Roots to Renewal: Hawthorne Valley Celebrates 50 Years with a Day of Art, Film, and Performances | Sponsored | General Arts & Culture | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
Last Updated: 10/06/2022 10:13 am
Hawthorne Valley co-founder Fentress Gardner gardening with school children - IMAGES COURTESY OF HAWTHORNE VALLEY ASSOCIATION
  • Images courtesy of Hawthorne Valley Association
  • Hawthorne Valley co-founder Fentress Gardner gardening with school children

For the past 50 years the Hawthorne Valley, a 900-acre educational campus and certified Biodynamic farm in Ghent, has worked toward the vision of renewing soil, society, and self. On October 8, the Hawthorne Valley Association will celebrate its rich history of stewardship in the community with “Roots to Renewal,” a fun-filled day of music, art, film, performances, and more.

“We are honoring our work to date, and how we hope to look forward and meet the evident needs of our time,” says Martin Ping, the association’s executive director. “We are also celebrating our friends and collaborators who are working toward a world that’s flourishing.”

The nonprofit enfolds many initiatives to that end, including farm-based education that annually welcomes 1,200 children, a natural foods and grocery store, an organic bakery and creamery, and a 300-plus member organic/certified-Biodynamic CSA. An onsite early childhood through grade 12 Waldorf school emphasizes academic, artistic, and practical skills. The association also conducts social, ecological, and cultural research, educates and certifies teachers, and promotes arts initiatives, among many other endeavors.

The October 8 festivities will help visitors experience a little taste of it all. The day begins bright and early at 9am with a biodiversity walk on the farm and concludes at 4:30pm with an old-fashioned contra dance. Throughout the day there will be musical performances by the Kitchen Kaylie Band and the Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School Chamber Orchestra; panel discussions and poetry readings; a puppet show; an art on the farm tour; and even a cow parade!

There will also be a film premiere of Roots to Renewal, which celebrates the association’s legacy, and the team from the Hudson Valley’s first video streaming app HUDSY will present an episode of This Organic Life featuring Hawthorne Valley Farm with a Q&A to follow.

For Ping, the work the association has undertaken over the last 50 years is often most evident in the impact on the youth that they have educated. “When a student comes back 30 years later and says the most important work they did in the Hudson Valley was here on the campus, that means the world to me,” he says.

  • Images courtesy of Hawthorne Valley Association

Place Corps, an initiative at the association debuted in 2019, epitomizes that. High-school graduates reside for a month at Hawthorne Valley, where they experience practical, hands-on courses like carpentry, sewing, and fermentation, workshops and seminars on a variety of topics related to regenerative living, and independent study.

“I think it’s essential that we take pride and care in our place, both to take care of ourselves and the community and world at large,” Ping says. “Place Corps, and HVA as a whole, teaches us to know, love, and serve our places. Ultimately, you want young people to feel agency in their meeting the needs of the world.”

Roots to Revival: A 50th Anniversary Celebration will take place on Saturday, October 8 at Hawthorne Valley Association, 327 County Route 21C, Ghent, NY 12075.
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