Patroon Farm raises barn

Food bank's farm facility built with community donations

Officials at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York are hoping those in need will be getting more healthy vegetables after a barn is opened at the Patroon Land Farm.

Local dignitaries and bank representatives celebrated the construction of the barn Tuesday, June 29, at the Voorheesville farm, which is run by volunteer labor and donates its harvest to the bank.

The regional food bank's Linda Comstock hopes the farm will be even more productive with the new facilities in place.

It's going to be the hub of operation, just like and barn is on a farm, she said. "We did not have a place where we could wash and pack the produce [before]... We will be able to move things along a lot faster."

Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York Executive Director Mark Quandt echoed those sentiments.

"It will also provide a place where our staff can work and volunteers can do work in bad weather," he said. "When it's raining, sometimes we don't really have anything for our staff to do."

But perhaps the most impressive thing about the barn is the fact it was constructed entirely through donations. A committee started raising money in January and gathered about $35,000 through efforts like candy sales, seed sales and a red dress walk, and local companies, unions and individuals donated a combined $50,000 in materials, labor and other services.

"They are the ones that are raising the barn," said Comstock. "If it weren't for the community we wouldn't be doing the barn."

The Patroon Land Farm is a unique endeavor for the food bank. The farm was endowed as farmland by Pauline Williman in the '90s, and in 2006 the bank partnered with the farm to grow produce for the needy there.

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