This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
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This interview with Jen Ronsani was conducted at her home at Lineage Farm in Copake, NY, on July 1, 2017. In this interview Jen discusses how she came to New York State from her Childhood home in Marietta, GA, to attend Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, where she studied Italian. Her early experiences with farming began in college, leading to later jobs including at a farm on the Rokeby estate in Red Hook, NY, where much of her knowledge about sustainable farming practices was established. She met her husband, Jon, working at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Columbia County, where she first learned about biodynamic agriculture. Although the two began their independent farming careers separately, she explains how she eventually joined Jon at Lineage Farm so they could begin a family. Throughout the interview, Ronsani expresses the values by which she abides, many of which were established in her early farming career as well as those she has formed since becoming a mother and pursuing a new path in teaching. She also explains how these values inform and inspire hers and Jon’s work with Good Food for Hudson, a program they founded to provide fresh produce to low-income families in the city of Hudson.
This interview may be of interest to someone curious about sustainable, organic, and biodynamic agricultural practices; food systems and farming in the Hudson Valley; career development and adaptation; values pertaining to family and motherhood; as well as, food advocacy and accessibility to fresh food in Hudson, NY.
Gretta Tritch Roman is an architectural and urban historian who teaches at Bard College. She is the Digital Projects Coordinator for the Experimental Humanities initiative and started the Digital History Lab, which focuses on connecting Bard students with their neighboring communities through a shared interest in local history. Central to her research is an interest in food systems and agriculture as they impact and shape urban environments.
This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.
Oral history is an iterative process. In keeping with oral history values of anti-fixity, interviewees will have an opportunity to add, annotate and reflect upon their lives and interviews in perpetuity. Talking back to the archive is a form of “shared authority.”