• James Armstrong

Hudson Community Farm project gets real


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

With plenty of planning and lots of hard work, the Hudson Community Farm found a field for its endeavors and farm directors, Loïc Freeman-Lavoie (left) and Rébecca Phaneuf-Thibault, Hudson Town Councillor Natalie Best and Hudson Food Collective Manager Robyn Rees are eager to turn the soil.

In spite of freezing rain, ice pellets, and snow, the Hudson Community Farm project was inaugurated Tuesday, January 24, in an empty field owned by the Town of Hudson on Main Road next to the recently renovated dog park and opposite Thompson Park.

On hand for the event were Hudson Town Councillor Natalie Best, Hudson Community Farm Directors Rébecca Phaneuf-Thibault and Loïc Freeman-Lavoie, and Robyn Rees, Project Developer for the Hudson Food Collective.

“This is a non-profit organization we believe in as a town because it embraces our community values,” said Best noting that the community farm is part of making Hudson a destination town. Hudson is supporting the initiative with a five-year land use agreement that has been established with the farm project. “This represents part of the agricultural component of the strategic plan for the town,” she added.

The field in question has not been cultivated in many years and the farmers are eager to get started once the snow melts. “We intend to hit the ground running. The first season we will be growing cover crops, a mixture of legumes and grains, buck wheat, field peas and daikon radishes,” said Phaneuf-Thibault. She explained the radishes are deep-growing root vegetables that help reduce the compacting of the earth.

The goal is to develop a local organic food hub that has space for education, community, and economic development. “We have made contact with local schools and our first project is a contest for the students to name the farm,” said Freeman-Lavoie adding, “The winner will receive the first basket of produce.” He expressed appreciation to schools for their willingness to participate in the competition and the farm. Going forward, there will be workshops on various aspects of organic food production, seed development and preservation, and food preparation.

“By 2018, we want to have organic certification for the farm,” said Phaneuf-Thibault noting that a farm produce stand will be in place and there will be regular weekly hours. When asked if plots of land will be available for individuals to grow their own vegetables, Phaneuf-Thibault replied that was not part of the plan. “People can sign up for our Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) food baskets on our website,” she said. For the first year, the baskets are a “one size fits all” with eight to 12 items that will change with the season.

“We are also launching our web site and Facebook page today,” said Freeman-Lavoie. Detailed information about the farm is now available and he invited the community to participate. As an inaugural promotion, the first 20 food baskets sold will receive a 5 per cent discount.

For more information, consult www.hudsoncommunityfarm.com, or on Facebook at Hudson Community Farm// Ferme Communautaire de Hudson.

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