Episode 205: Filling Gaps in care with Crossroads4Hope and Growing Inclusivity with Rocksteady Farms

In this episode, Carol Jenkins and Jeff Madrick sit down with Amy Sutton, who sheds light on the often-overlooked challenges faced by families dealing with cancer. Then they talk to two individuals who founded a queer and trans-run cooperative farm in New York, Maggie Cheney and D. Rooney.

Amy Sutton Helps Us Understand the Impact: 

  • Cancer not only affects individuals but also has a ripple effect on caregivers, families, and communities.
  • Crossroads4Hope addresses basic needs such as housing, transportation, and food security to ensure that individuals can access and stay in care, ultimately improving their health outcomes.

Crossroads4Hope Provides Support Services to Nearly 6,000 People Each Year: 

  • The organization offers individual and group support programs, 24/7 access to mobile support, educational programs, and nutritional support.
  • They also help parents navigate conversations about cancer with their children and provides essential support during the entire cancer journey.

Closing the Gap 

  • Amy highlights the need for increased investment in community-based nonprofit organizations to fill gaps in care and provide innovative solutions.
  • Visit the Crossroads4Hope website at crossroads4hope.org or call 908-658-5400 to learn more about their programs and services.

Next, Carol and Jeff dive into the inspiring work of Rocksteady Farm, a queer and trans-run cooperative farm in Millerton, New York. Maggie and D, co-founders of Rocksteady Farm, share their journey of starting the farm and their mission to provide food security to underserved communities while training beginner queer and trans farmers.

The Origins of Rocksteady Farm


Rocksteady Farm was founded in the spring of 2016 and is entering its ninth growing season.

This 12-acre farm is a queer and trans-run cooperative with a social justice mission to feed the queer community and train farmers locally, regionally, and nationally. They offers tractor training workshops and other skill-building programs to empower queer and trans individuals in farming and beyond.

Maggie and D emphasize the importance of sharing knowledge and skills to create safe and secure learning environments.

While Rocksteady Farm is unique in its approach, Maggie notes an increase in similar projects across the country, fostering a network  of queer and trans-run farms.

 The farm engages with its community, taking feedback to expand programs and make food accessible through various channels, while shifting focus from large-scale production to a more sustainable model, serving fewer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members and producing on about four acres.

They distribute food on a sliding scale model, allowing 75% of its food to go to lower-income individuals. Also, CSA shares are available on a sliding scale, ensuring fresh food is accessible to all.

Support Rocksteady Farm

Those in New York City can support Rocksteady Farm by signing up for CSA shares at drop-off locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Produce will be available from June to November, and more information can be found on the farm's website.


Rocksteady Farm is not just a farm but a community-driven initiative that aims to empower and feed marginalized communities. Their commitment to social justice and sustainable agriculture serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for many.


- Visit Rocksteady Farm's website to learn more about their programs and how to support their mission.

- Follow Rocksteady Farm on Instagram and Facebook for updates and events.

Stay Tuned

Join us for future episodes as we explore more stories of resilience, community, and change-makers in the world of agriculture and beyond.

Amy Sutton

CEO of Crossroads4Hope

Amy Sutton is Chief Executive Officer of Crossroads4Hope, A Network of Cancer Support (CR4H). Since assuming this role in 2012, her focus has been on transforming the organization through innovative approaches that update traditional models of psychosocial support for the realities of today's complex and costly cancer journey. Her passion for the mission comes from professional and personal experiences seeing the challenges facing patients, caregivers, and family members coping with a health crisis. As a result, she is deeply committed to reducing the burden of cancer, especially on the most vulnerable members of our communities. 

Ms. Sutton has over 25 years in leadership positions within for-profit and not-for-profit organizations and has worked across healthcare, human services, and manufacturing industries. She has participated on international and national committees taking on large-scale change and health initiatives. Her entrepreneurial approach has helped to create dynamic environments focused on empowering individuals to achieve exceptional results. She has experience facilitating organization-wide change initiatives, and coaching executives, individuals, and teams to achieve high performance results. She has been successful in establishing and implementing strategies to increase revenue, capability, and effectiveness.

Maggie Cheney

General Manager, Owner, Rock Steady Farm

Maggie Cheney grew up growing & loving food. They have been involved with food and farming their whole life, both urban and rural. In 2009, they went the University of California Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems for two years, where they co-founded the first Queer Farmer Field Day. After farming a bit in the Hudson Valley and Staten Island, they moved to NYC in 2011, where they met D, Amara and many of the Rock Steady Community partners in NYC while working within a diversity of food justice and youth leadership programs, including the NYC Youth Food Policy Council and Youth Food Justice Network. In addition to co-founding Rock Steady Farm, they also collaboratively started the North East Queer Farmer Alliance, which now has 500 members. In 2020 they were instrumental in the formation of the Food Sovereignty Fund, which funds food access projects across New York State by sourcing from specifically BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ farmers, as well as supports on advisory boards for numerous food orgs in the region. In the off season they facilitate, now for the 10th year, at Farm School NYC, an urban agriculture training program, as well as continue to support the efforts and inspiring work of Rise & Root Farm, which they co-founded in 2014.

When not on the farm you can find Maggie talking with folks about national and international queer farmer visibility and organizing, writing, teaching financial literacy, and engaging in local and national anti-white supremacy and racial justice work. When not working you can find them swimming in the quarry next to the farm or hiking around the farm’s surrounding mountains and enjoying the healing powers that nature provides.

D. Rooney

General Manager, Owner, Rock Steady Farm

D is a mixed Latinx, gender non-binary farmer. D got connected to farming after working as a carpenter, in addition to the music/audio industry and in the NYC restaurant industry at Blue Smoke, when D’s passion for food cultivated a desire to understand why there are inequities in our food system. In 2012, D then became a certificate student of Farm School NYC, which D states was a life transforming experience that helped identify D’s path and callings in life. During D’s tenure with Farm School NYC, D also worked with EcoStationNY,  a nonprofit that focuses on social, environmental and food justice. D used their farming and carpentry skills as vehicles to talk about larger social and societal issues around race, class, gender and sexuality. Working with youth at the Bushwick Campus Farm (a project of EcoStationNY) the Farm School community, other nonprofits focusing on food, social and environmental justice, enabled D to dive into many of these topics. D also worked as a fellow for Design Trust for Public Space in NYC, in partnership with Farming Concrete, to work with community gardeners about creative ways of collecting data that strengthens resiliency among community gardeners in NYC, nationally and globally.

From 2013 to 2015, D was working with friends and peers, Lorrie Clevenger, Jane Hodge, Michaela Hayes, Karen Washington and Maggie Cheney and collectively founded, Rise & Root Farm. After this, to expand upon the knowledge of growing food D had been learning in NYC, D decided to move out of the city to dive full-time into large scale farming. D spent the 2015 season working at the five-acre Sister's Hill Farm, in Stanfordville, NY, cultivating their large-scale farming skills and new love for CSA farming. At Sister’s Hill D learned about efficient farm systems, how to drive a tractor and helped to co-manage for their 250 member CSA. In the off season D enjoys being a nerd and scheming about building and organizational projects for the farm, learning about tractors and motorcycles, connecting with friends, focusing on organizing and advocacy projects, as well as listening, dj-ing and dancing to music, a forever passion of theirs.