A new outpost of the National Young Farmers’ Coalition is launching in the Catskills, and this Friday they’re throwing a big party and dance at the American Legion Hall in Delhi.
Even if you’re not a farmer, you’re invited. Morgan O’Kane and DJ Dirtyfinger, both of Brooklyn, will be playing, and everyone is invited to bring a dish to pass. (These are farmers we’re talking about, so the food will be delicious.)
“The event is open to all who farm in the Catskills, as well as those who support farms,” said Kate Marsiglio, a farmer who runs Stony Creek Farmstead in the Delaware County town of Walton and who is one of the local NYFC organizers.
The goal of the new local branch of the NYFC is to “unite all farmers in the Catskills,” Marsiglio said. “Young and old. Experienced and Green. Organic and conventional. We have so much to gain from each other.”
The organization focuses on farmers who are in their first 10 years of running a farm, and aims to bring them together in a grassroots organization that will be both a community and a political player in the complex landscape of agricultural politics in the Catskills and beyond.
While there are many local organizations that hope to strengthen local farms — Pure Catskills, the Watershed Agricultural Council, the Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship are a few — none are grassroots political organizations in the tradition of 19th-century farmer advocacy organizations like the National Grange.
Tianna Kennedy, who runs Star Route Farm in the Otsego County town of Worcester, is another organizer of the Catskills NYFC group.
“The Catskills have a rich agrarian history and a rich agrarian future,” she said. “A group of us wanted to revivify the Grange tradition (a social tradition in farming) to provide an opportunity for farmers to enjoy each other and to learn from each other in a casual if not celebratory environment. Mostly, it's an excuse to chat with your neighbor on neutral ground.”
In addition to planning parties, Kennedy has created a Facebook group where local farmers can share tips and resources.
Farmer Party and Pot-Luck. National Young Farmers Coalition. Friday, May 1, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The American Legion Hall, 41 Page Ave., Delhi.