Category Archives: Transition Towns

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

Community Farm to Table Thanksgiving Dinner and Food Drive




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Filed under FARMERS MARKETS, Local Farm Food Event, Transition Towns

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

Hurricane Preparedness from Shannon Hayes

Reposted from Shannon Hayes

photo Shannon Hayes

Our Samhain Altar will hopefully be lit each night this week, in spite of the hurricane.

This week’s Tuesday Post is appearing early as we ready ourselves for Hurricane Sandy.  If technology allows, I’ll post updates as we work our way through the storm this week.  For everyone else in her path, please stay safe!
Hurricane Irene was a shock.   Hurricane Lee, only 1 week later, was a freakish incident.  But now, as the winds begin to stir around the house and we brace ourselves for hurricane Sandy, it’s clear to me that what we’re facing is a new weather pattern.
We’ve done our best to prepare.

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Filed under Beginning Farmer, PERMACULUTURE, Transition Towns, Uncategorized

Big Eddy Farmstand Takes the Locavore Challenge



What: Big Eddy Farmstand Locavore Challenge

Where: Gerard’s River Grill

              15 Main Street

              Narrowsburg, New York

When: September 15, 2012

            Noon to 3pm

 LIVE MUSIC featuring singer/songwriter Janet Burgan

 $20 in advance * $25 at the door

All proceeds go toward supporting the Big Eddy Farmstand/ Tusten Rural Youth Workforce Development program.

 The Big Eddy Farmstand is pleased to announce that it will be taking the Slow Food UpDeRiva/NOFA-NY 3rd annual LOCAVORE CHALLENGE on September 15th, 2012 from Noon to 3pm at Gerard’s River Grill overlooking the glistening Big Eddy in Narrowsburg, New York.  The Big Eddy Farmstand will provide a tasting menu of locally sourced ingredients including specialty heirloom produce the youth team cultivated over the summer at SkyDog Farm, local honey and maple syrup from Alice Diehl’s dairy farm, eggs from Patty Keesler’s dairy farm, meat from Fitzpatrick’s River Brook Farm and milled flours from the Finger Lakes region.


Come One, Come All —– Savor the Narrowsburg Locavore Challenge!

For more information: contact Andrea Reynosa at 845.252.3518

Facebook: Big Eddy Farmstand * *

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Filed under EDUCATION, Environment, Local Farm Food Event, Locavore Challenge Event, Transition Towns, Workforce Development


NOFA-NY’s  3rd Annual Locavore challenge is about to begin. September is pot luck party time around the State to celebrate our abundant harvest of local food and a successful farming season for our farmers. Foodies, farmers, environmental groups and friends are already planning parties, classes, and special events to enjoy the harvest and promote the movement toward a more sustainable, organic food system.

Get on board early this year and register, ITS FREE, to demonstrate  interest and support for building  our regional food sheds.  Any special group or business events will be publicized on our calendar. Register online, explore the NY Locavore Challenge website and share it with your friends.

AND stay tuned to our blogs  for more information about locavore events in our Region as they develop.



Filed under Local Farm Food Event, Locavore Challenge Event, Sustainable Farming, Transition Towns