About Us

Essex Farm Institute is an agricultural education and research institution that aims to redefine sustainable farming. Our mission is to train farmers to build resilient, diversified farms that are economically viable, socially responsible and environmentally beneficial. We strive to redefine farming as meeting fundamental human needs and we envision a future where farms power themselves, their communities and the world from the energy of the sun.

EFI offers educational opportunities in sustainable farming in the Adirondacks and North Country, NY.  We are working with regional farmers, educational professionals, and agricultural leaders to provide a broad range of educational opportunities to farmers based on the needs of sustainable, diversified farms in our region. We aim to teach farmers of all abilities the skills they need in a variety of diversified for-profit farm environments – from mowing to management to marketing. Each training seeks to respond to the immediate expressed needs of our area farmers.

As our partnerships expand, farmers will have access to a full region of learning opportunities on a network of working farms in the Champlain Valley and beyond.


Board of Directors 2017

Lea Paine Highet, President
Lucinda Bhavsar, Vice-President
Erik Kulleseid, Treasurer
Kristin Kimball, Secretary
Andy Wekin
Maryrose Livingston

Staff Bios

Racey Henderson (Program Coordinator) is the owner and founder of Reber Rock Farm in Essex, NY with husband Nathan Henderson and partners Chad Vogel and Gwen Jamison. Racey has a dual Master’s Degree from Tufts University in Agriculture Policy (Fletcher School) and Nutrition (Friedman School). She splits her time working on agricultural capacity building and rural development issues in Francophone Africa and Essex, NY.


Essex Farm Institute began as a formalization of the success of Essex Farm in training new farmers. In 10 years of operating the farm, Mark and Kristin Kimball have trained and mentored over 50 beginning farmers who have started more than 10 new farms to date. In April 2012, Essex Farm Institute was created and a board of advisors was formed. It is a non-for profit corporation that is fiscally sponsored by the Open Space Institute’s Citizen Action Program. During its first three years, it raised over $200,000 for farmer training programs that were primarily based on Essex Farm. In 2016, training expanded to include farms and farmers across the Adirondacks and the North Country of New York. In 2016, EFI had over 250 people attend its workshops, field events and farm walks across the Adirondacks.

Founding Committee

Mark Kimball
Kristin Kimball
Steve Blood
Mike Davis
Laurie Davis
Shaun Gillilland
Linda Gillilland
Craig Lanoye
Ben Stechschulte
Marco Turco
Andy Wekin
Jori Wekin