Jodi La Marco
Seed Song Celebrates Farm Life
Seed Song Farm and Center is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the City of Kingston. We caught up with Creek Iverson to see how his participatory farming model is enlivening the community.
How did Seed Song Farm get started?
It’s just the latest incarnation of a developing model of participatory agriculture. In 2007 or so, I started farming at Common Ground Farm in Beacon which had a similar model. I was a CSA working share member. From there I became an intern, and then a co-manager, and then a manager, and then I fledged and managed a couple of other farms. It’s been evolving over time. Now we are a public, participatory, agro/ecological farm project.
There’s Seed Song Farm and Seed Song Center. Where does one end and the other begin?
The farm is a business and we are selling the produce and other things that we grow here. Seed Song Center is what stewards programs and events surrounding the farming. If it involves public participation or volunteers, then it’s a project of the center. If it’s a farm business endeavor, it’s the farm.
How close to the city of Kingston are you?
Geographically, we are one traffic light north of the border of Kingston, so not far. The city buses will drop you off at the city resource center which is a 12 minute walk from the farm. The local UCAT buses will come within a block of the farm, so there’s very good public access.
What makes Seed Song Farm unique?
Our way of trying to invite people into growing their own food is by using the multi-arts. At our CSA distributions, there is live music and/or art workshops, and also food, health, and nutrition workshops that are open to the public. We also have a summer camp program and lots of youth and adult educational programs.
We also like to develop community partnerships. There are certain organizations that we really resonate with and have developed bonds with. Neetopk Keetopk is a local Native American group, and they basically manage our Three Sisters field. There’s a wigwam there, they’re developing an indigenous culture area right along the Esopus Creek. They also have their ceremonies there, and different food- and land-based celebrations. Every month there was some other party celebrating some aspect of local food.
Have you hosted other events?
Last year’s Halloween Fest drew 1,000 people and was free for families. We even had a shuttle bus from midtown Kingston, so we got a really diverse mix of people. On July 28, we’ll be having the Brassroots Festival from 1 to 10 PM. It’s is a coming together of eight brass and percussion bands. It’s really fun and culturally diverse music. It’s open to the public and family-friendly. There will be vendors, tours of the farm, and hayrides, but I think people will mostly come for the really good music and to just chill out on a farm.
How do you support the local economy?
We have 11 people who are on the team now. I think everyone on our team right now is a local. That’s somewhat unusual for the new school of farming enterprises. We also support the local economy through business partnerships. For example, John’s Bread is a local artisanal bread baker. We partnered on a project to grow grains and he helped us build a pizza oven on site. Now he has an auxiliary oven if he needs it and we have it to use at our events. We have local grain for both of us to use.
Why did you decide to start using Currents?
I started because I am committed to it philosophically. I just think it’s the right way to go. We have one CSA member who pays in Currents, and I’m eager to get more into it. I think it fits in well with our beloved community here. We want to be supporting each other locally. It’s just sort of an obvious truth to me that we don’t want to be supporting big corporate businesses which allow the money to drain out of our community. I want to support my neighbors.