CSA shares- 2018

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I bother joining Little Seed’s CSA?  Members enjoy being part of and contributing to the farm community.  They enjoy visiting the farm and seeing the season unfold each week.  Many people find that they make new healthy habits when they sign up for 22 weeks of vegetables.  Members feel pride in being part of the solution – by supporting a farm that practices regenerative agriculture.  Most of all the food is so fresh and delicious! Oh and baby cows too!

Do you grow everything on the farm? Yes, everything is grown right on the farm here in Chatham, NY.

How big is a share? 7-10 items per week.  An item would be like a bunch of greens, a quart of tomatoes, a pound of green beans- etc- similar to grocery store portions.

What if I can’t make pick up?  You can have a friend pick up and use your share if you are out of town or just let us know in advance and we can pack your share for pick up later in the week.  Full shares are priced to miss a few and still be a good deal.  Unclaimed shares go to food pantries like Long Table Harvest and members enjoy being able to share the bounty with those in need when they are on vacation.

What if I don’t want something? We offer a great variety of items over the season and lots of items to choose from.  In addition, we set up a trade box each week and members swap items as needed.

Are there activities during pick up? Members are welcome to tour the farm.  We love to have children explore the farm and usually have someone who will visit with kids while adults gather their share.  Many members like to relax and hang out on the farm during distribution when the weather is nice.  We have play spaces for kids.  Pick your own flowers are part of the share from late July until mid October and members enjoy gathering their own bouquets. We sometimes have tastings or events in late summer and early fall for members.




Food for Thought — A conversation and dinner exploring community food security in Columbia County details at: www.LongTableHarvest.org

Hosted by Long Table Harvest. Join us for an in-depth conversation led by individuals in the agricultural, faith, youth and emergency food sectors, followed by a warm, home cooked meal made from gleaned ingredients.

We start from the question: What does real food security look like for everyone in our county and what are the current challenges/opportunities we face in getting there?

When: Saturday, February 24th, 5-7:30pm

Where: Hudson Area Library

Who: Jody Bolluyt (Roxbury Farm), Pastor Kim Singletary (Overcomers Ministries International Church), Rebecca Garrard (President, Webutuck Teachers’ Association), Reverend Jeanette Johnson (Payne AME Church) and Audrey Berman (Long Table Harvest). Facilitated by Claudia Kenny (Little Seed Gardens)


  • 5-5:30 Light refreshments
  • 5:30-6:30 Panel / Audience Questions + Comments
  • 6:30-7:30 Dinner

Food Gleaned from and Donated by: Hawthorne Valley Farm, Churchtown Dairy, Diamond Hills Farm, Wild Hive Community Grain Project

2017 Early Bird CSA Sign-up

february-262008-091We hope everyone is enjoying the mild winter. We have been catching up with family and pushing forward with developing our work in society with facilitation and Holistic Management trainings through the Agrarian Learning Center.  Days are getting longer, our last winter CSA distribution is this week, and planting for the spring is under way. Time to start thinking of the coming season.

Community has been very much on our minds lately. We have been fortunate to connect with many thoughtful and caring people through farming. Kids we have met through the markets and CSA come by and visit, or come work for part of the year when they can. Customers and former CSA members and old crew members keep in touch, sharing the changes in their lives. Young farmers collaborate with us in new ways on bigger projects they are taking on. We come to a continually deeper appreciation of our place, our physical home, and the people who animate it. That face to face connection cuts through so much that we shelter behind, sometimes it can be uncomfortable. Consequences are available to see, the truth we physicalise. It also exposes us to be seen, to share each other. That humaness is what moves us, and the fullness of experiencing it can be surprising. But that connection seems to be at the root of what the world is calling forth now.

We are collaborators. We bring forth our generations in care. What we do we can do because of those who came before us and who hold us up now. All little babies once, now we see our nature realized in loving association with our equals in freedom.

As farmers, we hope to be your agents. We want to share in your subsistence and connect with the power of the community of life to strengthen the place that feeds you. That place is ours, too. Our path to place has brought us to our knees. There we feel what we are made of- the bodies drawn out of the earth of our home, and the sunlight falling on the green mantle that powers our work and stirs our thoughts. Our kids are made of this place. Our community is made of this place.

When we walk here, we can see the impact of our shared intention, and more importantly of our shared deeds. The harrier can be here now. There is enough life. The community that has emerged in this place is stronger because we act together to meet our needs, to express our true nature.

This is the time of the year we recognize, very modestly, the importance for our farm that people hold it. We offer a $25 discount to previous year CSA members who join and pay before equinox, March 20th.

This is also the time of year when we welcome new members for the season. Every year we have a limited number of new memberships available on a first come first serve basis.  We are always happy to speak with you over the phone and answer questions you might have as you are considering joining us.  We are also happy to meet you in person at the farm by appointment if you would like to visit.

Sign up forms are at the website- littleseedgardens.com.

We hope you will join us for another year of sharing the wonderful produce of this place and the company of the people who make our community a celebration. Looking forward to visiting with you soon, -Willy and Claudia

Farm to Table Dinner

We are hosting a farm to table dinner at TSL in Hudson, NY. It will be an evening of learning, connecting and celebrating the bounty of the autumn harvest with local speakers, short films and a feast! Come connect with your neighbors and delve into climate change solutions for here and now. Read below for more info.
Hope to see you there!
~Willy and Claudia

Event Information:

Location: “Time and Space Limited” 
434 Columbia Street in Hudson, NY

Date: Friday, November 4th

Time: 3pm-8pm

Purchase tickets by clicking here

You’re Invited to Ignite a Consumer Revolution

This year the Savory Global Network, made up of the Savory Institute and its Network of Hubs, is broadening the availability of their annual conference, taking place on October 28th in Boulder, Co, by hosting local hub events across the world simultaneously on November 4th.

Farm-to-Table Dinner will be served by acclaimed Hudson Valley Chefs Consortium!


Seth Itzkan is Co-founder and Co-director of Soil4Climate. He is an environmental futurist investigating innovative means of land management that offer hope for reversing global warming. He is a TEDx speaker on restoring grasslands and with planned grazing. He has consulted for The Boston Foundation, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and the US Bureau of the Census. He is a graduate of Tufts University, College of Engineering and the Studies of the Future Program at University of Houston-Clear Lake. His private consultancy is Planet-TECH Associates.

Shannon Hayes holds a bachelors degree in creative writing from Binghamton University, and a masters and Ph.D. in sustainable agriculture and community development from Cornell. Her essays and articles have appeared in myriad regional and national publications, including The New York Times, The Boston Review, and Northeast Public Radio. Her quirky lifestyle, her (admittedly imperfect) attempts to live a life of personal accountability and sustainability, and her research and writings about homemaking as an ecological movement have landed her and her family on the pages of the New York Times, Brain Child Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, Lancaster Farming, Small Farm Quarterly, Hobby Farm Home Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, National Public Radio, Grit, Yes! Magazine, Elle Magazine, Juno, the national newspapers of Germany, Turkey and Canada, the Arab News and the Pakistan Observer. She has written six books: The Grassfed Gourmet, The Farmer and the Grill, Radical Homemakers, Long Way on a Little, Cooking Grassfed Beef, and, most recently, Homespun Mom Comes Unraveled.

Diana Rodgers, RD is a real food nutritionist living on a working organic vegetable and pasture-raised meat CSA outside of Boston, Massachusetts. In addition to seeing patients in her busy nutrition practice, she has written the bestselling books, Homegrown Paleo Cookbook and Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts on the Go and is currently working on her third book. She also hosts the Sustainable Dish Podcast, and speaks internationally about nutrition, sustainability, animal welfare, social justice and food policy. Her work has been featured in Outside Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Mother Earth News and she writes for many more magazines and websites. Prior to opening her nutrition practice, Diana worked for National Public Radio and Whole Foods Market as a Marketing Manager. She can be found at www.sustainabledish.com

Phyllis Van Amburgh runs Dharma Lea, a 100% grassfed dairy farm, with her husband Paul and their five children. dharma Lea was one of the early adopters of 100% grassfed dairy production in the United States, and has pioneered that production model, including the development of the  Madre’ Method. She is director and an accredited professional educator of the Agrarian Learning Center, the Savory Institute Hub located in Sharon Springs NY. Educated with a masters degree in Occupational Therapy, and two bachelors degrees, OT and biology, and a supplemental degree in European Studies from the University of Antwerp, she brings this breadth of knowledge base and passion to her farming practice, the Savory Hub, her writing for national trade publications, and the work she and Paul do together supporting the Maple Hill Creamery producer group, and many other farmers of the Northeast USA.

Sara Talcott began her foray into the food world at internationally-renowned food issues think tank, Oldways, in 2008, where she combined her lifelong interest in sustainable food production and healthy eating with her writing and design skills into developing consumer-facing nutrition education programs including Vote with Your Fork, the Whole Grains Council, and The Mediterranean Diet. When then-startup Greek yogurt maker Chobani offered her a position on its ground-floor marketing team, she jumped at the chance to spend the next two and a half years steeping herself the CPG natural foods world, and propelling Greek yogurt from an import specialty product into a category game changer. A impulse purchase of a cup of MHC’s creamline yogurt in 2011 introduced her to the brand, and in early 2013, she began working with MHC marketing, branding, and public relations efforts. Three years later she is just as addicted to the Maple flavor as ever, and honored to be part of the MHC family, looking forward to continuing growing the brand and spreading the 100% grass-fed gospel. Sara hold an MA in Book Design and Publishing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

csa party – sunday, sept 18th 2-5:oo pm

Hey CSA members,

Join us for a pizza making party to celebrate the end of the tomato season, the equinox and all good things.

NOTE: We will send an email if we need to schedule a rain check on the CSA party, please be sure to check your email beforehand. (Rain date following sunday, sept. 25th 2-5pm)

Reminder to RSVP to littleseedgardens@yahoo.com today if you haven’t already.

Directions to the Farm:

#541 White Mills Road
Chatham, NY 12037

From South:

  • Route 9 to Route 9H North to Valatie, exit at Kinderhook Ave.
  • Turn Left at end of ramp and follow Kinderhook Ave. through village.
  • Turn right on Main Street at Valatie Medical Arts.

From Main Street, Valatie:

  • Follow Main Street about 200 yards and turn right onto (Chatham Street) Route 203 towards Chatham.
  • Go about 2.5 miles and turn Left onto Merwin Road at Staron’s Farm Stand.
  • Follow Merwin Road (about a mile) to the end.
  • At stop sign turn Left onto White Mills Road.

Our drive is second on left about 200 yards.  You can not see the farm from the road so look for our mailbox #541.  If you cross a bridge turn back around you’ve gone too far.

Please pull in as far as you can to lower parking area.  Please park tight.

518-392-0063 Willy’s cell phone
518-779-3203 Claudia’s cell phone

csa starting!


Dear CSA members,

Things are growing on the farm and we are preparing for the first distributions.  We are looking forward to sharing lots of beautiful greens and salad ingredients with you!

1st Rhinebeck  CSA distribution

Thursday, June 2nd

Pick up is 4-6 at Sunflower Natural Foods

1st Chatham CSA distribution

Tuesday, June 7th.

Pick up is from 4pm – 6:30pm at the farm at #541 White Mills Road

We will host some farm events throughout the season but if you are curious and want a field walk just let us know. We are passionate about our farm work and love to share the farm with supporters!

Please bring a bag if possible.  We will go over what to do if you can’t pick up your share and also tell you about our new affiliation with a food pantry group in our first newsletter.

Throughout the season we will help to orient you to the farm and our growing season through the weekly newsletters.  We are always happy to answer questions and are best reached via email but are happy to talk on the phone if you have any concerns over the course of the season.

For farm pictures check us out on facebook where Willy posts or instagram where Claudia and Mae post.  Look forward to seeing you soon!

Claudia and Willy (Little Seed Farmers)


Farm Phone: 518-392-0063

email: littleseedgardens@yahoo.com

Why Young Farmers Can’t Afford To Buy Land

A central threat to the health of American agriculture is the increasing age of farm operators. The average age of farmers nationally is approaching 60 and it is higher in high land value areas like our Hudson Valley. Modern agriculture is highly productive, technical and capital intensive. Production techniques are complex, crop specific, and vary by region. Effective management is imperative in this low margin industry and is usually the result of a gradual accumulation of experience and working capital. Tenure figures importantly in management. Many of the tools used in effective production are structural and tied to the landscape. For young farmers to be able to build capacity and take up production as older farmers leave, secure tenure is a necessity. High land costs are an impediment to young farmers starting out when the need for working capital is greatest. Many begin by renting while developing tools, production and markets with the hope of buying land later. Some lease most of their production ground and buy a small piece of land to locate permanent infrastructure. Some work with land preservation groups to get access. Securing tenure remains a challenge though, and land costs drive decision making for most small farms. Why is it that new and young farmers have such a hard time affording the land they need? The answer has to do with how we decide as a society to structure our relationships to each other and the rest of nature, and solutions depend on examining some fundamental beliefs.

We can begin to see some of the signs of the root causes of lack of young farmer tenure when we look at agricultural land ownership in my neighborhood, Columbia County, New York. Agricultural land in large units sells in my area from between five and ten thousand dollars per acre. That is a similar price to black dirt in Iowa. But land in Columbia County won’t produce 240 bushels of corn per acre like Iowa soils. Columbia County land derives its value partly from its capability (natural potentials to meet human needs like agricultural productivity, timber, coal or water power) and partially from its location, how much people want to be there.

Most of the farm land in my community is not owned by farmers. All of the most productive land in my community is farmed but almost all of it is rented. There are certainly a few farmers operating on large commercial scale who own land, but even they are forced to rent. Outside of deals involving a land trust contributing funds to help a farmer pay for land’s location value, very few farmers are capable of buying land from the production that occurs there.

So who owns the land? Largely it is held by well to do people who don’t farm. They rent the land to farmers, so it remains in agriculture, but any individual farmer may not have secure tenure to any particular piece of land. That is more of a challenge to young farmers who are not as established and as resilient as they will be later. Young farmers express the desire to own the land they work or at least to secure tenure on the land they work. The will is there, why not the way? The challenge comes from how we decide to share nature and pay for our collective needs.

Looking at the situation in Columbia County, we find much farmland held as vacation spots or second homes for part time residents, and a look at our tax structure can tell us why. Public works in our part of the world are funded by state and local taxes, often with a federal contribution. These taxes, outside of local property taxes are almost entirely taxes on labor- income and transaction taxes. Even local property taxes are mostly taxes on labor. Site value or location value is normally a small portion of a property tax bill, while taxes on improvements are high. We tax labor for the resources we apply to collective needs like security, transportation and education. These social improvements have the effect of increasing the value of the land where they occur. Good schools, roads, hospitals and parks make locations more desirable. Property taxes are high here. For an average one family home many folks pay eight to ten thousand dollars per year. But agricultural land taxes are low because of the agricultural exemption. If a land owner is involved in commercial agriculture or rents to a commercial farmer, they pay only a fraction of the land value taxes they would otherwise. On its face this looks like a good idea, because it seems to incentivize keeping land in agriculture, which it does. But it also shifts tenure away from farmers by shifting how we accumulate value in land. Instead of allowing capability to determine the value of land, agricultural tax relief lets the expectation of increased location value dominate.

Land is a fixed quantity. We don’t expect any more to come into existence. Land is an essential component in meeting every human need. When we talk about owning land, what we mean is the socially granted privilege of determining the use of locations. As society grows and grows more productive, the demand for the use of locations increases, the value of land goes up. Short of a plague, or colonization of other planets, location values will increase. And the portion of return from the use of the location will continue to shrink compared to the cost of getting access to it. Agricultural exemptions make the cost of holding land low and the cost of obtaining it high. They help to make farm land a secure long term investment with a high entrance cost. This puts ownership out of reach of farmers generally and young farmers particularly.

Of course agricultural exemptions enjoy support of farmers and non farming land owners, and it is easy to imagine agriculture being driven out of our community without them. But they are strategies aimed at symptoms of a problem, not its root cause. At the heart of many of our economic problems is our concept of property rights in land. It is the concept that drives reward out of productive activities, divides society into rich and poor, makes farmland fall into the hands of elites, and erodes our ability to practice good land management that produces food that supports our well being.

The claim of property in land is really a claim on the labor of those who use land. It is fundamentally different from a claim of property in the products of land. Our bodies are composed of air, water and food drawn from the environment. Supporting the idea of human worth requires the acknowledgement of peoples claim to the products of the earth. People need food, clothing and shelter and the ability to transform nature to meet their needs. But the idea of property in land is different. We interact with nature, and through our efforts it becomes properties of us. Our work becomes our bodies, our thoughts, our expressions. Land never becomes a property of us. We are always a property of land. Land exists without us, but we do not exist without land.

All economic activity is simply the application of human effort to land. Even a programmer developing apps works with energy from coal, minerals from mines at an office built on land and their thoughts are powered by sunlight that fell on plants growing on farmland. The value they generate for society that lets them trade their labor for the products of land they need is in the increased ability their app gives to others to apply their labor to land or to enjoy its use. Our belief in the idea of property in land allows someone to claim a portion of the labor applied in every location where work takes place. That part of labor devoted to access nature is called rent. When we grant the privilege of collecting land rent to individuals we are granting them a property claim to people.

If we like the idea of farmers having security to use land during their productive lives, we need to examine how we grant each other the use of land. Farmers are laborers and they require land to apply their labor. Modern agriculture is incredibly productive and can easily generate the real costs of its use of nature. If we recognize that all people have an equal claim to nature and collect as society the value we attribute to land and distribute it to society equally, the issue of farm tenure would pass away. If people had to pay the true cost of the nature they used the value of land would fall to nothing.

Young farmers can’t afford to buy land because land does not have a price.