Just a few days ago we celebrated Mother’s Day, and I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on what it means to be a mother. For me, it was the greatest gift and honor to raise my children. Every stage brought new discoveries and challenges, not only for my children, but for me as well. It was a transformation of my whole being, from being a child myself, to becoming an adult, responsible for another person’s life. Now, getting to experience the amazing human beings my children have become, has got to be one of life’s greatest joys! To all the mothers out there, your hard work pays off! We are givers, nurturers, teachers, peacekeepers, healers, lovers, cooks, housekeepers, drivers, organizational wizards, and all around care givers, very often not only to our children, but to our children’s friends, our partners, our friends and to our communities. I want to honor you all! Thank God for all the mothers of the world!
I want to remind you of the two events our Slow Food Chapter has coming up! The first one is on Friday, June 16th. It is a Tour of the Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm, followed by a tour and wine tasting at Rooftop Reds, a sustainable rooftop vineyard, also at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. We’ll finish the evening off with a rooftop gourmet pizza party, overlooking the Manhattan Skyline.
The second event is the following night, on Saturday, June 17th. We will be celebrating our Annual Summer Solstice Party at Restoration Farm in Old Bethpage. This is a casual pot luck dinner, with great food, great music, and great conversation. Rising Tide Natural Market, our Slow Food Snail of Approval market, will be providing all of the appetizers for the cocktail hour! We hope you can join us!
This week, I am very excited to introduce to all of you, Alethea Vasilas, the founder of Orkestai Farm, and Aidan Feeney, their farm manager. Orkestai Farm is a special place. It is a farm for autistic young adults, giving them an opportunity to work as a community, and to use the farm as a therapeutic approach to growing vegetables. Alethea’s background in dance, somatic therapeutic exploration, cultural anthropology, and organic farming informs her ability to blend the special needs of an individual on the spectrum into the cultivation of vegetables. She holds a B.A. in Africana Studies from Brown University, an M.A. in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University, and certification in Biodynamics, Permaculture Design, and Developmental Somatic Psychotherapy.
As the farm manager, Aidan and his partner, Natasha Phieffer are Orkestai Farm’s agricultural masterminds. They run the farm as a CSA (community supported agriculture) and plan what vegetables to grow, how much, and when to harvest. They coordinate the community of workers, and their aides, and set them up on what projects need to be done each day. Both Aidan and Natasha received their bachelors degree in agriculture from Sterling College in Vermont, and went on to manage farms in Vermont and the Hudson Valley before coming to Long Island. In addition to Orkestai Farm, Aidan is also managing Youngs Farm in Old Brookville.
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With love and gratitude,