New Video Showcases Farming Crisis in the Catskills

November 15, 2018

As economic pressures mount, Catskills’ farms are threatened with closure. FarmHearts, a fund to support family farms, steps in to fill the gaps and the community rallies to support.

Livingston Manor, NY – Catskill Mountainkeeper released a new video about the urgent crisis facing Catskills family farms.  Every day, our region’s small farmers face an uphill battle to produce products sustainably. These farmers are unable to compete with industrial megafarms, have been abandoned by the agricultural co-ops that are supposed to protect them, and are crippled by a broken federal milk pricing system--the tragic result is that many of our small farms are being driven out of business. Mountainkeeper produced the video to build support for a critical new resource to help farmers succeed: the FarmHearts fund.

 


The video features panoramic drone shots of Catskills farms, powerful footage of two local dairies in action, and a glimpse into the huge challenges of running a family farm in the modern day. It includes interviews with farmers who are fighting to make it work, and experts in the field of sustainable agriculture. The video also introduces viewers to the FarmHearts fund--an emergency relief fund providing grants to farmers right now, when they are in desperate need of resources and support.

“Farms are the backbone of the Catskills’ economy and communities,” said Ramsay Adams, Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Executive Director. “Our family farms define us, and in the face of industrial agribusiness demanding that farms either get huge or die, we’re pushing back with the FarmHearts fund. FarmHearts supports our farmers, providing grants when the funds are most needed. We want our dairies to thrive, to continue providing good, healthy, local, sustainable food for our towns. The only way to do that is to support the families that run the farms while fighting for change at the regional, state, and national levels.”

FarmHearts provides much-needed emergency relief and economic assistance to help keep our small farms viable and operating. Small-scale farmers in need of urgent help can apply for grants ranging from $500 to $2,500 through the FarmHearts website (farmheartsny.org) or by mail. FarmHearts also offers information and referral for technical assistance, grants, and other resources that support small farms.

The fund is being recognized throughout the region as a key resource to sustaining Catskills farms. Today, November 15, the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan announced that it awarded FarmHearts a 2018 Innovation Grant. And Saturday, November 17 the Callicoon Apple Barn is hosting “Reservoir”: an art exhibit and silent auction with works by 50+ artists to benefit FarmHearts. The event will feature  works by people who don’t usually make art, and new pieces by artists working in a different way.

“Family farms have the potential to be good land stewards that sustain on- and off-farm biodiversity, water quality, healthy families and communities,” said Tokya Dammond, sustainable agriculture expert.  “There are regions in and adjacent to the Catskill mountains which have historically and can in the future contribute to our land stewardship and communities. By strategically supporting the dairies here, through market and processing programs, we can keep these farm businesses going, allowing this and future generations the opportunity for local, fresh, sustainable food.”

Catskill Mountainkeeper will be rolling out the video, directed by Kate Hagerman and produced by Angel Gates Productions, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and invites all media outlets, organizations, and individuals to share the video with their networks. The video can be viewed online at farmheartsny.org. Contact Katherine Nadeau at katherine@catskillmountainkeeper.org for the video file itself.

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