December 5, 2008

Contact: Laurie Davis, Adirondack Harvest, 518-962-4810 x404
Rob Hastings, Rivermede Farm, 518-576-2021

Adirondack Harvest Farmer Receives Prestigious Glynwood Harvest Award

Keene Valley, NY – Rivermede Farm owner-manager Robert “Rob” Hastings of Keene Valley, NY, was selected from more than 60 nominees from more than 20 states for the sixth annual Glynwood Harvest Farmer Award. The awards recognize leaders in the farm community who practice sustainable production and have developed cutting edge approaches to production, processing or marketing.

The Glynwood Center of Cold Spring, NY, is a not-for-profit organization that helps communities sustain local agriculture and preserve farmland through economically-productive and environmentally-sensitive practices. The Glynwood Harvest Awards Selection Committee includes representatives of farming, conservation, culinary and community food security interests from across the U.S. The awards were presented at Beacon Restaurant in New York City.

Glynwood Center President Judith LaBelle says, “There has been an increase in projects designed to bring farming back to regions that until recently had been written off and in the development of innovative techniques that work to extend the farming season in regions where the growing months had previously been considered too short to bother. Rob Hastings has done a terrific job and we were pleased to honor him.”

Hastings is recognized as an exceptional innovator and community leader for New York’s Adirondack Mountain region. He has pioneered advances in season extension and pesticide-free production of vegetables, fruits, maple, cut flowers and holiday greens.

Hastings uses a photovoltaic system to meet the farm’s electrical needs and plans to install a geothermal or solar heating system to heat his greenhouses. He says, “I hope to be ninety percent free of oil dependency in the next three years.”

Hastings is a founding member of Adirondack Harvest, a community-based farms and foods program (www.adirondackharvest.com). He serves on Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) Horticulture Sub-Committee, helping to guide the regional research, education and outreach program that funds projects to enhance the productivity and profitability of farms in New York’s six northernmost counties (www.nnyagdev.org).

Adirondack Harvest Chairman Thomas F. Both helped make the nomination of Hastings for the Glynwood Award. Both says, “Rob is most well-known for his season extension work, but he was also one of our first Adirondack Harvest mentors helping to bring young people into agriculture. He has also been a great help to a lot of people, teaching them how to make money from farming with per acre income projections.”

Adirondack Harvest Coordinator Laurie Davis agrees, saying, “Rob Hastings is well-deserving of this prestigious recognition for his practical application of a personal vision of just how exciting and profitable farming can be in the Adirondack region of New York.”

Northern New York Agricultural Development Program Co-Chair Joseph Giroux of Plattsburgh says, “Rob Hastings exemplifies the can-do spirit and innovative thinking that farmers in the North Country need to overcome the unique challenges of farming in a northern climate. Rob is developing and sharing practices for capitalizing on the growing opportunities supported by our tremendous natural resources and agricultural diversity.”

Hastings participates in NNYADP on-farm research and regularly hosts workshops for other growers interested in learning more about his use of high tunnels for extending the growing season for horticultural crop production. He shares his experiences with the pros and cons of the various types of tunnels, construction, glazing, and cropping patterns.
“My goal is to develop production practices that will allow me to grow multiple crops 12 months a year in the challenging Adirondack climate,” Hastings says.

The Glynwood Harvest Awards Committee includes representatives of farming, conservation, culinary and community food security interests and food systems.

Rivermede Farm Market at 1925 NYS Route 73, Keene Valley, NY, is open May through December daily 9am to 6 pm. # # #