Category Archives: Beginning Farmer

NYS Targeted Investment Benefits Hudson Valley Farmers

Targeted Investment in Kingston Food Hub Supports Hudson Valley Farmers

For Immediate Release: February 20, 2015
Contact: Todd Erling
Phone: 518-432-5360

KINGSTON- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today highlighted the success of a pilot program initiated by a Hudson Valley food hub collaboration thanks to a $775,000 grant from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets and Empire State Development. In 2012, Farm to Table Co-Packers, in partnership with Hudson Valley Harvest and Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation (HVADC), was awarded a New York State grant of $775,000 to expand its infrastructure and processing capacity. This expansion has led to more than 2.5 million pounds of farm products passing through the facility in 2014, 500,000 pounds more than the previous year. This expansion also created a successful pilot program to bring New York vegetables to colleges and universities across the state.

“As this innovative program demonstrates, when New York organizations buy New York produce, everyone benefits,” Governor Cuomo said. “I’m proud these investments fostered innovation, increased productivity and expanded exposure to some of the best products in the world.”

An innovative “farm-to-school” program also began as a result of this CFA funding. Farm to Table Co-packers, Winter Sun Farms, and Hudson Valley Harvest are partnering with Chartwells Higher Education/Compass Group, a national food service management company on an 18-school local foods pilot program during the 2014-2015 school year. The pilot is designed to practice the procurement and purchase of local foods by schools throughout the region. The program also includes 10 schools from New York State which are: SUNY Purchase, The New School, Mount Saint Mary College (MSM), Manhattanville College, College of Mount Saint Vincent, Iona College, Concordia College, Bard College, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and SUNY Plattsburgh. New York farmers are also expanding their customer base under the pilot program to Connecticut schools, including Sacred Heart University Connecticut, Southern Connecticut State University, Quinnipiac University Connecticut, Post University, Albertus Magnus College, Trinity College, Pomfret School, and The Rectory School. Throughout the 2014 harvest, the food hub purchased and processed more than 200,000 pounds of New York farm products in order to fulfill the contract.

Another example of economic activity at the food hub is a 2014 processing contract with Blue Hill Savory Yogurts. More than 150,000 pounds of New York vegetables including beets, carrots and tomatoes were purchased and processed for the flavor fillings, which were then sent to the Columbia County yogurt plant.

Hudson Valley Harvest now works with over 40 partner farms within a 12 county region which represents more than 5,000 acres in production. This represents almost 250,000 pounds of protein, over 20,000 bushels of fresh produce, over 50,000 pounds of frozen fruit and vegetables, over 10,000 gallons of cider/honey/maple syrup, and nearly 25,000 jars of fruits and vegetables.

Instrumental to this process has been the support and guidance provided by Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation (HVADC). HVADC is the only economic development agency in the Hudson Valley with a specific focus on the viability of the agricultural economy in the region. Operating in a seven-county footprint, HVADC serves as a value chain coordinator to ensure thorough collaboration between people, goods, and resources while identifying market-based solutions that lead to enhanced agricultural entrepreneurship, rural economic growth, and community enhancement.
HVADC’s services are designed to promote the Hudson Valley as an attractive, viable region for agriculture and to foster growth and development of the agricultural sector through a creative program of technical assistance, business development, and access to financial capital and other resources. Through their Incubator Without Walls program, HVADC is able to assist a wide variety of agricultural businesses including farms, restaurants, value-added and specialty producers, distribution companies, farm breweries, distilleries, cideries, and more.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Success stories like the one we’re seeing at our Kingston Food Hub are popping up all over New York to targeted economic development investments we’re making. This is a hub of economic activity spurred on by one of the state’s most important agricultural regions. This has resulted in increased sales and profits for agribusinesses, as well as increased income opportunities for farmers and food processors across the state.”

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Appointee Howard Zemsky said, “With New York State’s investment in Farm to Table Co-Packers, the food hub has increased capacity, distributing 20 percent more product than the previous year and helping to better meet the growing demand for fresh, locally grown foods, especially in the New York City region. This small business is without a doubt making a significant impact on the agriculture industry, connecting our farmers with new markets and extending their growing season.”

Todd Erling, Executive Director of Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation, said, “The Chartwells program has increased the amount of product being purchased from New York farmers for regional schools, and the company’s commitment will help to support the viability and resiliency of our local food system. Also, this program will serve as a template for other schools and food service providers to develop their own local food procurement programs.”

Paul Alward, Co-Founder and CEO of Hudson Valley Harvest, said, “We’re so proud to be a part of the agricultural renaissance taking part in the Hudson Valley. Fertile ground, innovative farmers, support from Ag & Markets and a committed Governor is what’s making change possible. Institutions like The New School are changing the game. Their commitment to local, sustainably raised food are the foundation of our Institutional program. However, commitment needs to be acted upon and that’s where industry leaders like Compass group take it from planning to implementation, projection to impact.”

Jim Hyland, CEO of Farm to Table Co-Packers– “I’m so excited to see a company like Chartwells Higher Education /Compass Group make such an impactful commitment to sourcing local. By making a significant and advanced commitment Chartwells is leading the way to further growth and prosperity for our Food Hub and local farms throughout the region.”
Greg Coady, Chartwells’ Executive Vice President, “Today’s college students are deserving of the very best dining program available to them. That means quality scratch food that starts with a commitment from a quality local supplier and one whose vision and values are congruent with ours. That is why we partner with Winter Sun Farms.”

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Filed under Beginning Farmer, EDUCATION, Local Business, Transition Towns, Workforce Development

The E a T Incubator Kitchen Opens in the Catskill/Hudson Region



Incubators make it financially possible for a start-up food manufacturer to take advantage of available professional kitchen space while they grow their business. Most start-up food enterprises begin in a home kitchen. Once the final recipe is ready for the marketplace, business owners must legally manufacture their product from a professional, inspected kitchen. Here is where the E a T Kitchen at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Liberty NY enters to assist aspiring food entreprenuers. CCE Sullivan can offer long- or short-term professional kitchen leases at reasonable rates on a flexible time-share basis. Food entrepreneurs become “legal” by working in a professional space that can be inspected by insurance companies and the State Department of Agriculture and Markets. The E a T kitchen provides professional steam injection ovens, refrigerators, freezers, mixers, food processors, worktables and commercial vacuum packaging in a newly constructed teaching kitchen. In addition, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County can provide assistance in product development with the Northeast Food Venture Center at Cornell University in Geneva NY.

CCE can also assist in cooking and food handling classes, labeling and packaging requirements, licensing and certification questions and business planning, marketing and financing resources.


For more information on the E a T Kitchen. Contact Maria Grimaldi, at CCE SULLIVAN  845 292-6180 or visit our website at

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Filed under Beginning Farmer, EDUCATION, Workforce Development

Give A Gift Membership to NOFA-NY!

GIVE A GIFT MEMBERSHIP! Struggling to find the perfect gift? Maybe it’s for your friend who loves shopping at the farmers market. Or your neice who aspires to be a farmer. Or your colleague who’s passionate about organic food. They’re going to really appreciate your gift membership in NOFA-NY! A $30 Gift Membership includes: a one year subscription to New York Organic News, our 40 page magazine that includes feature articles and regular columns and departments a one year subscription to The Natural Farmer, our quarterly news journal that has a pull out section on a particular topic relevant to organic food and farming the Annual Local & Organic Food & Farm Guide, New York State’s most comprehensive listing of organic and sustainable farms When you purchase a gift membership, you will immediately receive an attractive certificate that lists the benefits of membership that you can e-mail to the recipient or print out on a printer to give to that person. To purchase your gift membership, simply click here. Also consider making a gift donation to NOFA-NY. Your gift donation will go directly to supporting our programs and services that promote local, organic food and farming. To make a donation, simply click here. You will recieve an acknowledgement letter of your gift membership, which is 100% tax-deductible. NOFA-NY is a statewide organization leading a growing movement of farmers, consumers, gardeners, and businesses committed to promoting local, organic food and farming.

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Filed under Beginning Farmer, EDUCATION, Local Business

Selling to the Wholesale Marketplace Free Workshop Honesdale PA March 18

Presented by Fair Food Philadelphia

With funding from The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

When: Monday March 18th, 9am – 3pm

Where: The Cooperage, 1030 Main Street, Honesdale PA 18431 in Wayne Co.

Selling to wholesale customers such as restaurants, grocery stores, and distributors can help farmers grow their business and their income. This workshop is designed to introduce farmers to a variety of wholesale markets and help them decide which customers fit their style of operation.

The workshop will cover:

  • Wholesale customers: who they are, what they want, and how they want it
  • Communication: what you have to sell, how you let them know about it, and how you keep them hooked
  • Logistics: packing, packaging, PLU’s and PO numbers, and getting paid
  • Compliance: know what you need – licenses, insurance, food safety
  • Strength in numbers: working together to aggregate and bring the food to market

Learn from industry professionals and farmers who are making it work.


To register please email:

A delicious lunch will be provided courtesy of Ant Hill Farm.

Please arrive at 8:45am so we can start promptly at 9am.


The Presenters

Ann Karlen is the executive director of Fair Food in Philadelphia. Ann and Fair Food have been connecting local farmers with businesses and consumers for over a decade, promoting the importance of family farms and creating a year-round marketplace for fresh, local and humane food products in the Greater Philadelphia region.


Lindsay Gilmour is the chef/owner of Organic Planet Handcrafted Foods and a long time local food systems advocate. In addition to her personal chef services, Lindsay works on Farmer Outreach and Product Development for Common Market Philadelphia, a local food distributor. Lindsay is the former Farm to Institution Program Manager at Fair Food and the current board co-chair.

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Filed under Beginning Farmer, EDUCATION, FARMERS MARKETS, Local Business, Transition Towns

Call Your Senator Today!


Demand Fix to Important Farm Programs

This fall, Congress made a mistake that prevents farmers from signing up for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) this year, leaving over 9,000 farmers high and dry.
Today, the Senate will take up their own version of the bill to fund government programs through the rest of 2013. They have a chance to fix this mistake and restore funding for key sustainable agriculture programs. 
Don’t let Congress leave these programs stranded.  Speak out today!  Please call:Senator Gillibrand at (202) 224-4451

Senator Schumer at (202) 224-6542


An example message is:

“I’m calling about the Continuing Resolution.  Please tell the Senator to fix the Conservation Stewardship Program so USDA can hold a farmer sign-up this year.  Also tell the Senator to support mandatory funding in the bill for the programs that were stranded in the farm bill extension, including:

  • Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
  • Organic Agriculture Research & Extension Initiative
  • National Organic Certification Cost Share Program

These programs are important to sustainable NYS farmers, and they must be funded.”
Just a few minutes of your time will make a real difference in the lives of sustainable NYS farmers.
Kate Mendenhall Executive Director, NOFA-NY

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Filed under Beginning Farmer, EDUCATION, Environment, Local Business, Workforce Development


Farming Our Future will take place on Saturday, February 23rd at Taconic Hills Central School from 9:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. This conference, now in its second year, will bring together a diverse community and regional audience including established farmers, beginning farmers, interested non-farmers, suppliers, educators, community leaders, industry leaders and students.


Jim Slama, Founder and President of, will deliver the keynote address.  Good Food = Good Business will showcase Slama’s groundbreaking work to develop and implement regional food aggregation facilities that strengthen local food systems and empower family farmers to scale up, gain access to wholesale markets, and become more successful.‘s national farmer-training project, which has given over 2,500 farmers access to essential information about food safety and how to sell to wholesale buyers, will be a core element of his talk. 


How Food Moves is the topic of a panel discussion moderated by Todd Erling, Executive Director of Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation, which will tackle some of the tough questions on how to get more locally grown food into the hands of chefs and consumers, and explore some of the new approaches that could make buying local a whole lot easier.


The panel Growing a Farm-Friendly Municipality will be moderated by Cornell University Cooperative Extension’s Steve Hadcock, with panelists from American Farmland Trust, Glynwood, and Ancram’s Ag Advisory Council, and will explore opportunities for developing the way your town or county approaches farming, planning, and economic development.  


Have land?  For young farmers, sometimes finding viable land to farm can be a challenge.  Landowners will hear, from Columbia Land Conservancy’s Marissa Codey, just what is involved in opening up a parcel for a young farmer in Leasing Land to Farmers: Challenges and Opportunities.


Those looking for a unique experience can attend

Farming Our Future – What Role Can You Play? Facilitated by Hawthorne Valley’s Farmscape Ecology Program’s Anna Duhon and Claudia Knab-Vispo, panelists and attendees will examine ways that history, ecology, and culture have intersected to create the environment we inhabit and will learn ways to optimize future interactions.


Help Me, Help You is a practical workshop with Farm Credit East’s Emili Ponte and The Carrot Project’s Benneth Phelps that will focus on tools farmers need to make their business attractive for financing and investors. 


The “World Café” portion of the program will provide opportunities for attendees to gather around topics of common interest, to share collaborative dialogue and knowledge, and to create possibilities for action. 


The children’s program is open to kids ages 5 -13 and is free thanks to a sponsorship by the FarmOn! Foundation. The program includes landscape painting with local artist Nancy Rutter, “Horses and Kids” with Copake’s Lilly Becker, and basketball with Celtics retired player Eric Williams. Space is extremely limited, and advanced registration is required before Thursday at 5 pm.  Register your child 


Farming Our Future 2013 is sponsored in part by Ginsberg’s Foods, Valley Energy, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, the FarmOn! Foundation, Hudson Solar, Hudson Mohawk Resource Conservation and Development Council, and The Columbia Paper.


Exhibitors and sponsorships are encouraged. Proceeds from the conference will go toward Taconic Hills’s award-winning H.A.R.V.E.S.T. Club (Healthy Agricultural Resources by Volunteers & Educators in Science & Technology), a program that engages youth in the process of growing healthy fruits, flowers and vegetables in a school-based garden, and the Parent Teacher Organization. 


The cost to attend is $20 per person for adults and $10 per person for students, with advance registration, and $25 per person at the door.   The full schedule along with registration information can be found online at





Filed under Beginning Farmer, CONFERENCE, EDUCATION, Environment, Local Business, Local Farm Food Event

TedX Manhattan Viewing Party Mid-Hudson Catskill Region

TEDSx Manhattan Changing the Way We Eat

x=independently organized TED event by:


changing the way we eat2



 10:00 a.m. Registration (Free)

Session I 10:30 a.m.-12:05 p.m.–Inform

LaDonna Redmond: Food Justice

Fred Bahnson: Food and Faith Movement

Simran Sethi: Saving Seeds By Growing Food

Film Clip “Standing Ground” Diane and Marlene Halverson

Gary Hirshberg: GMO’s and Lack of Studies

Tama Matsuoka Wong: Foraging Weeds

Lunch Break 12:15-1:30 p.m.

 Session II 1:30 p.m. -3:20 p.m.—Educate

Anna Lappe:Marketing Food to Children

Annemarie Colbin: How to Think About Food

Peter Lehner: Food Waste and Energy

Steve Wing: Community Health Impacts of Factory Farms

Peter Hoffman: Energy and Agriculture

Bill Yosses: Food Knowledge and How Food Affects Our Health

Break 3:20 p.m.-3:45 p.m.

Session III   3:45 p.m.-5:35 p.m.—– Empower

Melissa Greenawalt: The Realities of a Large Company Going Sustainable

Lindsey Lusher Shute: Young Farmers

Cheryl Kollin: Farm to Freezer

Ann Cooper: School Food

David McInerney: Good Food Should Taste Great

Exhibitors: Catskill Mountainkeeper, SlowFood Upderiva Seed Swap, Pure Catskills, Main Street Farm, Sullivan County Food Network….

Door Prizes and Snacks  available




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Filed under Beginning Farmer, EDUCATION, Environment, Local Business, Local Farm Food Event

Delaware River Roundtable January 17



Enhancing the future through collaboration and communication

January 17, 2013, 1:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Tusten Town Hall, 195 Bridge St., Narrowsburg, NY


1:00 – 1:10 Introductions and meeting overview

1:10 – 2:00 What’s going on in the region?

What is the capacity of the region? How do we maximize it?

2:00 – 2:30 Individual vision

What is your maximum potential for your family farm?

2:30 – 3:15 Break out sessions:

(livestock, dairy, fruit/produce, poultry) Boots on the ground, establishing a collective project

3:15 – 3:30 Networking break

3:30 – 4:30 Report to the whole, considering next steps

Chili and bread lunch provided; RSVP:

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Filed under Beginning Farmer, EDUCATION, Local Business, Local Farm Food Event