Unconventional by Nature

Hawthorne Valley Association

Hawthorne Valley embraces Rudolf Steiner’s concept of associative economics, where producers, distributors, retailers, and consumers collaborate.

photo of the interior of the farm store featuring the produce section and center display of potatoes, onions and flowers is in the foreground, while the greens display case is in the background
focused on bunches of kale growing out of the ground, farmers are blurry in the background picking the kale
close up shot of leafy green vegetables liike lettuce, chard, and chives
shot of hawthorne valley yogurts on the shelf in the farm store
loaves of bread on cooling racks with and a shot of just a bakers hands pulling out one tray of bread
close up of a farmer holding a slice of a radish out to the camera with a pairing knife in the same hand, the rest of the radish in their other hand
hawthorne valley wrapped Luna cheese on a wooden cutting board

Established amidst the surge of industrialization in agriculture and food production, Hawthorne Valley emerged in 1972 as a beacon of hope for small farms and a sanctuary for urban children seeking genuine connections with nature.

With a resolute vision to invite schoolchildren onto a working, biodynamic farm, the founders faced fallow land, prompting them to employ three pivotal strategies for long-term viability: building healthy soils, on-farm value adding, and direct retailing to customers. This gave rise to a dairy herd as a means to add fertility to the soil, a creamery for yogurt and cheese production, and the early implementation of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model. Currently, with 350 CSA members, the farm offers pick-up options on-site, in four New York City (NYC) metro locations, and at several NYC greenmarkets.

The Farm Store, initially a cigar box for honor-system transactions, expanded into the marketplace and food hub it is today, collaborating with 200+ local businesses, reflecting Hawthorne Valley’s commitment to the local economy. Hawthorne Valley Farm has also played a pivotal role as one of the founding farms of the greenmarkets in New York City’s Union Square. Over the years, it expanded its market presence, opening new stands to bring farm products to the broader New York Metro area.

Supported by local foundations, Hawthorne Valley assumed a leadership role in enhancing food access for vulnerable citizens in Columbia County. This collaboration incubated Rolling Grocer 19, a retail innovation with tiered pricing, which gained independence in 2021.

peering up at the rolling grocer sign hanging on the ouside of a brick building
focus on a calf laying as two students kneel beside them

At its core, Hawthorne Valley embraces Rudolf Steiner’s concept of associative economics, where producers, distributors, retailers, and consumers collaborate. Operating somewhat independently, the farm’s enterprises contribute to the whole, maintaining financial integrity with shared budgets.

Celebrating over 50 years, Hawthorne Valley thrives as an ecosystem, blending education, ecological and social research, land stewardship, farming, food production, and retailing. We embrace complexity and dynamic change, blending imagination, intention, attention, hard work, occasional luck, and a dash of magic as a recipe for resilience.