The final supper, the 26th mile of a marathon, this was the last scene of our epic film. The film titled, “Field Experiences in the Hudson Valley”, is starring a fellowship of Vassar students, a Sociology Professor, and a good friend by the name of Baynard. Our final trip into the wilderness was to the fairy-tale-esque Glynwood Center, a think tank of progressive environment and social thought.
Departing from Vassar we headed south along the grand ol’ Hudson, in search of a hidden oasis. Cruising in our version of the Mystery Machine we zipped through the scenic countryside, preparing for the last hurrah. At last, we came to an extremely sharp turn in the road at a small but noticeable sign that read “Glynwood”. Entering under a canopy of red, yellow, and orange deciduous trees we had stepped into a realm of progressive intellectuals. Driving up, up, and up a peaceful dirt road we finally came out from under the roof of leaves into a hidden valley, enclosed on all sides by tree-laden hills. It was absolutely breathtaking; we had arrived at the Glynwood Center.
We stepped out of our very own Mystery Machine and walked quietly as we tried to take in the beautiful landscape surrounding us. We were greeted and offered donuts and cider as we entered the office. Once inside we helped ourselves to the refreshments laid out for us and waited for the President of Glynwood Center, Kathleen Firth to speak to us.
Kathleen Firth poured loads of marvelous information about Glynwood Center as she spoke to us. We learned that the Glynwood Center is a non-profit organization that aims to promote a healthier regional food system, improve the economy, conserve the natural environment, and promote a sense of place. Glynwood Center offers different programs like the Glynwood Farm, Apprentice Program, Keep Farming and the Apple Project to help promote those four goals. As part of the Apple Project, Glynwood Center initiated cider week, which is part of Glynwood’s effort to try to make apple orchards viable in order to help keep more apple orchards open.
Along with describing the center’s programs, Kathleen also described Glynwood Center’s relationship with the Hudson Valley. She explained that being located in the Hudson Valley is in large part responsible for Glynwood Center’s success. She described the Hudson Valley to be “uniquely poised to be an example of a robust and thriving food system, and that is exactly what Glynwood center is doing. Glynwood Center works directly with their community in the Hudson valley by offering Community Supported Agriculture in which members of the community purchase shares of the farm’s vegetables. After our information session on Glynwood Center we offered the opportunity to see everything we learned first hand through a tour guided by a Vassar Alumni.
Full of donuts and cider we reentered the fresh air, ready to experience life at Glynwood. We walked up the hill about 100 yards until we saw three plump pigs wading in the mud, apparently unaware of our approach. As we came closer one spotted us, alerted the others using a gentle grunt, and they then proceeded to examine us all for tasty treats we might be hiding in our pockets. They were great (and smart) animals, and seemed very happy. They had plenty of space, water, shelter, and were being fed with organic, non-genetically modified feed. Which unfortunately, in our capitalistic economy, is twice as much as (what is now the norm) GM feed. From there we walked down around the bend to find a spotted mother with her spotted piglets. Absolutely adorable is the only description appropriate for this experience. Their ears were so big and floppy that they could barely see where they were walking. Playing with one another, annoying their mom, and playing in the water bucket, they were loving life.
-Colin Cederna & Jessica Cervantes