This month, we're collecting stories from staff, board, friends and supporters about what made them care about sustainable agriculture and/or conservation. Thomas G. Walsh is the Chair of theIntervale Center Board of Directors, and he shared with us this story:
I have always had a connection to our physical environment which started as a kid growing up in rural upstate New York. My father was a dairy farmer in upstate NY into his twenties. After marrying my mother he retired from his father’s family farm and graduated at age 40 with a BS in education. He went on to teach college courses ranging from overhauling tractors to physics. My mother moved upstate from White Plains, NY at age 16. She taught kindergarten for 36 years. I grew up in the same small rural town where my father was raised. We lived on what I call a “pleasure farm.” We didn't earn money farming, however, we were a long way toward self-sufficiency. We had horses, beef cows, sheep, a pig or two, chickens, dogs and cats. From time to time we had other animals (ducks, raccoons and the like…) staying on our property at their discretion, but they didn't stay in our care too long. We hayed the fields and always had large vegetable and berry gardens. Growing up this way kept me outside playing and working. I was constantly observing how humans and animals interacted and affected our environment. The Intervale Center's strong interest in land, its uses and the impacts with a focus on sustainable use and stewardship of agricultural lands is a passion that I share.