About the Farm

History

The Bayard Cutting Arboretum farm was established in 2012 on a parcel of land which overlooks the Connetquot River and is adjacent to an historic barn that was used by the Cutting family for their herd of Jersey milking cows. Later, the meadow was mowed and the barn used for storage until the Arboretum’s Director Nelson Sterner decided to devote a portion of the land for growing crops. The land was turned over and prepared for planting in the early spring of 2012. The main room of the barn was cleaned and painted and is now used as the information center and pick up area of the CSA.

Cutting family Jersey milking cows

cow2 cows1

The land
Almost 13 tillable acres are devoted to the CSA, however, only a small part of the acreage is under cultivation. In 2013, the main field measured 54,000 square feet. The herb bed, strawberry field, and asparagus bed together measure a little over 8,00 square feet which totaled approximately 62,000 square feet , a little short of an acre and a half under cultivation. The soil was tested prior to planting and amendments, mostly compost and organic multi -purpose fertilizer were added to increase the organic matter and mineral content of the soil. We do not use chemical fertilizer or pesticides. We use straw mulch and cultivate by hand to help control weeds.

Farming Practices
Bayard Cutting Arboretum CSA farm is not a certified organic farm, however, we sign and follow the guidelines of the Northeast Farmer’s Association of New York (NOFA-NY) Farmer’s Pledge which describes guidelines that the farmer promises to follow to ensure that the food is responsibly grown, using organic and sustainable practices. The farmer promises to grow the healthiest food possible under conditions that help preserve the land on which it is grown.

The Farmer’s Pledge ©TM 2013
WE PLEDGE THAT IN OUR FARMING, PROCESSING, AND MARKETING WE WILL:

  • Build and maintain healthy soils by applying farming practices that include rotating crops annually, using compost, cover crops, green manures, and reducing tillage.
  • Serve the health of soil, people and nature by rejecting the use of synthetic insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers.
  • Reject the use of GMOs, chemically treated seeds, synthetic toxic materials, irradiation, and sewage sludge in our farming, and all synthetic substances in post harvest handling.
  • Treat livestock humanely by providing pasture for ruminants, access to outdoors and fresh air for all livestock, banning cruel alterations, and using no hormones, GMOs or antibiotics in feed.
  • Handle raw manure and soil amendments with care.
  • Support agricultural markets and infrastructures that enable small farms to thrive.
  • Conserve natural resources including the atmosphere and climate, by reducing erosion and pollution of air, soil and water through responsible farming practices.
  • Maximize the nutritional value of food and feed by practicing careful post harvest handling.
  • Practice minimal processing for all food products to preserve the natural nutritional value of food: NO use of irradiation, ultra-pasteurization, excessive heat, synthetic preservatives, or GMO processing agents or additives and include all ingredients on labels.
  • Ensure food safety by using potable water for washing crops.
  • Reduce the ecological footprint of farms and homes by limiting energy use and converting to renewable sources of energy.
  • Reduce food miles by selling produce locally and regionally.
  • Create beneficial habitat for wildlife and encourage biodiversity.
  • Help preserve farmland.
  • Share and develop farming skills and know-how.
  • Use ethical business practices.
  • Pay a living wage to all farm workers and acknowledge their freedom of association and their right to collective bargaining.
  • Treat family members and farm workers with respect, and ensure their safety on the farm.
  • Work in cooperation with other farmers and with the neighboring community to create a more sustainable way of life.
  • Encourage the distribution of unsold but edible food to people who need it.
  • Sustain the land in healthy condition for future generations.


Why choose organic?
(-adapted from Organic Gardening for the21st Century, by John Fedor)

Healthy soils. Healthy water.  Healthy ecosystems. Healthy animals. Healthy people.

There are many reasons to choose organic.  Organic farms do not use synthetic chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. Instead, organic farms rely on natural systems—such as composting, crop rotation and beneficial insects, that create healthy soils, rich in nutrients and alive with micro organisms. Toxic runoff which can contaminate our water supply is avoided.

Much of our food travels long distances and is less beneficial for our health, community, and environment than food produced locally.  Food starts to lose nutritional value and flavor after picking.  The more it travels and the longer it spends between field and plate, the less nutritious and tasty it becomes.

Purchasing organic food and farm products from regionally-based farms strengthens the local economy and preserves open spaces by allowing farms to continue to be financially viable so that farmland can remain within our communities.

The act of transporting food and farm products over long distances requires lots of packaging and contributes to global warming.  If we make a commitment to buying organic food and farm products produced locally, we are improving our diet, strengthening our communities, and safeguarding our planet.

Why support a sustainable food and farm system?
A sustainable food and farm system is one that promotes the stewardship of land and the lives that inhabit it.  This stewardship encompasses the long term viability of our natural resource base, the health of consumers, the working conditions of farmers, the needs of communities, and the welfare of farm animals.  When you support a sustainable food and farm system, you are supporting a system that is socially just, humane, community-minded, ecologically sound, and healthy for people.

The essence of all organic techniques is to work with nature, not against it. Organic gardening is a sustainable activity: the gardener feeds the soil, the soil feeds the plants, and the plants feed the gardener.


The People

Farm Director
Farm Director Jen Campbell is pleased to return to Bayard Cutting Arboretum CSA Farm in 2014. Jen came to Bayard with nine years experience creating and managing a small 50 member CSA on the south shore of Long Island. She was responsible for producing high quality organically grown vegetables, herbs and flowers for weekly distribution to its members. She planned and maintained the field, managed the greenhouse, and coordinated and trained the member volunteers. She helped to develop and implement an ecology curriculum to teach middle school students and she educated local garden clubs and community groups through site visits and lectures. She was awarded a certificate of Master Gardener in 1993 and was named Master Gardener of the Year in 2007. She was owner of a small garden design and planting business and gained further experience working at a local nursery. Prior to creating a CSA, she developed strong organizational and interpersonal skills working in the public affairs office of a university.

In her second year, Jen plans to combine her passion and knowledge of organic gardening with her organizational skills to expand the CSA and to maintain the goals of producing high quality produce, developing a dynamic farm community, educating the public and creating a farm that is beautifully maintained and welcoming and accessible to its members and the public.

jen_cambell_pic1

Karen Valdini,
Bayard Cutting Arboretum CSA Education Coordinator. 

B.S. Food and Nutrition- S.U.N.Y Oneonta, NY
Masters of Education Elementary Ed- Dowling College, Oakdale, NY
Integrative Nutrition Certified Health Coach-Institute for Integrative Nutrition, NYC, NY

During her tenure as a middle school science and elementary enrichment teacher, Karen developed a farm curriculum based on the well known program “Edible Schoolyard” founded by Chef Alice Waters of Berkley California.  For years this program focused on teaching students the importance of being conscientious stewards of the land, growing their own food, developing better eating habits and incorporating this information into their daily lives.

Now retired from formal teaching, Karen has brought a similar program to the Bayard Cutting Arboretum and its newly founded CSA.  Children’s workshops are offered on Wednesday afternoons throughout the growing season at the CSA. In addition Karen has developed a School Field Trip Program which is now available for local school children in Grades K-5.

The basic belief of these projects is that the key to a future healthy society is to educate our children and to empower them by taking control of their eating habits.  Learning to grow their own food allows the children to get their hands dirty while digging in the soil, planting and exploring the wonders of nature.  It is an opportunity for children to learn life lessons outside the classroom.

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