COPAKE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A local farm is finding that young people are leaving the family business and heading to the city. The owner’s created a foundation to keep local small farms afloat.
Tessa Edick, who owns Empire Farm in Copake, originally left farm life to go to the big city, but she realized home is where the heart is. Her goal is now to preserve family farming in America.
“With the gap of American farmers aging out, I wanted to think about how are we going to fill that gap of farming,” Edick said.
Edick created the Farm On! Foundation. It’s a non-profit in the Hudson Valley helping small farmers create sustainable farms while also providing healthy food choices to local schools.
“If you could bring a business idea to help the farm further and rent it or be a part of that collaboration to sustain farming you end up with a job that pays,” Edick said.
One of those collaborations linked 11 farms with several local schools.
“They pulled their award-winning milk to bring to the lunchroom, cow to kid in 36 hours,” Edick said.
The program helps keep local dollars local. The foundation’s not only helping existing farms, but it’s generating excitement for future farmers with the help of former NBA player Eric Williams.
“I had the best team doctors, best physicians. I thought I had it all, but the one thing I didn’t know out of all of those resources was where my food came from,” Williams said.
The “Slam Dunk Your Veggies” program enlists the former Celtic to help teach kids how to grow and eat healthy food.
“Had I known where exactly to get my food fresh, I probably could have performed a little bit better,” Williams said.
The foundation hopes to improve performance in the field rather than on the field to keep small farms going.
“We’re here to help. We’re here to Farm On! And we think it’s really important,” Edick said.
If farmers are in need of help, they’re asked to reach out to the foundation.
The foundation is able to do its work through grants and fundraising. Farm On! will hold its Farm Disco fundraiser this Saturday.