The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is unlike any farm you’ve seen driving through one of those flat, square states in the mid-West. The farm (as my family calls it) doesn’t have monocultural rows of corn and soy sprayed by plane or the massive machines characteristic of industrial farms, but it is nonetheless a functional farm and operates on a day-to-day basis in largely the same way as many other small organic farms.
Education is the secondary mission of Stone Barns and here the farm and those who run it distinguish themselves by their commitment to informing the legions of visitors about the realities of food production, the tedious and grueling work required and the moral considerations of meat production (it doesn’t hurt that this meat is second to none in culinary appeal). A visit to the farm is eye-opening for those who have never been and reaffirming for those already aligned in ideology.
I began visiting the farm about five years ago, right as it opened, and immediately began to feel connected to it. I volunteered, assisted my mom and brother, met the farmers and related to in any way that I could. Soon I was obsessed with all things pastoral and remain so to this day. The farm is an inspiration for my cooking and writing projects and informs my work in these areas on both a physical and a philosophical level. Quite simply, I wouldn’t be writing this blog if it weren’t for the farm, and certainly would not be as committed to agriculture’s many incarnations as I am now.