farm in the Hudson Valley. Five hundred guests will welcome New York City’s awarded No. 1 Zagat chef Alfred Portale of Gotham Bar and Grill and Wright Food & Co. in our Victory Garden reception with 100 local farmers as our guests. Share a meal and conversation about food education and farm preservation that starts with the next generation to feed us — our youth.

The sixth annual event will offer a cocktail hour 6-8 p.m., complete with live music, a dozen local vendors in the farm market, local libations, Hudson Valley Seafood oyster boat, silent auction and ingredients from the farm at the SUNY/Cornell student run Ag-Academy, who custom grow for New York City restaurants like Gotham Bar and Grill including Spotted Pig, abc Kitchen and Fish & Game Hudson.

There is lots of lip-service about a movement in food, but little talk about food movement and access. We pay distributors mostly because we have trusted our food system — and the government — to feed us well while they get rich.

Meanwhile, our family farms are in the fields struggling to meet ends meet. While our new demand for organic food is hitting over $13 billion in sales this year — up another billion dollars from last year and rapidly growing — family farms are suffering.

We can change this trend together. Food dollars clearly indicate demand about what we want on our plates, buy corporations aren’t backing the very people growing that food. They are using science and fuel and chemicals and advertising to modify it and manufacture it without use of a family farmer or paying them fairly for work so needed for strong rural communities and offer you instead cheap food that’s cheating your health. That is just wrong.

So I’m standing up for my agricultural community and you must too. Everything I ever needed to know I learned on a farm and now I’m sharing the experience with you. Eat with your neighbors who feed you and talk about it too!

The connection you have to food changes the way you live and your choices for an active healthy lifestyle. Strong rural economies are the backbone of America.

Shake the hands that feed you this Saturday in a benefit that goes beyond taste to make a difference. FarmOn! For tickets and information, go to FarmOnFoundation.org or text FARM to 56512 PLEDGE* your support (*message/data rates may apply). See you at the Farm!

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