Tessa Edick, founder of the FarmOn! movement, has cultivated and nurtured a broad network of supporters, partners and beneficiaries within New York State as a pilot program that can be implemented nationally. The Foundation was formed due to the philanthropic arm of Culinary Partnership and FarmOn! Foundation as the financial beneficiary of the Friends of the Farmer Festival, Hootenanny! benefit dinners and other community driven events focused on filling the succession gap in family farms for economic development, health and wellness.
Edick launched her career in the food industry as Founder of Sauces ‘n Love, Inc. a Boston-based food manufacturer, 16 years ago. Edick and her Italian partner revolutionized ready-made tomato sauce in a jar (Scarpetta) and other Italian specialty food products by sourcing local ingredients fresh from family farms. The company garnered over 200 print and television impressions as it grew globally, including two features in the Oprah Magazine “O” list, as well as 16 SFT “Sofi” awards, known in the industry as the Oscars of food. Edick also founded the Culinary Partnership, where her guidance helps both celebrity chefs and food entrepreneurs launch their recipes to retail shelves. All products launched by the Culinary Partnership are in line with Edick’s commitment to truth in food, a triple bottom line, farm-fresh ingredients and responsible food choices.
In 2010, Edick started Friends of the Farmer Festival in the Hudson Valley and established the FarmOn! Foundation as the benefactor – a non-profit organization and public charity committed to raising the awareness of farmers and the farming community while educating the public on the importance of honest food-choices and sustainable practices. FarmOn! Foundation offers programs for adults and youth, including an accredited Ag-Academy and summer camp, the theme of which is fostering the entrepreneurial spirit in agriculture, thereby supporting the local growing community in the process.
In 2014, through a generous contribution from the CJ Mack Foundation, Farm On! Foundation received a deed to the historic Empire Farm in Copake, NY. At 220 acres, the farm is the official home base of the organization, a community center and Ag-Academy. The organization now provides CSA farm shares TasteNY and New York City chefs and restaurants; an exclusively curated CSA program of produce-meat-dairy called #abcsa is delivered to individuals in a partnership with ABC Home (#abcsa); year-round educational programs in conjunction with Cornell School of Agriculture and SUNY, and a host of influential fund-raising and community events. One of FarmOn! Foundation’s extraordinary initiatives is the Milk Money program, underwriting local milk to public schools – with the promise of “cow to kid” in 36 hours, milk consumption in the 10 school districts currently sponsored has increased 300% in the first year for smarter lunchrooms and healthier communities!
Tessa Edick has raised over $4 Million in 5 years, which was utilized in part to acquire Empire Farm as a community center, Ag-Academy and working farm to invite people to experience food education back to the farms we must preserve. She developed and funded the following programs for youth in proven pathways with measurable results that change kids lives as they opt out of processed food by choice and engage in health and wellness through pathways from “cradle to career”. With these opportunities children move through consumption: seed, soil, growing, and harvest to eat and cook what they grow and meet their farmers to understand the supply chain and their role demanding sustainable, organic practices and better taste.