Emotions roiled to the surface as Glynwood and the Open Space Institute met with neighbors last week in New Paltz to explain their farm business incubator project. Key to their turmoil was the perception that Brook Farm Project would be destroyed.
Glynwood president Kathleen Frith stated that Glynwood would like to work with Brook Farm Project in continuing their community interactions, but would not allow Brook Farm Project use of the farmland or the farm house. Lee Reich, a member of the Brook Farm Project board, stated that doing so would be taking the “farm” out of Brook Farm Project. “It’s hard to farm without a farm,” he said.
Reich was among several fans of Brook Farm who came to June 4’s meeting at Deyo Hall at Historic Huguenot Street. They see the proposed farmer training project as killing off a beloved, local community supported agriculture farm.
Glynwood is a not-for-profit organization devoted to strengthening agriculture and small and mid-sized farms. They run a successful CSA called Glynwood Farm in Cold Spring in Putnam County.
They’re partnering with the Open Space Institute (OSI) — which bought 857 acres from Mohonk Mountain House owners, Smiley Brothers Inc., back in 2011. Glynwood’s Hudson Valley Farm Business Incubator would occupy 323 acres of that land.
But the sticking point comes down to fewer acres than that. It’s the roughly 20 acres that Brook Farm Project now uses. They’re leasing the land from OSI, but that rental expires on Dec. 31, 2013. Glynwood would take over on Jan. 1, 2014.
Supporters asked Glynwood and OSI’s representatives to allow Brook Farm to stay — or to at least make it more than a bit player in its incubator project.
Frith told the crowd she’d like to include Brook Farm and make them a part of that project, possibly continuing the education programs they’re currently running. But she also admitted that Glynwood would be taking over that land. When one woman equated the Glynwood project with a corporate buyout, Frith balked.