The Watershed Institute and Honey Brook Organic Farm today celebrated their 30-year partnership while announcing that this will be the last year that the highly acclaimed farm will lease land from the non-profit organization.
Honey Brook Organic Farm’s co-owner Jim Kinsel first began growing crops on 3.5 acres of the non-profit Watershed’s nature reserve in 1991. His partner and wife, Sherry Dudas, joined farm staff in 2003. The farm has grown to more than 60 acres at the Watershed and hundreds of additional acres in Hopewell and Chesterfield, New Jersey. More than 3,000 families purchase a share of the produce from the farm each year.
A pioneer of organic farming and the Community Supported Agriculture model in New Jersey, Honey Brook Organic Farm has provided healthy produce for tens of thousands of families over the years, while helping them learn about the origins of their food, and demonstrating environmentally sustainable farming practices. The farm has also provided an important educational platform for thousands of children, adults and campers from the Watershed.
“For 30 years, Honey Brook Organic Farm has demonstrated that organic farming can be successful financially, while maintaining strict environmental protections,” said Jim Waltman, executive director of The Watershed Institute. “We congratulate and thank Jim and Sherry for their leadership.”
In 2008, Jim and Sherry received the Edmund W. Stiles Award for Environmental Leadership, the Watershed’s highest award.
“We are grateful for The Watershed Institute’s confidence in and support of our stewardship of this land for the past three decades and we continue to be grateful for the support of our CSA members for enabling us to pursue our passion for organic farming,” Kinsel said
Watershed Institute benefactor Muriel Gardiner Buttinger purchased the farm in the early 1980s from the Wargo family and donated it to the Watershed in order to create a “model organic farm.” The farm was known as the Watershed Organic Farm until the name was changed in the early 2000s. Honey Brook Organic Farm was one of the first operating organic farms in New Jersey, and is the oldest certified organic CSA program in the Garden State.
Kinsel and Dudas purchased farmland in Chesterfield, New Jersey in 2007 to expand their operations into Burlington County. For over a decade, they have also rented farmland in Hopewell Township from Dr. and Mrs. Bhanwarlal Chowdhury, which is enrolled in the state’s Farmland Preservation Program. Kinsel and Dudas will not only consolidate their farming activities to three farms by exercising a provision in their contract with the Watershed to terminate the farm lease, but to also devote more time exploring ways their farmland can be a resource for carbon sequestration projects.
The Watershed Institute is committed to hosting an organic farm on the organization’s property and has discussed 2021 lease arrangements with several farmers. The non-profit organization is researching strategies to make the farm an even greater model of sustainable agriculture.
The Watershed Institute is a member-supported non-profit organization dedicated to keeping water clean, safe and healthy in central New Jersey.
For more information regarding Honey Brook Organic Farm, see honeybrookorganicfarm.com.