Hilltop Hanover Farm

Exit fullscreen

Hilltop sits at a threshold between New York City and the Hudson Highlands, with over 19 million people within a 50-mile radius. The site’s open, rural character— remarkably preserved through the decades—offers a unique vantage point for an educational mission focused on reconnecting people with natural systems and sources of food and water. Reed Hilderbrand’s framework plan strategically envisions an enduring and welcoming center for visitors to immerse themselves in hands-on learning, service, and appreciation of growing crops and preparing food.

In 2003 Westchester County acquired Hilltop’s main campus — a former dairy farm and breeding operation — along with a swath of County-designated parkland with wetlands, hills, and trails, all within the traditional territory of the Wappinger Munsee Lenape people. The County and numerous regional organizations have since shaped the property into a programmatically rich environmental center and community farm. Hilltop’s community impact is limited, however, by deteriorating buildings, a tangle of farm operations and public arrival, proliferating invasive species, and unmaintained trails.

Commissioned by the County in 2021, this framework for future decision- making identifies essential improvements to the farm site, while situating the stewardship and enhancement of Hilltop Hanover Farm’s unique landscape as the centerpiece that guides and unifies its stakeholders. The Master Plan was informed by engagement with the local community, County partners, and other stakeholders, as well as regional and national thought leaders in sustainable agriculture and environmental education. This plan proposes fortifications to car-lite modes of access to the site, including bus and train service and the nearby North County Trailway. It also recommends additional trails and outdoor classrooms, clarified vehicular circulation, and adjustments to land use. Siting recommendations for new and renovated buildings frame a space dedicated to learning and exchange.


Mount Kisco, New York




180 acres, 57 acre working farm, 123 acres forested parkland