When you sit with Betsey and ask about Ryder Farm's history, she
will tell you about idyllic visits from Long Island to Ryder Farm (which has been in the family since 1795) for
annual Fourth of July family reunions and meetings of the shareholders. During this time, the farm was grazing dairy cows.
But when Betsey Ryder arrived to live on the farm, upon graduation from college, it had fallen fallow and was about to
start up as an organic farm, under the direction of her elder cousin, Hall. His dream was to re-establish the property
as a fully operational organic farm, which he did, and which Betsey now runs.
Though Ryder Farm practiced organic methods in the growing of vegetables, herbs, flowers
and fruit in 1978—a pioneering prospect at the time, it was through the USDA’s National Organic Program that
it became Certified Organic in 2003.
Since 1978, Ryder Farm has developed into a creative center of activity where the soil and the
spirit alike are nurtured. Each year, a new cohort of interns arrives to learn the craft of organic farming alongside
local, hired help—creating a unique experience every season.
In 1989, John Ryder arrived with training as a
dairy farmer near his hometown of Antwerp, NY. He is jack-of-all-trades who constructs buildings, fixes tractors—you
name it—on the farm. An indispensable and valuable member of the farm’s corps operations team, Ryder
couldn’t do it without John.
Fuad Aziz, the Field Manager at Ryder Farm, arrived in 1992. He has his bachelor’s degree
in Agriculture from Bangladesh and completed an apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at UC Santa Cruz—the
only such program in the US at the time, which is now known as the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.
characteristic blend of hard work, creativity, and open-mindedness has led to the recent partnership between Ryder Farm
and SPACE at Ryder Farm--a non-profit organization, directed by Emily Simoness, that serves as a retreat center for artists where
they can develop their works in process.
Ryder Farm has come a long way since Eleazer and Mary Ryder first arrived in an
ox-cart with three children and a veritable Noah’s Ark. One of Betsey Ryder’s favorites quotes about her
great, great, great grandparents’ legacy:
The olden days were not all work, neither are the present days all play….Yes, this
old home has seen a great deal of living. It has brought the blessings of happiness and contentment with it. Everything
there seems to speak of years of peaceful living
and as if they will be the same forever and a day. --The Old Farmhouse by Caroline Bean
You are encouraged to learn more
about Ryder Farm by perusing the website, watching videos, visiting us at market, or interning. We would love to hear
from you. The video below shares more about saving Ryder Farm and its wonderful history.