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WNY Collaborative Farming: A Workshop
March 5 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Buffalo Go Green (BGG) and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County (CCE Erie) are hosting a workshop to explore the potential of collaborative farming in Western New York. The workshop will be held on March 5, 2022 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Participants can attend via Zoom or in-person at the Aurora Senior Citizens Center (101 King Street, East Aurora, NY, 14052).
Farm operators, Greg and Elisabeth Putney of Rise’N’Swine Farm and Michael and Stephanie Parkot of Always Something Farm, will discuss their production models. These two families have entered a collaboration that will strengthen each farm’s bottom line. Andrew Delmonte of Cooperation Buffalo will give an overview of worker-owned cooperatives. Ian McSweeny of Agrarian Trust will explain Agrarian Commons, a community-based approach to land ownership and stewardship.
After the presentations, attendees are invited to stay for a light lunch and a more in-depth conversation about how these replicable models could be implemented in Western New York to continue building a farming and food system that boosts community, equity, prosperity, and quality of life. Whether expanding on existing efforts, or creating new ventures, attendees can expect a conversation about how collaborative and inclusive approaches can help farm families improve their ability to make a decent living while contributing to a healthy and vibrant food system for Western New York.
Farmers of all ages, aspiring farmers, and all people interested in supporting a local, resilient, equitable, and ecologically sound food system are invited to participate in this workshop. Participants may come for all or part of the workshop. There is no cost to participate. Registration is required.
The number of people who can attend in-person will be limited to comply with CCE Erie’s COVID-19 Reopening Safety Plan. Registration for in-person attendance will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please note that we will follow the CDC and Erie County health and safety guidance that is in effect on the day of the event.
About the Speakers
Andrew Delmonte (they/them) is an organizer, facilitator, and business developer who believes in the power of communities and workplaces to govern themselves. Andrew serves as Executive Director of Cooperation Buffalo, which mobilizes workers to achieve economic security through cooperative business ownership in Buffalo’s marginalized communities. Cooperation Buffalo is a member of Seed Commons, a national network of locally-rooted, non-extractive loan funds that brings the power of big finance under community control. A lifelong resident of Buffalo’s West Side, Andrew has 10+ years’ experience assisting cooperatives, social enterprises, independent small business owners, and frontline community organizations with planning and management decisions, financial strategy, governance, group dynamics, and conflict resolution.
Ian McSweeney is Organization Director at Agrarian Trust, a national land trust that seeks to develop and innovate new and holistic models to address the challenges of farmland access, tenure, and transition for next generation farmers. His life’s work is focused on the human connection to soil and food. Ian began his career as a social worker focused on developing outdoor experience based education programs and went on to found a real estate brokerage and consulting company that prioritized conservation, agriculture, and community within typical land development. Before joining Agrarian Trust and founding Agrarian Commons, Ian directed a private foundation that assists landowners and farmers through customized approaches to farmland ownership, conservation, management, and stewardship.
Michael and Stephanie Parkot operate Always Something Farm in Corfu, New York. They started farming after (almost accidentally) recognizing the value of raising their own food. Michael and Stephanie soon found themselves wanting to share this with others and have fine-tuned a production and marketing model that works for them. They currently focus on raising pastured pigs such as Mangalitsa and other heritage breeds. They believe that the market for food raised ecologically and with attention to soil and community health is unlimited. They are happy to share what they have learned in their journey growing food and community.
Greg and Elisabeth Putney operate Rise’N’Swine Farm in Holland, New York. They started farming and growing a family about ten years ago. Along the way Greg and Elisabeth have developed a highly diversified operation “in which each animal has a purpose which makes them happy and results in a superior quality product.” An important component of their success has been bringing the marketing and now the processing of their animals to the farm, further strengthening their capacity to make a living farming.
This event is part of BGG’s and CCE Erie’s work as Regional Navigators in the Farmland for a New Generation program (FNG-NY). The focal point of the FNG-NY program is the New York Farmland Finder, a website that helps link farmers seeking land and landowners who want to keep their land in farming. Website users can post a farmer or farm profile, search for farmers or farmland, learn about upcoming events and browse resources. FNG-NY program is coordinated by American Farmland Trust in partnership with the State of New York.
About Buffalo Go Green
Buffalo Go Green, Inc. is an urban agriculture organization. We are growers and distributors of healthy food options however, our overarching mission is wellness and nutrition education in underserved communities. Our goal is to provide services and training to under-served populations throughout Western New York while helping to develop young minds to become leaders in Green Industries and Agriculture. We fight food injustice and work to make the food system a more equitable place for all.
About Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County (CCE Erie) uses local experience and research-supported solutions to build stronger communities. CCE Erie provides educational programs to county residents in Agriculture and Food Systems; 4-H Youth Development; Nutrition and Community Health; and Natural Resources, Sustainable Energy, and Climate.