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Catskills CRAFT Group to Visit Apple Pond Farm November 14

On Monday, November 14, the Catskills CRAFT group will meet from 5 to 7 p.m. at Apple Pond Farm in Callicoon Center. Catskills CRAFT, or Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training, is an educational networking group for beginning farmers. Farm interns, employees and operators of recently established farm enterprises are welcome to attend the event.

For over 25 years, Sonja Helund and Dick Riseling have been farming their 80 acres with draft horses. The horses rake hay, spread manure, cultivate corn fields and have produced more than 100 foals. Chicken, goats and sheep are raised for eggs, meat and fiber. In 2003, the farm expanded into renewable energy with a wind turbine, solar hot water system and solar panels. The farm now produces 85% of its electricity each year. They host farm vacations and educational programs.

Apple Pond Farm's visit on November 14 will provide an overview of their many facets of agricultural entrepreneurship. The potluck will include an "annual meeting" of the group for 2012 planning. 

Catskills CRAFT brings a national model aimed at developing beginning farmer networks across the country to the region. More details on the group can be found at Contact Sonia Janiszewski at or 914-720-1020 for more information.

Catskills CRAFT is made possible with leadership support from Catskills region beginning farmers, financial support from Farmhearts, and administrative support from the Watershed Agricultural Council. For more information on Farmhearts, please visit

The purpose of the Watershed Agricultural Council is to protect both the rural, land-based economy of the watershed region and its drinking water quality for over nine million people. Working with farmers, agribusinesses, forest landowners, forest industry professionals and others, the Council seeks to enhance both business profitability and environmental stewardship. It also champions the use of conservation easements as an option to keep land within a working landscape context. The Council works through partnerships with other nonprofits organizations, government agencies and community stakeholders to achieve its purpose. For more information, visit
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