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QUEENSBURY - The SUNY Adirondack Foundation has received a $100,000 gift from Ruth and Sandy Lamb of Queensbury in support of SUNY Adirondack’s Sustainable Agriculture Initiative.

The initiative seeks to strengthen the growing agriculture curricula at the college, increase workforce opportunities in the community and support agricultural businesses in the region. SUNY Adirondack is offering continuing education and credit-bearing classes in small-scale, sustainable farming and, with this gift, is set to develop more courses and potentially a degree program for students interested in pursuing agricultural careers, according to a news release.

The gift will partially fund the salary of a coordinator of agriculture initiatives for three years, after which the college will fully fund the position. A college hiring committee has selected Jared Woodcock of Cambridge. Woodcock has served as an adjunct faculty for SUNY Adirondack’s science division since 2012 and is the owner and operator of Taproots Farm in Washington County.

SUNY Adirondack will seek partnerships that link students, educators, local farmers and community stakeholders; create a campus advisory committee; explore how best to strengthen production and distribution activities among local farms; and obtain community input to advise in the eventual creation of a credit college program.

“We are taking a holistic approach with this initiative to include all constituents of the college,” Woodcock said in a news release. “However, the deep roots of farming in this region make it essential that we also gather input from representatives of off-campus entities, including agricultural businesses that are proven successful, as well as food safety advocates and restaurants.”

Brian Duran, vice president for academic and student affairs at SUNY Adirondack, pointed out that a quarter of New York’s land is devoted to agriculture and it represents a nearly $6 billion industry in this state alone.

Ruth and Sandy Lamb spent many years on a family farm in Hague. They continue to pursue grass roots community efforts through the Tri-County Transition Initiative of Warren, Washington and Essex Counties.

“We’re humbled and honored to accept this generous gift from the Lamb family to the college foundation,” said SUNY Adirondack President Kristine Duffy in a statement “Through the work of Dr. Tim Scherbatskoy and his connections in the community, the Lambs learned about our work to date and have pledged their commitment to support our future. We are excited about developing new opportunities that will place SUNY Adirondack at the center of this exciting and continuously changing industry.”

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