Despite COVID, Dilmun Hill Still Found a Way to Feed the Community

Following the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic, many on-campus organizations, programs and facilities were forced to close their doors. Cornell’s student-run organic farm, Dilmun Hill, was among these many organizations heavily impacted. Each year, four to five student managers are hired to prepare for the planting season in early spring. They stay through the summer and fall to grow, harvest and distribute food produced on the 12-acre farm plot near the Cornell Orchards on Route 366. Unfortunately this year, because of the sudden undergraduate hiring freeze and other newly-introduced COVID-19 restrictions, Dilmun Hill stayed silent for many of the normally hectic growing months.

Not Always as Happy as a Clam: The Cultural Clashes Underpinning Long Island’s Shellfishing Industry

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article misrepresented a source. The year is 1686. King James II looks on anxiously from his plushy throne in England as his New York colonial subjects become increasingly unruly. To tighten his grip on the settlers and quell whispers of rebellion, he appoints Thomas Dongan, a Royalist military officer, to govern the New York territory and issue decrees known as Dongan Patents for the creation of trustee-run towns across the royal province. One of these towns was Long Island’s Town of Brookhaven.

When the City that Never Sleeps Takes a Rest: What Does That Mean for Local Farmers?

As empty restaurant tables continue to collect dust in New York City, 60 miles east in Brookhaven, Long Island, Early Girl Farm is bursting with life. Tomato, eggplant and pepper seedlings are beginning to extend their leafy limbs out into the world as employees carefully prepare the soil, adjusting its mineral levels and incorporating nutrient-rich compost to create optimal growing conditions for this summer’s crops. Patty Gentry, a former restaurant owner and chef turned professional farmer, owns and operates the small but mighty farm, which provides seasonal, organic produce to restaurants in the New York City Metro Area. 2020 marks Patty’s tenth year as a professional farmer. She is an expert in her field, who understands the science of organic farming down to the microscopic levels of soil composition.

Dig In | Paw-Paw Ice Cream, Dragon Beans and Wild Bee Honey: Treasures and Lessons from the Farm at Dilmun Hill

Teddy asks me, “These are paw-paw trees. Have you ever seen them before?”

“No, but they are super cool. Is it a kind of fruit?” I respond.

“Yes. Native to Kentucky. It grows like it is native to New York. Plant it and it grows. We are going to try to make some paw-paw ice cream.”

This is my introduction to Dilmun Hill Student Farm, a 12-acre student-run farm that has been practicing sustainable agriculture on Cornell University’s campus for more than a decade.