Our Work

Land Lease Program

To lease land from Chester Agricultural Center, or CAC, farmers must:
• Be Instituted as a legal entity, and farming must be their main source of income
• Be farm-insured
• Have 1-3 years of farming experience, including high tunnel and greenhouse management and maintenance, irrigation installation, and any other activities related to running a fully operational farm business
• Have worked on a farm business plan that they can present to the CAC farming community before onboarding
• Pay annual lease fees for land, farming infrastructure (i.e., greenhouse space, cold + tool/equipment storage, wash pack space), and shared utilities.

The Chester Agricultural Center provides farmers with:
• Affordable long-term land leases
• Shared farming infrastructure,
• Shared utilities, and,
• Limited support for field preparation/maintenance, and plastic mulching

Farmers that lease from CAC:
• Are aligned with CAC’s mission of creating a more sustainable, equitable and inclusive regional food system
• Care for the health and integrity of the soil, the land, and its people
• Value and practice collaboration and transparency with land owner, growers, employees, and the community at large
• Are patient with and respectful of processes and procedures
• Abide by high social justice standards

Added Benefits:
Being part of the CAC community of producers comes with added benefits. Proximity to other farms means exchange of farming knowledge and experience, and opportunities to connect and collaborate with other small and beginning farmers.

Additionally, CAC farms get to engage with partnership programming that includes farmer training and mentorship, food access initiatives, and are an integral part to creating a truly multilingual multicultural farming community that is a true reflection of our nation’s changing demographics.

Note: We are not currently accepting new farmers. Also, CAC land does not support livestock farming.

Farm Store

8 Greycourt Avenue, Chester NY 10918
In season mid-May through late October
Thursday: 10am–6pm
Friday: 10am–6pm
Saturday: 10am–4pm

The CAC Farm Store was originally created as an opportunity to support CAC farmers, who were losing markets and accounts due to the unfortunate effects that the COVID-19 global health crisis was having on agriculture and regional markets.

With time, and thanks to community feedback, response, and to ensure food security for all, as food insecurity continues to rise post-pandemic, this project now allows us to offer Chester residents and surrounding communities, fresh, healthy, and locally grown food on a weekly basis. It has also connected us to the greater food access and distribution networks in the region whose efforts we support and collaborate with.

Following in the footsteps of farms and grocery businesses throughout the Hudson Valley and beyond, we have adopted a fair pricing model – this one first thought-out by our big sister store Rolling Grocer 19 in Hudson, NY – designed with food accessibility for all in mind. Clients who shop with us can also use their supplemental nutrition benefits (SNAP).

Our store carries produce from our farmer lessees, as well as staples and proteins from neighboring farms and NYS businesses.

This work is made possible by a generous grant from Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley through their Farm Fresh Food Program.

Community Garden

The E.J. Szulwach Community Garden sits atop approximately a quarter of an acre of Black Dirt soil. It owes its name to E. J. Szulwach, former resident of these lands and generous land donor to the Chester Ag Center.

Plots of 100 square feet are available at $30 each/year; $25 for Seniors 62+/Disabled
Said fee grants members access to water for keeping your plot(s) hydrated, available tools and gardening materials such as shovels, rakes, wheelbarrow and wooden stakes. At present, the garden is not wheel-chair accessible. Garden members can lease up to 8 plots. Please indicate the number of plots you would like to lease by filling out this form in its entirety.

Plots are renewed on a yearly basis. The membership year begins 3/1 and ends 1/31. All returning gardeners must renew by 3/1. Members must be 18 years of age or older. You do not need to live in Chester but do need to live or work close by to be able to properly maintain your plot(s). Once we receive your form, we will follow up by emailing you the list of plots that are available.

The E.J. Szulwach Community Garden is a designated USDA People’s Garden.

Plot registration opens early in the spring (March) and closes in late May/beginning of June. Anyone interested in a plot can reserve it right here on our website by filling out this registration form.