A letter from our Chair…
Last year was a hallmark year for the Essex Farm Institute. We worked with educators, experts, and farmers to develop a comprehensive Farmer Training Program with an emphasis on teaching aspiring, first-generation farmers to make socially and environmentally responsible choices that are economically viable. We also welcomed our first executive director, produced our first annual report, and exceeded our financial goals – all with your incredible support.
This year will bring another important shift for EFI. Diversified, sustainable agriculture has made a resurgence here in the Adirondacks, and just as farmers need to adapt with the growing conditions, our organization is making necessary changes to strengthen its foundation and broaden its partnerships in the region. As part of this change, we will be saying goodbye to Michele Drozd, EFI’s first executive director, and welcoming Racey Henderson as our new program coordinator. We are grateful for Michele’s important work in helping us realize our new direction and wish her the best in her next project. Racey brings a wealth of farming knowledge and community development experience to EFI and we are very excited to have her lead our new educational programming.
The Essex Farm Institute will no longer be offering apprenticeship programs on Essex Farm. Instead, we are working together with our many partners and farmers to bring a diverse array of agricultural educational programs to various farms and locations in the Champlain Valley. Our mission and vision remain the same: to support, promote, and train farmers to build resilient diversified farms that are economically viable, socially responsible, and environmentally beneficial. But, by rethinking how we learn, how we teach, and how we share generations of valuable agricultural knowledge, we hope to reach a broader audience and, in turn, create greater regional impact – ensuring the future of sustainable farming and healthy, local food.
More information on our exciting new programs for 2016 will be coming soon.
Best regards and sincere thanks for your support,
Lea Paine Highet
Essex Farm Institute