Tag Archives: sustainable farmers

A Happy Oyster Season: Revitalizing Ecosystems and Communities

by Kelly Mertz for Change Food                                                                                                   September 10, 2015

Photo Courtesy of Samuel Alves Rosa

Photo Courtesy of Samuel Alves Rosa

For most of us, the passing of Labor Day represents the end of summer—a last call for beach days, vacations, and sweet summer produce. However, when one door closes, another one opens. On land, September brings a lush harvest of figs, pears, apples, eggplants, beets, green beans, cucumber, and so forth. In the water, and on the shores of Long Island in particular, September means oyster season, which runs through March. The mineral-rich mollusks are beginning to fatten themselves up to prepare for the brisk Northeastern winter, making their edible flesh meatier, more flavorful, and ready to be harvested and eaten by shellfish lovers around the world.

Oysters are an integral part of the ecosystems of both the Long Island Sound and the Great South Bay, as they thrive on the hard sea floors and saltiness of these waters. As a main agricultural product of the region, oyster harvesting is a mainstay in the economies of Long Island’s coastal towns, begetting township names such as Oyster Bay. About 35 miles from New York City, Oyster Bay has been the home of the Oyster Festival since 1983, which last year drew a crowd of 215,000 people. So for the people, animals, and environment of Long Island, oysters are a big deal.

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TEDxManhattan Speaker Profile: Lindsey Lusher Shute

Lindsey Shute

Lindsey Lusher Shute

As TEDxManhattan approaches, we’ve asked this year’s speakers to answer a few questions so we can learn more about them. Today we hear from Lindsey Lusher Shute, Executive Director and co-founder of the National Young Farmers’ Coalition.

1) What’s the topic you’ll be speaking about?
I’ll be speaking about the rise of a new generation of farmers in the United States, the big challenges that they’re facing in getting started and what we as a nation can do to help.

2) Why do you feel this is important?
I’m motivated to fight for young and sustainable farmers because I am one of them. My husband and I own Hearty Roots Community Farm, a 600-member Community Supported Agriculture Farm in New York State. Every day, I see the positive impact of our farm on the health of our members, the wealth of our community and the lives of our employees, and I am frustrated by the obstacles that we’ve faced in building our business. With the right support, farms like ours can turn the food system around.

3) Are there other projects you’re also passionate about right now?
Yes. I am so impressed by Food Corps. To rebuild the agricultural economy, we need hundreds of thousands of young people to be excited about growing food — and that’s exactly what Food Corps is addressing. Neither my husband nor I grew up on farms, but we had very positive experiences in community gardening and food system work which led us into farming careers. I know that some of the kids building school gardens with Food Corps today will be growing much bigger plots in the future, farms that will feed their families, friends and communities.

4) Which TEDxManhattan talks from previous years did you particularly enjoy?

I really enjoyed hearing from Kerry McLean in 2012. It’s incredibly encouraging that the NYC Green Cart program is taking off, improving access to good food for residents and offering entrepreneurial opportunity.

5) Where can more information about your project be found?

Lindsey Lusher Shute is the Executive Director and co-founder of the National Young Farmers’ Coalition, (NYFC) a membership-based organization dedicated to the success of the next generation of sustainable farmers in the United States. NYFC’s supporter network includes thousands of farmers and consumers from all fifty states, who work together to advocate for change in federal policy, develop new farm technology through the Farm Hack project and solve local issues through regional NYFC chapters. Lindsey regularly speaks at conferences and meetings across the nation, advocating for practical and policy solutions that will help beginning farmers build independent and sustainable farms. Lindsey and her husband run Hearty Roots Community Farm, a 600-member CSA farm, in the Hudson River Valley. Lindsey’s first growing experience was at the Red Shed Community Garden in Brooklyn, which she built from the ground up with neighbors.

Change Food is a nonprofit whose mission is to connect and transform the food we eat, the people who produce it, and the world in which it is grown. To read and learn more, visit The Guide to Good Food blog.