Welcome to Wild Roots Farm
Wild Roots Farm is stewarded by the Gillingham Family; Amy, Wes, Iris, and Roan. The land is 100 acres of woods and farm at the top of our watershed. We tend to gardens, orchards, berry patches, sheep, cows and chickens. We live in a hand-hewn dovetail log home with solar energy.
In the 1950s Wes Sr. and Beatrice Gillingham bought this land with a small cabin in the woods in the Catskill Mountains. In 1997 their youngest son also called Wes and his wife Amy (that's us) started Wild Roots Farm. We began as a organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and market farm where we grew vegetables on 10 acres of leased river bottom soil in addition to the 100 acres that we live on. We also raised sheep, cows and chickens. In 2006 our leased vegetable field flooded causing us to turn our attention to our 100 acres farmstead. We have now transitioned into doing educational programs and events while Wes works as Associate Director for Catskill Mountainkeeper an environmental advocacy organization. We continue to grow all of our own food, raise 3 breeds of sheep for wool, tend to our Scottish Highland cow, chickens and ducks. We enjoy bringing people together around the community wood fired bake oven.
Farmer / Activist
As Catskill Mountainkeeper’s co-founder and Associate Director, Wes helps develop the strategic thrust of their programs and coordinates collaborative efforts working with regional, state, and national partners on Extreme Energy Extraction and fossil fuel infrastructure fights. Dedicated to pushing New York into a Just Transition away from fossil fuels he has personally lived off the electric grid for over 30 years and serves on the advisory board of the Center for Earth Ethics and Northeast Organic Farming Association. For ten years, Wes and his wife Amy ran a 150-member Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) vegetable operation. Prior to farming, Wes served as an Acting Director of Field Programs for the National Audubon Society Expedition Institute, teaching graduate and undergraduate environmental education throughout North America and also worked as a Park Ranger for the National Park Service. Although graduating from the University of Maine his real education comes from his extensive experiences in rural and wilderness America. All stemming from growing up learning about the interaction of humans and the natural world here in the Catskills.
Amy is the heart of Wild Roots Farm. She homeschooled her two children and taught them through experiential learning on the farm. Amy loves working in the garden and grows all of the family’s fresh vegetables, looks after the orchard, berry patches and flower gardens. She is a fiber artist and hand spinner, dyer, knitter, and felter using wool from her sheep. Along with her garden skills, Amy is knowledgeable in wild edibles and medicinal plants. She has led workshops on building connection with the natural world. Amy is a Certified Breath Facilitator and Group Leader with Transformational Breath® Foundation. She was inspired to build the outdoor wood-fired bake oven to help foster community connections. Amy has a strong relationship with the earth and has worked closely with nature in all seasons. She works to bring people together around art and food by connecting to nature and our foodways.
Program Coordinator and Farmer
Iris Fen Gillingham is a 21-year-old climate and food justice activist and Program Associate at Catskill Mountainkeeper. Between 2014-2019 she worked with Earth Guardians and helped launch Zero Hour. Iris grew up on Wild Roots Farm, an off-grid regenerative farm in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Iris became involved in climate justice work at the age of 9 when her community rose up against the threat of fracking. Her positive passion for change and voice has been featured in articles and videos by Vice, The New York Times, CNN, Teen Vogue, along with international TV stations and local media outlets. She was featured in the National Geographic and Bloomberg Philanthropies film “Paris to Pittsburgh”. Iris is one of the co-creators of the Wild Roots Farm Immersion Programs. She wants to help young people build connections to their food, energy resources, and local ecology, with an emphasis on creating stronger relationships with themselves and the natural world. She hascurrently studying Human Ecology at College of the Atlantic in Maine.
Raeanna is a 21 year old member of the Dine (Navajo) Nation. She belongs to the Chíshí (Chiricahua)
Dine'é clan and born for the
‘Ashííhí(Salt) clan. She is from the Black Mesa Plateau in Northeast Arizona on the Navajo Nation. Growing up
in the rural high desert on ancestral land she became an active volunteer for the grassroots organization, Tó Nizhoní Aní(TNA) which means "Sacred Water Speaks". TNA was formed in 2001 and its mission is to protect Navajo Water. Since it's formation, TNA has successfully campaigned to end the use of pristine groundwater for coal mining. Currently, Raeanna is a student at Diné College and when she's am not studying, she is usually busy helping at the family ranch or relaxing with her cat "Gidi Mao”.
Growing up in the mountains of Colorado, Riza’s love for the outdoors sparked at a young age. She attended a Montessori school up until high school and is grateful for the hands-on approach to learning, setting the foundation for the rest of her educational journey. In the summer of 2019, she went on a 30 day backpacking trip with NOLS in the Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska. Standing on a rock field that years before was buried under a hundred feet of ice and being forced to change their route due to unprecedented river water levels from glacial melt opened her eyes to the dire effects of climate change. In October 2020, Riza embarked on a second NOLS course, spending 6 months traveling through the U.S. West. Being completely immersed in nature for an extended period of time allowed Riza to connect with herself and the natural land like never before. She is passionate in continuing this journey and contributing toward the wise stewardship of our Earth. Riza hopes to help others cultivate their own sense of self and place. She is planning on studying Human Ecology at College of the Atlantic this fall.