FarmOn! Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization and public charity, was founded in 2011 to reinvigorate a respect for farming and launched the Friends of the Farmer Festival to raise awareness of local food choices and sources creating rural to urban marketplaces in support of sustaining local small-scale family farms.
Since its inauguration the FarmOn! Foundation has worked to generate over $250,000 in economic development for the Hudson Valley’s local community and farming families in addition to providing donations of $15,000 creating and funding youth education programs in the Hudson Valley Community since 2011.
In 2011 Friends of the Farmer Hudson Valley Food Lovers Festival launched on a gorgeous, sunny, summer day. The Festival’s inaugural events included the Hootenanny! Farm Fresh Fundraiser Dinner and Farm Fest, both held at beautiful Copake Country Club in June and July 2011, respectively. Chef Mark Straussman of Barney’s New York created the Hootenanny! farm-centric menu sourced within 5 miles of the meal using ingredients from 20 local farms and 10 local food artisans. The Fabulous Beekman Boys hosted the event and a Hudson Valley cheese course featured their own “Beekman 1802″ artisanal cheese selections. During Friends of the Farmer Festival, the FarmOn! Foundation announced its partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension and QuestarIII launching “Camp FarmOn!” a youth education scholarship program focused on honing students’ entrepreneurial spirit toward the development of profitable agriculturally based ventures. The evening concluded with a bonfire and ice cream sundae bar presented by Ronnybrook Dairy, a tradition that has continued every year since.