In our travels we are always looking to meet interesting people, or visit awesome places or operations to learn from or exchange ideas. Today I want to share my recent visits to one of my neighbors, the Bethel Hobbs Community Farm, a place with a fantastic history and and great mission.
The farm, which is located on Long Island in Centereach NY, sits on an 11 acre plot wedged among residential developments. The farm was donated by the Hobbs family in 1990 to the Bethel AME Church. In 2007 a group of concerned members of the church formed an organization to restore the farm house and the barn and created a two acre co-op garden. Their mission was simple, to provide fresh wholesome produce to those in need.
Since its rebirth, the farm has expanded considerably, and now also has a greenhouse and 4 different planting areas: The Son Shine Acres, where most of the food is grown, harvested and distributed to the needy through a network of local food pantries and food programs. Excess production is sold at the farm produce stand, the revenue being used to cover operational costs.
The Community Garden, a series of 24 5‘X20’ plots where members can grow their own flowers and veggies while helping with community tasks.
The Education Garden, an area where individuals and groups can participate in specific educational projects while at the same time helping grow produce for the hungry.
The last area was just recently developed with a grant from the Christopher Reeves Foundation, and the assistance of Stony Brook University and local patrons. I am not sure it has an official name yet, but I heard its main promoter and steam engine of the project, Ann Pellegrino, calling it The Garden of Hope, a name that very well fits its purpose. This area has a series of wheelchair-accessible raised beds, where persons with disabilities can not only learn to garden, but also may harvest and keep the production for their use.
This is not your regular backyard garden, it is a real farm, run in a very efficient and ecologically responsible manner. The crops are drip irrigated to conserve water, and are never treated with pesticides. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of this farm is the positive atmosphere that can be felt from the moment you are faced with the Volunteers Welcomed sign and are later warmly and sincerely greeted by a member who will proudly show you around.
The farm is open to individuals and groups looking to roll up their sleeves to make a significant difference in our community. To learn more about how you can become involved with the Bethel Hobbs Community Farm, or to donate to their program please visit their website at http://www.hobbsfarm.info/index.htm .