Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture

Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture is a non-profit farm and educational center located in Pocantico Hills, New York. The center was created on 80 acres (320,000 m2) formerly belonging to the Rockefeller estate. Stone Barns promotes sustainable agriculture, local food, and community-supported agriculture. Stone Barns is a four-season operation.

Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture
Stone Barns and Blue Hill 2017 06.jpg
Main building
Interactive map highlighting Stone Barns
Town/CityPocantico Hills, New York
Coordinates41°06′14″N 73°49′44″W / 41.1039°N 73.828844°W / 41.1039; -73.828844 (Pocantico Hills)Coordinates: 41°06′14″N 73°49′44″W / 41.1039°N 73.828844°W / 41.1039; -73.828844 (Pocantico Hills)
Area80 acres (320,000 m2)
ProducesHeirloom crops and heritage breeds of livestock
Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Stone Barns Center is also home to the Barber family's Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a restaurant that serves contemporary cuisine using local ingredients, with an emphasis on produce from the center's farm. Blue Hill staff also participate in the center's education programs.


Stone Barns' property was once part of Pocantico, the Rockefeller estate. The Norman-style stone barns were commissioned by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. to be a dairy farm in the 1930s. The complex fell into disuse during the 1950s and was mainly used for storage. In the 1970s, agricultural activity resumed when David Rockefeller's wife Margaret "Peggy" McGrath began a successful cattle breeding operation.[1]

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture was created by David Rockefeller, his daughter Peggy Dulany, and their associate James Ford as a memorial for Margaret Rockefeller, who died in 1996.[2] Stone Barns opened to the public in May 2004.[1]

In 2008, Stone Barns opened its slaughterhouse to slaughter its livestock for plating at Blue Hill. Using their own slaughterhouse also eliminated the long and expensive drives to the closest one.[3]

In 2017, Stone Barns published Letters to a Young Farmer, a compilation of essays and letters about the highs and lows of farming life, including Barbara Kingsolver, Bill McKibben, Michael Pollan, Temple Grandin, Wendell Berry, Rick Bayless, and Marion Nestle.[4][5]


Pigpen at Stone Barns
Chicken coop at Stone Barns

The farm at Stone Barns is a four-season operation with approximately 6 acres (24,000 m2) used for vegetable production. It uses a six-year rotation schedule in the field and greenhouse beds. The farm grows 200 varieties of produce year-round, both in the outdoor fields and gardens and in the 22,000-square-foot (2,000 m2) minimally heated greenhouse that capitalizes on each season’s available sunlight. Among the crops suitable for the local soil and climate are rare varieties such as celtuce, Kai-lan, hakurei turnips, New England Eight-Row Flint seed corn, and finale fennel. The farm uses no pesticides, herbicides or chemical additives, although compost is added to the soil for enrichment. The farm has a six-month composting cycle using manure, hay, and scraps from Blue Hill at Stone Barns.[citation needed]


Stone Barns raises chickens, turkeys, geese, sheep, pigs and bees suited to the local ecosystem. The livestock farmers try to raise animals in a manner consistent with the animals' evolutionary instincts. The chickens, turkeys, sheep and geese are raised on pastures kept healthy and productive through carefully managed rotational grazing. The sheep and pigs’ bedding packs are regularly turned and composted. Farmers who raise animals in this fashion are frequently called "grass farmers" because there is so much emphasis on the health of the pastures. Strategies for maintaining the pastures include intensive paddock management so the grazed area has ample time to recover and provide a natural refuge for birds and other wildlife, essential for the maintenance of ecological balance.[citation needed]

In 2018, Stone Barns began managing 300+ acres of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve. The first season saw a multi-species intensive grazing program where pigs forage and consume food waste including spent grain from the Captain Lawrence brewery in Elmsford, New York. Cattle, sheep, goats, hens and ducks also graze the preserve's land.[6][7]


Stone Barns offers a variety of programs for farmers, teachers and the public.[8] Annually, the farm engages eight livestock and crops apprentices. The hands on training also includes courses on business, pollination, water and soil.[6]

Young Farmers ConferenceEdit

In 2008, Stone Barns held the first Young Farms Conference to provide inspiration and education for beginning farmers.[9][10] With at least 30 percent of American farmers over 65 and only 6 percent under 35 and usually unable to purchase land, the conference aims to address farming on a smaller scale and training workshops.[11]

Entrepreneurship Intensive for FarmersEdit

Entrepreneurship Intensive for Farmers was founded in 2019 to teach farmers how to develop their entrepreneurial skills and integrate into their community.[12]

Food EdEdit

Food Ed is an interdisciplinary curriculum that teaches high school students about the food system.[13]

Blue Hill at Stone BarnsEdit

In spring of 2004, Blue Hill at Stone Barns opened at Stone Barns, pioneering farm-to-table dining which sources many ingredients from Stone Barns fields and pastures. In 2020, the restaurant received two stars from the Michelin Guide.[14] Its owners, Dan, David and Laureen Barber, also own Blue Hill in New York City.


Episode eight of Top Chef's fifth season was filmed at Stone Barns, where competing chefs used the restaurant's kitchen to prepare a meal for the farm's workers and their families.


  1. ^ a b Burros, Marian (2004-04-21). "Dine at the Rockefellers', Get in Touch With the Earth (Published 2004)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  2. ^ Dedication: A Letter from David Rockefeller
  3. ^ Dominus, Susan (2008-06-06). "How About Slaughterhouse Tour Before Supper, Food Lover? (Published 2008)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  4. ^ "Stone Barns Center releases two new videos promoting book". Food Tank. 2017-06-08. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  5. ^ "Letters to a Young Farmer: On Food, Farming, and Our Future |". Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  6. ^ a b "The Rockefeller State Preserve and Stone Barns Carry On a Legacy of Giving Back". Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  7. ^ "Expanding Our Impact". Stone Barns Center. 2018-10-03. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  8. ^ "Education". Stone Barns Center. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  9. ^ "About Stone Barns". Stone Barns Center. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  10. ^ "#YFC19". Stone Barns Center. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  11. ^ Shattuck, Kathryn (2013-01-03). "Satisfying the Need for Dirty Fingernails (Published 2013)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  12. ^ "Entrepreneurship 2020". Stone Barns Center. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  13. ^ Schiffman, Richard (2019-12-17). "Teaching Teens to See Eating as Part of the Natural World". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  14. ^ Muchnick, Jeanne. "NY restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns earns two stars in 2020 Michelin Guide". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2020-10-21.

External linksEdit