Blueberries are ready!

Smokey House Center's Pick-Your-Own blueberries are incredible this year and we are open for pickers.  We'll post picking conditions on our Facebook page.  Tune in there for more information.

We're at 426 Danby Mountain Road in Danby.  Check in at the Farm Stand where you'll also find farm-fresh milk from Dorset Peak Jerseys, apple products from Yoder Family Farm, maple syrup from Pink Boot Farm, and a wide range of local products. See you in the blueberry patch.

TTC's Youth Agriculture Project! 2015 at Smokey House

YOUTH AGRICULTURE PROJECT -- YAP

A work experience - building skills in growing, preparing, and selling food - from farm to table! 

Join a crew of young people (entering grades 7-9) working in the garden, kitchen, and shop to grow and prepare foods and crafts for the farmers’ market. 

Crew members commit to three days per week - Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Smokey House, and Thursdays at the Lakes Region Farmers’ Market in Poultney.

Two four-week sessions. Apply for one or both:

  • Tuesdays-Thursdays, 9am-3pm, June 23 to July 16
  • Tuesdays-Thursdays, 9am-3pm, July 21 to August 13

Read more online here or contact Juanita Burch-Clay at juanitabc@tutorialcenter.org for more information.

TTC at SHC YAP crew 2014 at the Lakes Region Farmers' Market

TTC at SHC YAP crew 2014 at the Lakes Region Farmers' Market

June and July Camps at Smokey House for Grades 3-6

Join us for activities in and around the forests, fields, and streams. The summer day camps at Smokey House Center in Danby are now open for registration. Read more here. Students entering grades 3 through 6 in the fall can attend one or both sessions (June 22-26 and July 27-31.) The program runs from 9:00-3:00 each day and includes a variety of outdoor and nature-themed activities. The cost is $150/week, and some partial scholarships are available.

Email Juanita Burch-Clay at juanitabc@tutorialcenter.org for detailed information.

(Students entering grades 7-9? Ask about the Youth Agriculture Project (YAP), a hands-on farm-to-table job training program that brings food from the garden to the kitchen to the farmers market to the home.)

TTC Grows Education Program at Smokey House

TTC Students repair wood shop wall.

TTC Students repair wood shop wall.

Now in their second school year at Smokey House Center, The Tutorial Center (TTC) carries on a rich tradition of land-based learning in Danby. Students in TTC’s YouthWork & Learn program attend full school days at Smokey House, receiving credit from their sending schools for hands-on, project-based learning in the forest and field. Among their many academic pursuits, they grow, sell, and cook with food from their own garden and have completed a range of carpentry projects, building compost bins and garden cold frames, and renovating the woodshop wall (pictured). This fall, TTC expanded the long-running Field Studies program to include students from nearby Tinmouth and Middletown Springs elementary schools for a yearlong study of wetlands. Learn more about TTC at Smokey House online.

Area Educator Joins Smokey House Board

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Smokey House Center welcomes Natalia Kline to our board of directors. Natalia is a kindergarten teacher at Bennington’s Molly Stark Elementary School. She studied Early Childhood Education and Spanish at Bennington College and has a wealth of experience with alternative education approaches. With her husband Travis, Natalia directs the Battenkill Summer Camp in Manchester, VT. Natalia is an avid home gardener, candle maker, and outdoor enthusiast.  She’s thrilled to support Smokey House’s work at the intersection of her passions for education, helping to nourish and build strong communities, and the outdoors.

Conservation Efforts Expanded

This year Smokey House Center committed additional acreage to our already expansive conserved lands. Nearly 250 acres, comprised primarily of formerly “banked lots” – parcels that could have been sold as developable lots, if desired – have now been protected from future development. This addition to our existing easement with the New England Forestry Foundation advances our goal of retaining the rural forest and agricultural landscape of the Danby Four Corners Valley. We are exploring additional farmland conservation opportunities and related funding.

Pioneering an Innovative Equity Fund for Farmers

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Historically, many farmers at the end of their careers were left with no alternative but the sale of their farmland to developers in order to provide for themselves and their families. If farmers did not own the land they farmed but instead were leasing it, they were frequently left in the unfortunate position of facing their latter years with meager resources. In either case, development on the lands or a scrape-by existence, the situation was not an attractive one.

For years, Smokey House Center has leased its farms to different farmers. Now, with the benefit of a grant from the Castanea Foundation, SHC has created an equity fund and from it developed the concept of an equity agreement for one of its farms. This agreement provides that annually over the course of the lease, a sum (the amount depending on the investment performance of the equity fund) is earmarked for payment to the farmer at the end of the lease term. Hence the idea is to create a retirement-like fund, not unlike the concept behind a 401(k), for the farmers so that at the end of their farming career, they will have accumulated some equity on which to fall back.

It is an expectation of SHC that the conservation of the Lewis Farm will bring additional financial support so that the equity funds and agreements can be established for the other two farms at SHC.