Westchester Land Trust (WLT), the Community Center of Northern Westchester and D.I.G. Farm in North Salem have entered into a partnership to use WLT’s Sugar Hill Farm in Bedford Hills to grow vegetables for community members in need.
Food will be grown by volunteers of all three groups and distributed at the Community Center in Katonah. Nearly 2,000 families from 36 Westchester communities relied on The Community Center for Northern Westchester in 2018 and benefited from more than 119,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables, half of which were grown locally.
“Westchester Land Trust is committed to this program because it demonstrates the significant amount of food that can be grown on a modest-size parcel of land ensures farmland stays in protection and makes a tangible impact on the health and well-being of members in our community,” said Kristen O’Hara, Westchester Land Trust’s Conservation Program Coordinator. “Supporting local growers and neighbors in need goes hand in hand with our farmland conservation work. As an organization dedicated to the permanent protection of land, air and water in our region, we recognize that farms feed us and provide a host of other public benefits. As a result, the protection of local farmland is a top priority for our organization.”
The program will be co-led by Allison Turcan, founder and farmer of D.I.G. Farm in North Salem. Turcan will collaborate with Westchester Land Trust and Community Center staff to coordinate the growing program on a half-acre garden plot at WLT’s headquarters on Harris Road.
In 2016, Turcan founded D.I.G. (Dealing In Good) Farm after returning from a yearlong work exchange with the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF). D.I.G Farm is committed to making healthy farm fresh food available to all. Turcan is a member of the Bionutrient Food Association, and an active member of the local agriculture community. She is respected for her volunteer recruitment skills and popular programming featuring from farm-fresh community dinners and engaging educational programs.
“Volunteers are the key to our success, and we look forward to welcoming individuals and groups to Sugar Hill Farm to help launch our 2019 growing season,” said Turcan. “No experience is necessary; we’ll teach you all you’ll need to know!”
The Community Center of Northern Westchester seeks to improve the well-being and self-sufficiency of neighbors in need in Northern Westchester by providing food, clothing, programs, and other resources. In 2018, 37 percent of their food recipients are children.
“We are so delighted to partner with D.I.G. and Westchester Land Trust to plant, grow and harvest at Sugar Hill Farm for our neighbors in need.
Thanks to this collaboration the nearly 2,000 families who turn to us for help each year will have increased access to locally grown fresh produce in our food pantry. Thank you to D.I.G and WLT for helping to reduce hunger in our community! We look forward to seeing our friends and neighbors ‘Digging In’ at the farm during the WLT community farm days,” said Clare Murray, Executive Director of Community Center of Northern Westchester.
Westchester Land Trust’s previous 8-year partnership with Feeding Westchester established a food growing program that yielded an average of 8,028 servings of fresh food each season. Through this expanded collaborative the transport of produce is a shorter distance, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of the program.
About D.I.G. Farm
D.I.G Farm (Dealing In Good) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to reconnect community members with our natural source of food: the farm. D.I.G. Farm brings education and awareness to community members about locally produced sustainable food, how to preserve and repurpose, and how to make choices that help instead of harm the earth. D.I.G. Farm hosts a podcast, “Getting Dirty,” which can be heard on spreaker.com/show/getting-dirty.
Farm Volunteer Days at Sugar Hill Farm
Are you interested in gardening? Join Sugar Hill Farm at 403 Harris Road, Bedford Hills, in planting, growing, and harvesting produce for neighbors in need.
Volunteer days are Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the following dates: June 4 and 18 July 2 and 16; August 6 and 20; September 3 and 17; October 1 and 15; June 13 and 27, July 11 and 25; August 15 and 29; September 12 and 26; October 10 and 24; Rain or Shine.
Family Volunteer days are Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 27, Sept. 28 and Aug. 31. Join the farm for mini cooking lessons using fresh garden vegetables.
For more information, email Kristen@westchesterlandtrust.org or visit westchesterlandtrust.org.