COPAKE, N.Y. — Farm to table is an explosive trend: Most have the table aspect nailed down, but the farming end eludes others.
Tessa Edick is on a mission to find and recruit the next generation of farmers.
"I think that sexiness, that interest in farming and farm to table and organic has brought people to ask about the farm end and try to find it," said Tessa Edick, founder of Farm On.
In 2011, Tessa took her years of farming and culinary experience and started the Farm On Foundation at Empire Farm in Copake, inviting young adults to live on the farm and learn from the best instructors the areas has to offer.
"It literally hit the nail on the head so perfectly," said Scott O'Rourke.
O'Rorke didn’t come from a traditional farming family, and when he fell in love with the trade he realized there was only so much you could learn from traditional schooling. He signed on with Tessa, now serving as farm manager.
“I think everything you ever needed to know, you learned at a farm. Counting, accounting, communications, conflict resolutions. These are life skills, these are self-reliant properties that we need to know. I think in the digital age, getting back to nature, getting your hands dirty is so rewarding," said Edick.
"Every task that we do is a learning experience," O'Rorke said. "There’s no task like sending the intern to weed for a day. No, lets send the intern with us to work side by side with us, lets cut greens and wash them."
The Farm On mission doesn’t end with the academy. They offer more programs then will fit in this story including cooking classes, school trips, connecting local dairy farmers with schools, and more for both adults and children all supported by donors like the Stewart’s Holiday Match program.
"Giving people the opportunity whether they are in the community and take a culinary class or forage in the field and learn how to make salad dressings or a whole meal, or if a students wants to run a whole business around that, these skills are replicable," said Edick.
"It’s something I love doing," O'Rorke said. "I like to wake up in the morning and harvest flowers and cut greens and just coming down now to see they aren’t frozen, I jumped in the air five times. It’s exciting. Everything about farming I love. Even if it didn’t pay so much, I would still do it."
For more informatio on Farm On, visit this website.