Rockland Farm Alliance Executive Director Naomi Camilleri and environmental educator and advocate Laurie Seeman will receive the first Clarkstown at Tuesday’s Town Board Meeting.
"This award gives us the opportunity to recognize those in our community, like Naomi and Laurie, who share our dedication to our environment,” Supervisor Alex Gromack said. “I congratulate both of them for their hard work and commitment."
Camilleri hopes the award will increase participation in local farming initiatives.
"I am truly honored that the Clarkstown Town Board has selected me to receive this award, on behalf of Rockland Farm Alliance,” said Camilleri. “So many people have worked tirelessly to launch Cropsey Community Farm, Rockland's newest and largest organic farm and RFA's first farm project. We are rewarded for our labors every day as we see students of all ages come to the farm and learn about sustainable agriculture, as well as happy community members engage in farm events and enjoy locally grown, organic produce. I hope that receiving this award will increase awareness about the work that Rockland Farm Alliance is doing to bring small-scale sustainable farms back to Rockland."
Seeman sees the award as an opportunity to encourage residents to learn more about the environment where they live.
“It makes me really happy to be recognized where I live,” she said. “When I first heard about the award I thought it would be a wonderful thing for people to understand that the governing body where we live is appreciative of environmental excellence.”
Seeman is also an earth artist, a partner in the Strawtown Art & Garden Studio in West Nyack and active in several watershed protection organizations. She said Clarkstown has significant environmental features and people should “not only understand the work of nature but the beauty of nature.”
John McDowell, president of the Rockland Farm Alliance (RFA), noted Camilleri’s contributions.
“While it took many hands to build Cropsey Community Farm and sustain Rockland Farm Alliance, it certainly wouldn’t have happened without Naomi’s steadfast determination, tireless devotion and inspiring leadership,” he said.
McDowell urged RFA and Cropsey Community Farm members to attend the meeting for a twofold purpose; “to show support for Naomi, and for increasing farm acreage for local food.”
“I am pleased to recognize both Naomi and Laurie, residents who dedicate and donate their time and expertise to improving the environment in Clarkstown,” said Councilwoman Shirley Lasker. “Both honorees are talented volunteers who work selflessly every day to improve our quality of life. They are the true unsung heroes and role models in our community."
When Town Supervisor Alex Gromack and members of the town board announced the award in August and requested nominations, they noted selection criteria was based on contributions to environmental preservation, beautification and improvement in the town. Individuals living or working in Clarkstown and, businesses and organizations located in the community were eligible for nomination. The Town received six applications.
A birdhouse will be dedicated in honor of each recipient and installed at the Congers Trailway.
Profile of Laurie Seeman:
An earth artist, environmental educator and advocate she has lived and worked in Clarkstown since 1997. Together with her work partner Joanna Dickey she runs Strawtown Art & Garden Studio, a place for environmental nature, art and science programming which runs summer programs and also year-round workshops for schools and communities. At the core of her work is watershed awareness and protection. She is the founder and coordinator of the Sparkill Watershed Alliance, member of the Rockland Coalition for Sustainable Water, and a Riverkeeper Hudson River watchdog. She is also the Rockland coordinator for the NYS DEC Citizen Science waterway monitoring programs. In 2008 Laurie was nominated for the Hudson River Watershed Alliance, Hudson River Stewardship Award. Laurie graduated from F.I.T. in NYC with a degree in Communications. Her continuing education includes study and training in Biodynamic Agriculture and nature observation study with the Nature Institute. She is listed in the Women Environmental Artists Directory.
Profile of Naomi Camilleri:
A Rockland County native, she spent much of her formative years in rural Massachusetts, where she worked on farms and developed a deep love for gardening and farming. After gaining her BA in Comparative Literature from Brown University and a stint studying and working in Europe, Naomi returned to Rockland and pursued a career in film and online media. A growing dedication to and extensive study of diet, nutrition and local food issues led Naomi to join Rockland Farm Alliance in an effort to work toward a sustainable local food economy. A full-time volunteer for the last year and half, Naomi has devoted herself entirely to furthering the work of Rockland Farm Alliance, including the launch of Cropsey Community Farm, and brings her background and experience in writing, photography, film, online media and project management to bear in her role as Executive Director of the RFA.
The RFA was formed in early 2007 with the “mission to preserve, create and enhance sustainable food production in Rockland County.” After partnering with the county and town, the RFA started a community supported agriculture project at Cropsey Community Farm. This is the first year crops are being grown at the five-acre site along South Little Tor Road.