Local Notable: Billiam van Roestenberg | Highland | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
Pin It
Favorite

Local Notable: Billiam van Roestenberg 

click to enlarge DAVID MORRIS CUNNINGHAM

Some people just attract friends, and Billiam van Roestenberg has a lot of them—he maxed out at 5,000 on Facebook. Tall, charming, and charismatic, he came to prominence in 2004 as one half of the first same-sex couple to be married in New York State by New Paltz Mayor Jason West. He is a community farm activist, maintaining one of the few organic apple orchards in New York State, which was nominated for the "Top Ten Apple Picking Farms in America" in Travel + Leisure magazine.

Van Roestenberg began living in the Hudson Valley in 1998 part time and, struck by the beauty of the land and the people here, decided to buy a farm in Highland. Within a year he was running Liberty View Farm full time.

The farm needed a lot of work. The house required electric, water, heating, and interior renovations throughout. Outside, a new driveway, white picket fences, and many gardens were laid out, as well as underground watering systems, drainage systems, and electric throughout the property. At the same time, he began to acquire rare, heirloom chickens, goats, sheep, turkeys, and even some pigs.

"I was learning as I went, and the more I learned, the more I wanted to share all the knowledge—eating healthy and being happy. So I started an e-mail newsletter on eating healthy with yummy recipes, buying local, and the importance of community—being politically active to fight for a cleaner better community and environment." Now, over 35,000 people receive the newsletter, Cultivating Community.

"I quickly became involved with my community because I became aware that there were important causes that needed attention. I noticed a lot of people were not connected or using their voice to keep things beautiful or to improve our lives in big ways and small. So I did what I could." Soon, he was on the Zoning Board of Appeals and vice chair of the local Democratic Committee.

Van Roestenberg has been an activist since he turned 18 and had to sign up for the draft. "I was signing a contract with my country to lose life and limb to defend equality for all, yet my country did not support people like me."

He met Jason West, who became New Paltz's mayor in 2000. "For years I was plotting to end 'Gay Apartheid' and this was the ticket! After the New Paltz 2004 weddings, I felt obliged to use my contacts and further spread good and important news and information."

He is constantly expanding his newsletter and is kicking off the new blog Liberty View Magazine to promote Hudson Valley news and information and to cross pollinate with other news organizations and bloggers to come together and have a larger voice.

"I want my farm to succeed so I have branched out," says van Roestenberg. "It's not a good idea to keep all your eggs in one basket, especially with climate change. I notice trends and like to be ahead of the curve." He has ramped up Ag-tourism, giving more classes and tours of the farm, opening the farm to people who might like to spend a night or two there. And one of his best profit centers over the past few yeas has been hosting weddings. Like everything else he does on the farm, attention to detail rules supreme and couples are treated with white gloves. Van Roestenberg is working with other farmers to help them develop their properties into Ag-tourism sites, using the success of Liberty View as a model.

On the horizon, LVF will kick off the Ulster County Sunflower Project in 2013. "We all plant sunflowers, working with fellow farmers on the Hudson Valley Tea Consortium." He's also sharing his passion for sailing by showing people how to buy a sailboat together and sail the Hudson River. "It's very sustainable and actually affordable! It's a beautiful hobby that lets you enjoy the scenery and does not harm the environment. I bought a boat with some friends and joined the beautiful Poughkeepsie Yacht Club in Hyde Park, and I'm planning on working more closely with Riverkeeper."

Van Roestenberg's most recent project is making organic smoothies. "Last week I did vanilla almond milk, blueberries, banana, kale, apples, and some fresh ginger root. Pure and yummy—tastes like grape bubblegum!"

Libertyviewmagazine.net.

—Jeff Crane

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
Newburgh Mall Carnival @ Newburgh Mall

Newburgh Mall Carnival

Thu., June 17, 5-10 p.m., Fri., June 18, 5-11 p.m., Sat., June 19, 12-11 p.m., Sun., June 20, 12-10 p.m., Mon., June 21, 5-10 p.m., Tue., June 22, 5-10 p.m., Wed., June 23, 5-10 p.m., Thu., June 24, 5-10 p.m., Fri., June 25, 5-11 p.m., Sat., June 26, 12-11 p.m. and Sun., June 27, 12-10 p.m. — Enjoy midway fun for the whole family with rides and games for...
Up Close and Personal: The Art Effect Exhibition @

Up Close and Personal: The Art Effect Exhibition

May 28-July 1, 12 p.m. — Up Close and Personal invites you to engage with the age-old notion...

View all of today's events

Chronogram on Instagram

Latest in HV Towns

  • The Dig on Millerton's Main Street is Both Restaurant and Creative Community Hub
  • The Dig on Millerton's Main Street is Both Restaurant and Creative Community Hub

    The Dig on Millerton's Main Street sells pantry staples, smoothies, sweet and savory crepes on weekends, and has a daily changing breakfast and lunch menu. The Dig has become a hub for the work of local artists as well as a community gathering place, hosting food-themed events featuring traditional dishes made by locals, live music, and artist pop-ups.
    • Jun 18, 2021
  • Bus Stop Grill: Garrison's Mobile Restaurant and Family Business Innovation
  • Bus Stop Grill: Garrison's Mobile Restaurant and Family Business Innovation

    Driving down Route 9 outside Garrison, it’s hard to miss the Bus Stop Grill—a large bright red bus-turned-restaurant parked on the side of the road. The mobile restaurant is the brainchild of local business owner Ernest Knippenberg, whose bus company Hudson Valley Charter Service has been in the family for more than 50 years. Bus Stop Grill offers both breakfast and lunch, served from 7 to 11am and 11am to 3pm respectively. The menus feature American classics––breakfast sandwiches, rolls, bagels, pastries, and muffins in the morning, with corned beef and pastrami sandwiches as the mainstay of the afternoon offerings.
    • Jun 18, 2021
  • Talbott & Arding Cheese and Provisions Shop Gets a Space Upgrade
  • Talbott & Arding Cheese and Provisions Shop Gets a Space Upgrade

    Hudson’s premier cheese and provisions shop Talbott & Arding is expanding into a sprawling new space on Allen Street next month. Clocking in at 8,000 square feet, the new storefront will be a continuation of T&A’s current concept as a hub for local provisions makers. With plenty of room to stretch their wings, the new location will have expanded offerings of cheese, charcuterie, pastries, and fresh pasta, plus a re-crafted food menu.
    • Jun 14, 2021
  • More »