The Advocates: Glynwood's Kathleen Finlay & Sara Grady

By Julia Sexton & Abbe Wichman / Photography By | May 15, 2017
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President and Vice President of Programs at Glynwood in Cold Spring take on farm and food issues in the Hudson Valley.
President of Glynwood, Kathleen Finlay (right), and Vice President of Programs, Sara Grady (left), are passionate about supporting local farmers and finding solutions for Hudson Valley food systems.

President, Glynwood

She made her way to her current job as president of Hudson Valley’s Glynwood through “a respect and love for the natural world.” Finlay grew up in California, went to graduate school at Boston University for science journalism and worked in communications at the Bermuda Biological Station of Research. “It was there that I became intrigued with how the health of the natural world is coupled with the health of human beings.”

Thinking about how humans are put at risk as the world at large is “degraded” led Finlay to Harvard Medical School, as the managing director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment. In 2012 she came to Glynwood.

 “Moving here allowed me to put into practice what I was thinking about academically,” she said. Finlay noted that the Hudson Valley has a “unique ability to build a regional food system.” She is most passionate about bringing women together in the fields of food and agriculture. “My philosophy is that women’s talents and skills have been suppressed in our culture.” To that end Finlay makes it her mission to offer opportunities for women to succeed, which she stated, “happens when they’re supported by their peers.”

Vice President of Programs, Glynwood

Simply put, Glynwood’s mission is to support farmers and farming throughout the Hudson Valley, and Sara Grady’s role is to help shape the strategies and content of its widely varying programs. Grady worked behind the scenes to launch Hudson Valley Cider Week, a series of events that connect cider makers with retailers, beverage directors and chefs. Its success put New York State craft cider in top restaurants throughout the Hudson Valley and New York City. Grady also helped to create the New York Cider Association, a trade organization for the cider industry. Meanwhile, she’s behind the Kitchen Cultivars project, which seeks to save heirloom varieties of produce that are uniquely suited to grow on our land. Grady has also developed programs that connect chefs with livestock growers. Her reach is widespread—and it’s only growing.

Grady sees a link between all those divergent projects. “The work that I’ve created has been guided by my sensibility and my background, which is from creative media production. And I made art—I did all kinds of different things: I sewed costumes for the circus, I made documentaries, I was a performer and a dancer. All of those things inform my thinking about how we can grow and share good food.”

GLYNWOOD | Cold Spring

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