Cheryl Rogowski

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Cheryl Rogowski Supporting local agricultural networks and advocating sustainable farming practices, Cheryl Rogowski transformed her parents’ struggling farm into a thriving operation. She has developed several innovative programs that support her community, including providing fresh produce to low-income people.
Cheryl Rogowski, a lifelong resident of Pine Island, New York, graduated from Mt. St. Mary College with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and a minor in Hispanic Studies. Cheryl’s father, Walter, had begun a transition of his business from a commodity, wholesale grower of onions to a vegetable-crop farm doing direct marketing at the retail level. She began to diversify the farm’s activities even more, specializing in ethnic crops and specialty vegetables, and by introducing programs like Community Supported Agriculture to the farm. She also started a catering business known as Black Dirt Gourmet, which specializes in using products from regional producers.
Her farm is credited with starting the first low-income CSA in the state of New York and The Senior Share of the Harvest, a special hometown CSA program where senior citizens could receive a home-delivered package of produce throughout the growing season. Most recently Cheryl introduced hitunnel production to the farm, in which produce is grown year round. The hitunnels rely on solar energy.
In 2003, Cheryl and her family, along with Just Food, were the first co-recipients of the Glynwood Harvest Connecting Communities, Farmers and Food Award. In 2004, Cheryl and her family received the Orange Environment award for their land stewardship and farming practices to protect the environment.
In 2004 Cheryl was the first farmer to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. She also hosted her own radio talk show, entitled “Agriculture — It’s Not Just Farming,” in an effort to bring public awareness and understanding to the issues facing the family farmer today.
In 2010 Cheryl founded the first farmers’ market in her hometown of Pine Island, New York, creating a successful economic marketplace for local producers. She is currently serving on the following communities and boards: New York State Organic Task Force, Agricultural Advisory Committee Warwick Valley Central School District, FFA Foundation Warwick Valley Chapter and Pine Island Farmers Market. In 2006, Cheryl was recognized as a New York State Senate Woman of Distinction, and in 2007 was awarded the Pine Island Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year and Leadership Orange Pinnacle of Leadership Award.