State Sen. James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) presented the owners of Rise & Root Farm in Chester with the Empire Award, the State Senate’s highest honor for small businesses.
The award is given to exceptional businesses that go out of their way to give back to the community and are dedicated neighborhood partners.
Rise & Root Farm, located at 168 Meadow Ave. in Chester, is owned by four women with strong roots in community activism: Michaela Hayes, Karen Washington, Lorrie Clevenger and Jane Hodge.
Rise & Root Farm is committed to engaging rural and urban communities through food and farming by working with community gardens and urban farms to bring resources to city residents. They host volunteer days where family, friends, and customers can gain hands-on experience in the field.
Rise & Root Farm leases land for their farm from the Chester Agricultural Center, situated on 180 acres of Black Dirt farmland. The Chester Agricultural Center’s goal is to make the farmland available on long-term affordable leases to grow clean, local food using organic management practices.
“Rise & Root Farm’s commitment to food equity has made an enormous difference for thousands of New Yorkers,” Skoufis said. “Empowering community members to get the resources they need is exactly what the Empire Award is about and the owners of Rise & Root Farm have exemplified this through their dedication to their mission over the years. I was honored to present them with this award and look forward to continuing to support them.”
“Now more than ever, access to nutritious, locally grown food is vital,” said Hayes. “At Rise & Root Farm we work to build a more equitable food system. We want to increase food access and the amount of food that people grow for themselves.
“Through our plant sales, farmers markets, new farm store with the Chester Agricultural Center, and community workdays, we work to build stronger communities,” she added. “Since we started a farm back in 2015, then-Assemblyman James Skoufis has been a supporter of ours.”