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.
The Gillingham Family
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. Amy and Iris both work with sheep and currently have heritage breeds (Icelandic, Shetland and Scottish Blackface). 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 facilitator intern with Transformational Breath Foundation. She was inspired to build the outdoor wood fired bake oven to help build community. 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 resources.
Wes grew up spending summers exploring the woods and caves on the 100 acres that is now Wild Roots Farm. His connection to the land led him to become an amazing naturalist. He was a college professor for the Audubon Expedition Institute for 10 years traveling around the country teaching students about ecosystems and culture. Wes and Amy decided to build roots in the Catskills because of his relationship with this land. After farming for ten years, he co-founded the environmental advocacy organization Catskill Mountainkeeper. He has been Associate Director for Catskill Mountainkeeper for 12 years. Wes is passionate about farming and is especially fond of the cows, wild blueberry pancakes, cabbage, potaotes and sweet corn.
Iris Fen is 18-years-old and loves living in the Catskill Mountains. She is an artist and independent thinker with a deep interest in her Celtic heritage. She has grown up with the looming threat of the fracking boom coming to her home and the land she loves which led her to become a spokesperson for youth in her community. This brought her to press conferences, rallies, protests and meetings about environmental and social justice issues. As a member of the Earth Guardians Speakers Bureau she has led workshops and plenaries on youth engagement, ageism and empowerment. For three years Iris wrote as a journalist for Manor Ink, a local youth-driven newspaper that provided her with the experience to take on the role of Editor-in-Chief. On the farm she makes her own all natural makeup and loves playing with her sheep, picking wild berries and doing photography. She is our website and social media manager for the farm. Iris is studying Human Ecology at College of the Atlantic.
Roan was homeschooled until 9th grade when he started attending Sullivan West Central High School. Growing up Roan raised his own cows and organic poultry. He is a successful athlete and track runner at his high school. Roan enjoys playing soccer and hanging out with friends. He cuts and splits firewood, stacks hay and helps with the tractors and equipment on the farm.