Chris Tsimbidis pictured on the farm

The Pandemic Pushes Aspiring Farmer in New York City to Start Diversified Farm in Washington County

While living in New York City, Chris Tsimbidis used to imagine building a diversified farm to produce healthy food while improving the soil, healing ecosystems, and capturing carbon. In October 2019 he enrolled in the Farmer Assistance Program offered by GrowNYC, a Farmland for a New Generation New York Regional Navigator, to prepare a business plan for his future farm. Once he was ready to find land, Chris created a profile on the Farmland for a New Generation New York website and attended a farm tour in the upper Hudson Valley hosted by another Regional Navigator, Agricultural Stewardship Association (ASA). During this tour, he fell in love with Washington County, and began working with ASA staff to connect with a farm south of the village of Cambridge that was listed on the website. Chris developed a multi-year plan to start leasing and eventually take ownership of the property, but those plans changed quickly as the coronavirus pandemic escalated and Chris lost his job in the city. He began weighing his options and ultimately decided to move his plans forward and commit to starting a farm. To help Chris with the purchase, American Farmland Trust provided him with a microgrant that he applied towards his legal fees, and as a result, he was able to close on the property in late spring of 2020.

Chris has already laid the groundwork for the farm both figuratively and literally, by planting 6,000 heads of garlic. In 2021, he will be growing vegetables on the farm and hopes to begin raising poultry for eggs and meat. To start, Chris plans to sell at GrowNYC’s Greenmarkets and through a CSA in New York City. His future vision includes incorporating both maple syrup and a small livestock operation using silvopasture techniques, and he hopes to then launch a sliding-scale customizable CSA in the Capital Region to feed his local community.

Published in February 2021