Hope Farm is an organic farm project initiated in collaboration with SUNY Sullivan’s Sustainability Team and Culinary Arts Program. This health-focused farm resides on a three-acre plot, provided by SUNY Sullivan and located on their academic campus, just 2 miles down the road from New Hope Community’s main campus. Our aim is to increase experiences and opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to become self-reliant and develop their capabilities, allowing them to become active members of the community through agricultural jobs and community volunteer work.
Established in 2015, Hope Farm has bloomed into a bustling hub for our farm team, day programs, and community partners. Extensive vegetable gardens, perennial fruits, and an abundance of flowers are planted, grown, and harvested daily during the growing season. As an organic farm, we do not use pesticides or chemicals to grow our food. We rely on sustainable and soil-building practices, such as adding organic compost, crop rotations, and cover cropping. This ensures high quality and nutritious produce, while having a minimal impact on the environment. In 2021, we produced over 12,000 pounds of fresh vegetables that were distributed to our residences, used by SUNY Sullivan’s Culinary Arts Students in meal preparation, and donated to local emergency food resource providers.
Growth by Growing
Hope Farm is an expansion of our Greenhouse Program offering hands-on educational, therapeutic and recreational benefits. This program encourages people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to learn about agriculture and horticulture and provides an integrated, hands-on approach to healthy eating. Incorporating permaculture principles, diversified planting, irrigation swales, and experiential learning opportunities, Hope Farm exposes the people New Hope supports to the joy and satisfaction of eating food they’ve grown themselves.
During the off season, our Farm team heads to our 3,000 square foot heated greenhouse to prepare for the next planting season. Among many activities, they plant new seedlings, propagate house plants, and grow micro greens, lettuces, and herbs. New Hope’s Without Walls and Living Arts Center Day Programs are fully integrated in each step of the growing process. The Day Program groups are currently working with the Hope Farm Team and the Therapeutic Riding Program Team to develop recipes for animal treats using produce “seconds” from the farm.
Collaborating with SUNY Sullivan and Community PartnersSUNY Sullivan’s Culinary Arts Program has embedded Hope Farm into its curriculum. This Farm-to-Table collaboration produces food using sustainable practices that is utilized in students’ culinary creations. Using a hands-on approach, we educate students, the individuals New Hope supports, community members, and employees about the cultivation of food and provide direct access to high quality, locally grown fresh produce.
Hope Farm provides applied learning opportunities for not only New Hope residents who work and volunteer on the farm, but also our neighbors within our community. We collaborate with Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County to offer nutrition and cooking classes on the farm. Liberty Partnership Program (LPP) and Sullivan County BOCES students also look forward to attending educational programming held on the farm during the growing season. Hope Farm staff includes individuals employed through New Hope’s Supported Employment Program, who assist with teaching educational programming to students, community members, and participants in our Without Walls and Living Arts Center Day Programs. The farm welcomes volunteers, local students, and community members who are interested in learning about sustainable growing and our organic practices.
Though most of our produce is used in our residential homes, in 2021 more than 2,000 pounds was donated to local organizations that combat food insecurity. Some of our partners include SUNY Sullivan Food Pantry, Federation for the Homeless, St. Peter’s Food Pantry, and Sullivan County Meals on Wheels.
In alignment with SUNY Sullivan’s commitment to Sustainability and NHC’s holistic approach to supporting individuals with disabilities, we are committed to building an environmentally sustainable, inclusive, and community-minded space where all are welcome to pursue opportunities for education, recreation, and wellness.
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