Loch Sheldrake, NY— With a crop of field pea cover down on some beds and black plastic covering others to prevent erosion, Hope Farm, the three-acre organic farm on SUNY Sullivan’s campus, is ready for winter. The tranquility on the farm these days comes after a successful and productive
2021 season, in which the farm produced over 12,000 pounds of organic produce used in New Hope Community’s residences and donated to local emergency food resource providers.
Run by New Hope Community and SUNY Sullivan, Hope Farm is a three-acre organic farm on the College’s campus that provides Sullivan students and New Hope’s residents a unique hands-on opportunity to learn sustainable farming techniques. Each year the farm, which includes a high tunnel, also known as a “hoop house” greenhouse, produces thousands of pounds of fresh organic vegetables that are used in New Hope’s residential homes, by the College’s Culinary Arts Program students, and donated to community nutrition programs and food pantries to combat food insecurity.
Of the more than 12,000 pounds of organic food grown in 2021, Farm Manager Megan Greene said the majority of the produce was used in New Hope Community’s 42 supported homes, while a substantial amount, more than 2,000 pounds was donated to local food pantries, including the SUNY Sullivan Food Pantry, Federation for the Homeless, St. Peter’s Food Pantry, and Sullivan County Meals on Wheels. “Our top two crops in terms of pounds harvested were potatoes at 1,392 pounds and tomatoes at 1,000 pounds,” said Greene. “Our first ginger crop was a success, and we plan to grow even more next year.”
In addition, Greene reported that the Farm hosted a six-week nutrition class series in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County, attended by New Hope Community’s Without Walls day program, and welcomed students from the Liberty Partnership Program (LPP) for two
weeks and Sullivan County BOCES for six weeks of educational programming on the Farm this season.
“Hope Farm is such an asset to our campus and the community,” said SUNY Sullivan Instructional Assistant and Community Garden Coordinator Kathryn Scullion. “I know that the LPP students who helped on the Farm this summer really embraced the work and loved the fruits and veggies that
they ate in the field, or prepared for lunch, or took home to their families. I am grateful for the donations the Farm has made to our campus Food Pantry, and the students we serve have been so excited to have farm-fresh vegetables.”
Scullion had high praise for Greene, Farm Assistant Carly Pitt, and Farm Associate Anthony. “Megan, Anthony, and Carly are a remarkable and versatile team. They are farmers, educators, advocates and tour guides. They are generous with their food, their knowledge, and their time,” said Scullion. “In addition to growing, harvesting, distributing, and donating thousands of pounds of beautiful produce, they provide enriching work and programming for New Hope residents and coworkers, and they do extensive outreach with groups from the College and local community.”
While production on the farm is done for the season, Greene said Hope Farm’s team is busy working in New Hope Community’s 3000 sq. ft. heated greenhouse.
“We produce micro greens, lettuces, and herbs through the winter for distribution to New Hope Community homes and run horticultural activities with New Hope’s Without Walls and Living Arts Center Day Programs,” said Greene. “We have some kale and salad mix growing in the unheated hoop house at the College, which we will harvest likely in February or March. After that we plan to plant some peas to harvest in spring, followed by cucumbers for an early summer harvest in the
In addition to continued programming with Sullivan BOCES and the Liberty Partnership Program next year, Greene said she hopes to expand the Farm’s partnership with Sullivan Cornell Cooperative Extension to offer more nutrition and cooking classes and to purchase a commercial dehydrator to expand the farm’s herb production to produce teas for distribution to New Hope homes and to eventually sell at the Farm’s annual plant sale and other community events.
“We’ve already experimented with drying some ginger and lemongrass, and will be working with Without Walls groups to bag, label, and taste test the tea through the winter and spring,” said Greene, who said another major goal next season is to move towards no-till on Hope Farm to preserve the soil health and structure. “We already practice ‘low-till’ agriculture, meaning we only till each bed one or two times in the growing season. However, we’d like to work towards a system that allows us to avoid tillage all together.”
For more information about Hope Farm and New Hope Community, please visit newhopecommunity.org.
About SUNY Sullivan
SUNY Sullivan is the leader of innovative higher education and a catalyst for workforce development throughout the Sullivan Catskills and beyond. Our diverse community cultivates personal growth and professional advancement, preparing students for success in a sustainable and interconnected world. A forward-looking, top-tier community college in New York, SUNY Sullivan offers over 40 degree programs, certificates, and micro-credentials for learners at all levels of their educational goals. We value critical inquiry and creativity while supporting our students in a culture of inclusion and respect. For more information, visit sunysullivan.edu.
About New Hope Community
New Hope Community is a not-for-profit human services organization providing supports for individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Established in 1975 to serve as a nurturing and caring alternative to large institutions which were found to have violated the most basic human rights and conditions, New Hope Community has become recognized as a leading provider in the human services field. In January 2020, New Hope Community merged with Select Human Services, Inc. (SHS) of Pleasantville, NY, a not-for-profit voluntary agency providing services in Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland Counties. New Hope Community’s breadth of services includes clinical and nursing care, residential services, day programming, community habilitation, self-direction, support brokers, service navigators, education, recreation and leisure activities, a robust supported employment program, summer programs for youths, and so much more. New Hope Community has always maintained a person-centered approach toward enhancing the lives of
people with disabilities and actively advocates for individual choice in a person’s efforts to live, work and participate fully in his or her community. New Hope Community and SHS, combined, provide services to over 700 people and employ more than 1,000 staff.