On July 1, 2014, Heroic Food founder Leora Barish purchased an 20-acre farm at 28 Fish and Game Road, just outside of Hudson, NY, to serve as Heroic Food’s base of operations. The property, which was once a cattle farm and more recently a goat dairy, comes with a well-preserved circa-1900 four-bedroom farmhouse, three barns, a milk-house, and several smaller outbuildings, in addition to rolling fields and scattered patches of woodland.
All program participants will be invited to live affordably on the Heroic Food Farm. Although the paid training positions will be on other farms in the area (in order to provide more diverse and robust training experiences), the Heroic Food Farm will be the site for classes, workshops, meetings, and other secondary training opportunities. And over the next few years, the farm will return the land after 40 years of laying fallow to productive acreage, growing diverse foods and experiences for each of its guests.
Update on Heroic Food’s Hudson Farm (an excerpt of our Harvest 2017 Newsletter)
New Shoots for Heroic Food
“Late last fall , Heroic Food took huge steps toward revising our model in order to better serve our mission. After almost four years of research and pilot programming in what was, when we started out, completely uncharted territory, we were finally ready to put into action lessons learned with a new program model which will be more flexible, accessible, effective, and more truly veteran-centered.
The most difficult decision we made was to give up our farm lease. Sentimentally, it was a tough move, but we knew it was the right thing to do to better serve our mission. Relieved of the financial burden and other demands of managing the farm, we can better focus our efforts and resources on the veterans. It also benefits our mentor farms. We continue to conduct trainings on the mentor farms as we did in the past, and now we will never be competing with them by selling our produce in the same markets! As for our year-long Immersion Program trainees, they will be receiving housing stipends so they can live independently, close to their mentor farms.
The other major growth decision we made was to hire veteran and peer mentor, Ryan O’Sullivan, as Heroic Food Program Manager. With his background as a 9 year Marine Corps Veteran, 3 combat tours to Iraq, and his boundless dedication and energy, Ryan has already vastly improved our outreach, recruitment, networking in the veteran community. He is providing robust one-on-one support for the veterans in our program.
With these new “shoots”, Heroic Food is growing beautifully, and we couldn’t be more pleased and excited by the changes!” – Leora Barish, founder and director