Talbert & Talbert Client Feature: Livestock Foundation

For this month’s client feature we explored a non-profit foundation located in New York State’s western Catskill Mountains.  Livestock Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3  established in 2010 by its Board Chair John Finn as a means to preserve the rural traditions of the communities in which he was raised.
Given the access we are afforded in today’s global economy, small and local farms are often overlooked as a resource in the United States, yet they still have a significant impact in the communities they serve and belong too.  By promoting and supporting local businesses, farmers and trades people, the Foundation’s goal is to directly, positively affect the local economy, thus ensuring long-term sustainability in the region.
Prior to the Foundation’s formation, Board Chair John Finn came up with the concept after years of successfully hosting an annual music festival in his community of Bovina.  The festival, inspirationally named Livestock!, has remained a destination event to this day for friends, family and fans of all walks of life. The proceeds from the event go directly to the Foundation and the festival itself connects the community through music, art and food (Livestock!).
At its beginning, Livestock Foundation provided educational and outreach programs to the public and to farmers, in partnership with other organizations.  Additionally, the Foundation administered a grant program to support projects that furthered its mission. A micro-grant program for projects that enable the economic viability and historic preservation of Bovina continues today.
Aside from the already growing impact Livestock Foundation has had on its immediate community, through its grant program, the Foundation has funded programs with other local agricultural organizations.  Some of these programs created school gardens and offered training in topics such as beekeeping and blueberry cultivation. More recently, the Foundation awarded funding to the local historical society for materials to preserve community artifacts.
However, it was not until 2016 that the Foundation took huge leap in the direction of furthering its core principals and goals.
In December 2016, The Foundation purchased a historic farm in Bovina Center, NY, where it is developing a destination for agricultural engagement and education.  A herd of registered Jersey cows will fill the barn at the farm and begin producing milk for neighboring Bovina Valley Creamery.  Guests can look forward to the below activities and more, once the farm is fully operational:
  • Public farm and creamery tours, including a new exhibit space that encapsulates the past and future of the Bovina Valley Creamery
  • Field trips and day camps for urban and rural youth
  • Family farm days, offering a range of activities to engage children in agriculture
  • Food film screenings and discussion groups
  • Farm-based Watershed workshop series
  • Skills-based classes featuring local foods and makers
The end game is to raise awareness about the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of small family farms.
As the farm nears completion, it will become a place where neighbors, families and friends can gather to learn about dairy farming and our food system.  At its present, Livestock Foundation operates with an Executive Director and six volunteer Board Directors all of whom are extremely passionate about the livelihood of their communities and the importance of local farming.
To learn more about Livestock Foundation, upcoming events including Livestock! Music Festival and each of its incredible Directors, check out their website and socials below:

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