Finca Seremos: Chris Nickell and Brenda González

We're beginning farmers looking to raise diverse vegetables and layer hens on 3–5 acres in the Hudson Valley to nourish our communities of Northern Manhattan and the Bronx with high-quality, agro-ecologically-grown produce. Open to lease or own.

Preferred counties/regions

  • Columbia County
  • Greene County
  • Hudson Valley
  • Dutchess County
  • Ulster County
  • Sullivan County
  • Orange County
  • Putnam County
  • Westchester County
  • Rockland County
  • Delaware County

Desired acreage

  • 5 or fewer
  • 6-10
  • 11-20
  • 21-50

Farming Status

Emerging farmer: 2 years or more of on farm work experience

Currently farming full-time

Primary reason for farming

Farm will generate a portion of my income

Farming status, plans, and practices

Finca Seremos aims to provide agro-ecologically-grown, nutrient-dense diversified vegetables, fruit, and poultry products primarily for farm share (CSA) subscribers in the Northern Manhattan and the Bronx with a wide range of incomes—including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients—who value fresh, local, and culturally-appropriate food.

The name Finca Seremos means “We-will-be Farms” in Spanish. It comes from the closing line of “Love Sonnet LXIX” by Pablo Neruda, a nod to the love that founders Chris and Brenda have for each other and their family, for stewarding the land, and for their communities in Inwood, Washington Heights, and the Bronx. The poem’s final line—“And through love I will be, you will be, we will be”—also frames the deep understanding of interdependency and mutual aid at the heart of Finca Seremos’ approach to farming.

Finca Seremos seeks to bend our arc toward justice in three key components of farm operation: production and land stewardship, community relationships, and labor practices. Over the 2024 and 2025 seasons, we aim to scale up a no- / low-tillage, lightly mechanized, diversified vegetable and perennial cultivation on 4+ acres using a rotational system tailored to the land, along with a pastured poultry operation on 1.5 acres focused on laying hens. By going beyond requirements for organic certification under the National Organic Program, Finca Seremos aims to boost the strength and resilience of the ecosystem by increasing soil health and diversity of species at all trophic levels while providing food for ourselves and our communities.

Community relationships are the second key to the vision of Finca Seremos. Brenda’s background as an educator and Chris’ experiences as a community organizer, both in working-class communities of color, inform Finca Seremos’ approach to forming community in the Hudson Valley and supporting existing ones in New York City. We will build on relationships established with Hudson Valley farmers to provide our CSA subscribers with access to high quality, regeneratively-grown animal products as add-ons to their produce shares.

Finca Seremos aims to organize in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx through food. Complementing the many organizing models that respond to emergency and crisis, our work will slowly build the kinds of deep relationships that only food can cultivate. Concretely, this work will begin over conversations at CSA pickups, getting to know our customers and building relationships with them, trading recipes and resources for housing, education, healthcare, and labor concerns. We’ve cultivated broad networks of support and social services across all these areas through our previous work in government and education that we can leverage to help our community solve everyday problems starting at CSA pickup times.

As the farm scales up, we will create a non-profit arm with a focus on education, taking inspiration from practical and justice-oriented training programs like Farm School NYC and Soul Fire Farms. Finca Seremos will partner with local high schools where we have strong relationships—including Comp Sci High, George Washington High School, and Gregorio Luperón High School for Science and Math—to offer internships for our majority Black and Brown neighborhood youth to experience farming outside the stigmas that agricultural work carries for many of their families. In this way, we will provide an opportunity for many students with farming in their family’s recent past to reconnect with that ancestral knowledge, and so create another much-needed pipeline for farmers of color to skill up, get on land, and feed our people.

The final piece of Finca Seremos’ vision involves creating a worker-owned cooperative. As long-term residents of a low- and middle-income housing cooperative, customers of several commercial coops, and people hailing from cultures of cooperation and mutual aid in Appalachia, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, founders Chris and Brenda understand how cooperative principles form a solid bedrock for ethical and sustainable decision-making in workplaces. During the first year of operation, Finca Seremos will solidify an initial team of 3–4 collaborators to begin building out the structure of the coop as we build out the farm itself together. Taking inspiration from Rock Steady Farm, the cooperative will thoughtfully delegate power and responsibilities to different levels of the emergent governance structure so that we can maximize both worker dignity and input, as well as financial stability. This cooperative structure is essential to the vision for Finca Seremos because it bakes sustainability into the organization at the outset by ensuring interdependence of cooperators so that no one person becomes irreplaceable when knowledge and responsibilities are shared.

Farm Experience & Education

  • Farmer training or workshop
  • Farm manager
  • On farm work experience

Chris grew up around farms in rural West Virginia, and Chris and Brenda have worked at least a few days a year on various farms prior to 2022. Finca Seremos was a dream for 15–20 years from now before the COVID-19 pandemic, but we accelerated that timeline significantly upon Chris’ departure from state government because we both felt a heightened urgency to facilitate healing work for our communities.

Chris read as much as they could get their hands on, took a plant science class at the New York Botanical Gardens, and attended conferences and webinars for 5 months before beginning their full-time job at Stone Barns Center in April 2022. As a crops farmer there, Chris has learned agro-ecological methods for growing vegetables and witnessed their application in raising livestock. During the growing season, they attended 15 of 17 Mid-Hudson CRAFT farm tours, learning about diverse methods and styles of vegetable and livestock production in the Hudson Valley. In the 2023 season, Chris worked as crew leader at Cropsey Community farm, with a focus on tractor work and honing manual skills.

Brenda’s degree in graphic design means we will not have to hire out for communications, branding, website design, advertising, or social media. Her role as Director of School Culture at Comp Sci High has perfected her culture building skills and logistics expertise, putting her in a position to effectively launch the organizational and operational components of Finca Seremos.

Both Chris and Brenda have experience managing large projects and teams toward a shared vision, forming partnerships with other organizations, and facilitating groups and resolving conflict.

Finca Seremos has been selected to participate in Glynwood's Farm Business Incubator Program and Grow NYC's Farm Beginnings program.

In addition to the skills Chris and Brenda bring to the table, Finca Seremos is actively recruiting potential cooperators to join our team. We are specifically looking for seasoned farmers with experience in vegetables at tractor-scale and poultry, as well as beginning farmers of color from our communities.

Farming Plans and Practices

Farming method or practice

  • Organic (not certified)
  • Regenerative/Sustainable

Primary crops

  • black outline of a carrot Vegetables
  • black outline apple icon Fruits
  • black outline of a flower Flowers or Ornamentals
  • black outline of a wheat germ Grains
  • black outline maple icon Maple

Primary livestock

  • Black outline of a sheep Goats/Sheep
  • Black outline of a chicken Poultry

Finca Seremos will pursue diversified vegetable production utilizing a no- / low-tillage approach, composting on-site if permitted, and irrigation both overhead and drip (depending on the crop). Crop families include alliums, brassicas, chenopods, cucurbits, greens, herbs, nightshades, and umbels.

Pastured poultry is the second key component of Finca Seremos’ vision of integrating livestock into a regenerative farming system. We aim to introduce a small flock of 15–20 laying hens at the outset to experiment with diet and shelter options before scaling up over time by keeping a flock of 200 layers.

A few goats will be kept on property as permitted to manage marginal areas adjacent to woods.

Marketing Method

Our initial target market will be new farm share subscribers from roughly 20 ZIP codes in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx, focused on the neighborhoods of Inwood, Washington Heights, and Soundview, where we have been doing community organizing for a decade. The analysis we performed in November 2022 (results available upon request) bears out this opportunity. As we grow, we will also continue to cultivate pre-existing relationships with several local restaurants, the NYC Department of Education, and schools with the ability to contract out their own food supply, which will become important secondary markets as Finca Seremos becomes more established.

Farm business plan or farm resume

I have a business plan

Farmland Needs

Infrastructure required

  • black outline electrical icon Electrical access
  • Black outline of a water drop Water access

On-site housing, barns, and storage facilities are all preferred but not necessary. We will work within the land tenure arrangement to ensure the infrastructure we need is present already or built out as we need it.

Desired Tenure

Tenure options desired

  • For Sale
  • Cooperative Model
  • Other Tenure Agreement

We have a strong preference for ownership or cooperative model but are willing to sign a 2- or 3-year lease with the possibility to renew for another similar term.

Estimated price range for a lease or a purchase of a farm property

$1–2k/mo rent or <$400k purchase price

Has this farmer received a pre-qualification from a lending institution?


Will this operation qualify an eligible landowner for an Agricultural Assessment?


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