Lydia, the Organic Farmer

Lydia is a small-scale, diversified vegetable, certified-organic farmer currently operating Second Wind CSA​ and tending the earth of New York's Hudson Valley.

Lydia rushes to harvest garlic ahead of expected rainstorms.

Originally from a small town in southwest Missouri, Lydia moved to New York City to be near a family member for a while. Eventually she made her way to the Hudson Valley to gain more training in production farming. The fresh air and striking scenery were found benefits of life outside the city.

Second Wind CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is an independent incubator program hosted by Four Winds Farm, a certified organic farm located in Gardiner, NY and founded in 1988. Although Lydia has worked in organic farming for 4 years, this is her first year owning and operating a CSA farm.

Two different pick-up locations allow the CSA members to assemble their own weekly "share" of vegetables, fruit, flowers and herbs. Second Wind currently has 65 member households.

For the first half of the growing season, Lydia co-owned the CSA - as well as shared a house - with another young woman. After protracted conflict in styles and personalities, they dissolved the partnership and Lydia took full ownership of Second Wind in the midst of peak harvest.

From seed to harvest, planning to distribution, Lydia manages all aspects of the certified organic CSA, working each day for as long as there is daylight and often longer.

Support from the Four Winds Farm crew and volunteer hours from CSA members and friends are invaluable to her, but the majority of the time Lydia works solo.

Lydia's pet cat, Prince Ali, also helps as much as he can.

Lydia's passion for farming first arose from learning of the widespread exploitation of laborers in industrial-scale agriculture. She believes in the importance of building "locally-responsible, globally-aware food economies" and has dedicated her own labor to this cause.

Lydia takes a break for ice cream with Jenna, Four Winds Farm Manager (left), and Meghan, an employee of Four Winds (center).

Lydia preps produce for market the next morning.

To help distribute surplus vegetables and supplement income, Lydia sells at the Pine Bush Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.

Being a novice in managing this scale of organic farming can come with sometimes-hard lessons in such things as weather, pests and disease control. Second Wind's potato plants (left) were having a rough season, while those of Four Winds thrived (right).

Lydia promotes the idea that the CSA is not just a subscription to weekly vegetables. By supporting its farmers, members are also "sharing in the rewards and risks of farming" and "helping keep local agriculture profitable & sustainable".

Once a week Lydia drives nearly an hour to Garrison, NY, to distribute shares to members in that area.

One of Lydia's most cherished facets of the CSA is the community and relationships she gains and cultivates throughout the year.

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