Fancy yourself a farmer but don’t want to go the proverbial whole hog (or chicken or beef cattle or field full of broccoli, say)? Catskills FarmLink is for you – and more committed farmers. The website lets farmers find land not simply to buy, sometimes to borrow and share. Created by groups as diverse as NYC’s Department of Environmental Protection, the Cornell Cooperative Extension and Farmhearts, it’s got a back to the land, Seventies vibe like the ad for sharing 200 acres in East Meredith, where the owners have “several possibilities for discussion” concerning housing and are “looking for a farmer/ farm couple with expertise in any of vegetables, berries, fruit, mushrooms, medicinal herbs and/or livestock to help re-establish our farm, preferably using permacaulture….”
Despite how easy it might be to joke about permaculture, the site has laudable aims to keep land being farmed, no small thing in the Catskills where reforestation and parceling up old farms threatens not only existing farms but the ability of new farmers to start.
Personally I love the idea of the farm share in Bovina. Perhaps that’s because my husband jokes that he wants a summerhouse there. Just over the hill from Margaretville, Bovina has an excellent general store that does a fine breakfast. There, a couple offering to share or lease their 167 acres are also trying to talk their overseas neighbors into letting the sharing farmer live in their house.
While these places might not have quite cool factor of the baroque Beekman Boys (yet), Catskills Farmlink acknowledges how hard farming is and how daunting it can be to those who might like to try it. So you Brooklynites, ye of the home-butchering and back alley allotments, come up. Oh, and the farm in Bovina also boasts that its chickens have gone to Bouley. Foodie and farmer unite.