roots to renewal agriculture episodeHawthorne Valley is pleased to announce the release of episode 9 of Roots to Renewal: a 50th Anniversary Podcast. In this episode, we stayed in our own back yard – right here on Hawthorne Valley’s 900-acre Biodynamic farm. Hawthorne Valley’s Executive Director Martin Ping sat down with Spencer Fenniman, Director of Farm Operations, and Jess Brobst, our Dairy Herd Manager. Together they discuss the essence of biodynamic farming, the pedagogical function of the Farm, and the role of art on the Farm.

“We are very excited to share this behind the scenes glimpse and for you to hear firsthand the intentionality and profound thought that goes into biodynamic farming,” says Heather Gibbons, Director of Marketing & Communications. “We are grateful to Spencer and Jess for taking time out of their long and incredibly busy days to share their perspectives, and are filled with gratitude for their many contributions to Hawthorne Valley.”

Click here to tune in or listen wherever you get your podcasts. Hawthorne Valley is grateful to Tierra Farm for their support of the podcast series, and Grammy Award winning musician Aaron Dessner for providing the music.

About the Farmers

Spencer Fenniman is the Farming Director at Hawthorne Valley Farm. He has managed fields and fertility at Hawthorne Valley since arriving in 2012. As a younger person, his studies in Anthropology, food geography, and something-useful-to-do-outside-ski-season lead him to a series of organic and biodynamic farming apprenticeships. The more he practices nature-based farming, the more he appreciates the land and the deep knowledge, listening, creativity and dedication of his agricultural teachers. For Spencer, biodynamic farming is a way of life based in connection, and managing the soil, the livestock and the ecology in a holistic manner provides the fertile grounds for personal, productive and pedagogical connection.

Jessica Brobst joined HVF as a whole farm apprentice in 2016 before moving up the ranks to herd manager in 2018. Jess grew up on a farm in West Virginia and comes with a lot of experience working with animals. She has an extra-ordinary work ethic and has an amazing way with the cows. When she isn’t working on the farm with the dairy herd, Jess is at home making beautiful artwork, studying Waldorf pedagogy through Hawthorne Valley’s Alkion program or walking with her dogs, Nina and Josie.