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$200 cash prize for the largest chestnut tree in new york


The New York Chapter of the American Chestnut Federation (ACF) is offering a $200 reward for the discovery of the largest living Chestnut tree in New York. And $50 for any trees that are over 14″ DBH!

As Jerry Henkin, librarian for the Northern Nut Grower’s Association (NNGA) writes, “There is a tradition for this type of contest.  In the early years of the NNGA Willard Bixby, a nut tree nurseryman from Baldwin, NY (on Long Island) and President of the NNGA, offered a cash prize for the beech tree that produced the largest nuts.  As a result, the Jenner beech, and other cultivars were selected and propagated.”

Contests like this were popular during the Great Depression, and many of the marketable pecans and walnuts grown today are progeny from breeding efforts from these finds. More initiates of this kind could increase genetic diversity in our orchards and be used to make more cultivars available– and likely ones that are more pest and disease-resistant.

This all being said, we’re posting this contest with one rather large caveat: the NY ACF intends to use the nuts and pollen from the trees to cross-breed with its genetically-engineered blight-resistant American Chestnut, posing a small ethical conundrum for those of us who support the proliferation of more native species but generally oppose all GMO projects. Proceed with your own disgression. (We’d really like to hear your thoughts on this one. If you have any, please leave a comment!)




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northern ny: 4 week management course for farm women

The Cornell Cooperative Extension associations of northern New York are looking for mothers and daughters, daughter-in-laws, and female farm managers and owners interested in ways to better manage agricultural businesses today, successfully retire, and pass a profitable farm business on to a child or the next owner.

The 4-week, 15-hour Managing for Today and Tomorrow training course to be offered at different sites in northern NY is part of the nationwide Annie’s Project, an educational program dedicated to strengthening the role of women in the modern farm enterprise.

The Jefferson-Lewis County edition of the 4-week course will be held at the Farm Credit East office, 25417 NY Route 12, Burrville, from 10am to 2pm on January 27 and February 10, 17 and 24.

The Clinton-Essex County edition of the 4-week course will be held at the Cornell Cooperative Extension office, 3 Sisco Street, Westport, from 10am to 2pm on January 27 and February 11, 18 and 25.

The $100 course fee includes lunch and materials. Women from any county may attend the programs.

To register or for more information on the Burrville site, contact: CCE Farm Business Management Educator Peggy Murray, 315.376.5270, To register or for more information on the Westport site, contact: CCE Essex County Executive Director Anita Deming, 518.962.4810,

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farm classes online this winter


Winter is a great time for farmers to rest, slow down the pace, and build new skills for the coming growing season. The Cornell Small Farms Program is pleased to announce the winter roster of online courses available through its Northeast Beginning Farmer Project. These courses help farmers learn from the latest research-based education.

Since 2006, the program has offered high quality, collaborative learning environments online and each year educates hundreds of beginning and established farmers through these courses.

Are there courses for me? From aspiring to experienced farmers, there is a course for nearly everyone. There’s a handy chart on our course homepage to direct you to the right courses for your experience level.

What are the courses like? All of our courses consist of weekly real-time webinars followed by homework, readings, and discussions on your own time in an online setting. If you aren’t able to attend the live webinars, they are always recorded for later viewing.

Qualify for a 0% interest loan! Participants who complete all requirements of one or more online courses are eligible to be endorsed for a 0% interest loan of up to $10,000 through Kiva Zip.

Each course is $200, but up to 4 people from the same farm may participate without paying extra. See the course description page for more on the course learning objectives, instructors, and outline

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call for applicants: farmer in residence


URBY is seeking to hire a Farmer in Residence for a unique Urban Farm nested within a new, 600-unit rental complex on the North Shore of Staten Island.  This is a one-of-a-kind position for a seasoned grower who is also an educator and entrepreneur.  The farm will serve the on-site cafe, market, and residents’ CSA.  The Farmer in Residence will receive competitive compensation (based on experience), including placement in a studio apartment on-site beginning in Spring 2016. For more information or to fill out an application, click here.

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sail freight projects abound! meet the new FoodBargeHack @ It Takes a Region


We are SO HAPPY to see continued discussion of SAIL FREIGHT!

As you may remember, we’ve been obsessed since our first sail freight project in VERMONT a few years ago, and then again in with Maine Sail Freight this past August.

Like they said in the Portland Press Herald:

“It’s art. It’s protest. It’s celebration. And, who knows? It may even be a practical way to get cargo to market.”

AND NOW, inspired by Sail Freight and Farm Hack, there will be a FoodBarge Hack lunch Friday Nov. 13, at NEWSAG‘s It Takes a Region Conference. The event’s organizer’s write:

“Together, we will envision an energy efficient, sustainable regional food system using our waterways. We will focus on how to connect mid-sized upstate farmers with underserved NYC neighborhoods using a barge on the Hudson River, and challenge the status quo. With your help, we want take real steps towards a viable alternative to food filled trucks on our roads.”

Please note that you must be attending the conference and should RSVP to Jill Slater in advance if you would like lunch.


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