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June 24, 2013

Solstice event celebrates longest day and farming

Visitors learn from enthusiastic, young North Country farmers

KEESEVILLE — Visitors from around the Northeast learned about environmentally friendly farming practices here this weekend.

The Summer Solstice event was arranged by the Greenhorns, a non-traditional grass-roots nonprofit group made up of young farmers and others whose mission is to “recruit, promote and support the new generation of young farmers,” according to the group’s website. 



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Project Manager Cara Sipprelle of Essex explained that the purpose of the event was “to bring young farmers together with people who are curious about farming.” 

About 40 visitors took part in educational programs at the Grange Hall in Keeseville, celebrating farming and the longest day of the year and toured three Keeseville-area farms that are operated by young farmers interested in environmentally friendly practices. 

Fledging Crow, Mace Chasm Farm and North Country Creamery all opened their doors to the diverse group.

‘NEAT, NORMAL FARMS’

Michael Meier came from his small farm in New Jersey, where he raises vegetables and livestock. He had previously worked on a rooftop farm in Brooklyn, where crops are grown in soil that has been placed “on a couple of big roofs,” as he put it. 

“It was great to get experience of farming intensively in an urban setting,” he said.

Since Meier’s background is urban farming and his current farm is in the suburbs, he found his trip to the farms of Keeseville quite fascinating.

“It’s neat to be up here and see what normal farms are like,” he said with a laugh.

MILFOIL AS FERTILIZER

Ian Ater of Fledging Crow Farm led the group on a tour of his vegetable fields and talked about turning an invasive species into a positive and eco-friendly purpose.

The Eurasian milfoil, a plague to the region’s lakes, makes an excellent fertilizer once removed from water bodies, Ater explained. 

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