Laughing Earth has been an active farm for over 200 years, and as of December 2017, is protected by an easement to be Farmland Forever. The easement is held by the Agricultural Stewardship Association, and would not have been possible without the funding from New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and assistance from Equity Trust and Scenic Hudson. Additional support came from American Farmland Trust and Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation. This farm is truly a testament to the power of community, and the importance of making connections.
Zack and Annie Metzger are the stewards of the land and the proprietors of the business since 2015/2016.
Since the 2016 season, Zack and Annie are joined by Aaron Thomas, a past intern, who is managing the vegetable gardens.
For the 2017 season, the full-time crew is rounded out by Stephanie, a 2016 intern, who has been promoted to assistant livestock manager.
The crew are also joined on the farm by Zack and Annie's daughter Willa, born in 2014, as well as Houdini the farm dog and a plethora of cats.
The farm itself is a historic place, with roots dating back to the 18th century with the Morrison family. It is on the NYS register of historic places, and includes a charming Morrison family cemetery, recently renovated thanks to the Brunswick Historical Society.
The name Laughing Earth is inspired by a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson, titled Hamatreya -
Bulkeley, Hunt, Willard, Hosmer, Meriam, Flint,
Possessed the land which rendered to their toil
Hay, corn, roots, hemp, flax, apples, wool, and wood.
Each of these landlords walked amidst his farm,
Saying, “’Tis mine, my children’s and my name’s.
How sweet the west wind sounds in my own trees!
How graceful climb those shadows on my hill!
I fancy these pure waters and the flags
Know me, as does my dog: we sympathize;
And, I affirm, my actions smack of the soil.”
Where are these men? Asleep beneath their grounds:
And strangers, fond as they, their furrows plough.
Earth laughs in flowers, to see her boastful boys
Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs;
Who steer the plough, but cannot steer their feet
Clear of the grave.
They added ridge to valley, brook to pond,
And sighed for all that bounded their domain;
“This suits me for a pasture; that’s my park;
We must have clay, lime, gravel, granite-ledge,
And misty lowland, where to go for peat.
The land is well,—lies fairly to the south.
’Tis good, when you have crossed the sea and back,
To find the sitfast acres where you left them.”
Ah! the hot owner sees not Death, who adds
Him to his land, a lump of mould the more.
Hear what the Earth say:—
“Mine and yours;
Mine, not yours.
Shine down in the old sea;
Old are the shores;
But where are old men?
I who have seen much,
Such have I never seen.
“The lawyer’s deed
To them and to their heirs
Who shall succeed,
“Here is the land,
Shaggy with wood,
With its old valley,
Mound and flood.
But the heritors?—
Fled like the flood's foam.
The lawyer and the laws,
And the kingdom,
Clean swept herefrom.
“They called me theirs,
Who so controlled me;
Yet every one
Wished to stay, and is gone,
How am I theirs,
If they cannot hold me,
But I hold them?”
When I heard the Earth-song
I was no longer brave;
My avarice cooled
Like lust in the chill of the grave.
text taken from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/184627