Category Archives: Workforce Development

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

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

Happy New Year for Mid-Hudson Economic Growth New York State

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council was selected as a “Best Plan Awardee” and allocated $93 million in the second round of the State’s Regional Economic Development Councils competition.
As the centerpiece of the Governor’s strategy to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, the Regional Councils were put in place in 2011 to redesign the state’s approach to economic development from a top-down model to a community-based, performance-driven approach. The initiative empowers community, business, and academic leaders, as well as members of the public in each region of the state, to develop strategic plans specifically tailored to their region’s unique strengths and resources in order to create jobs and support economic growth.
This year as part of the second round of the funding process, Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy traveled to all ten regions of the state to view progress on projects that have received state funding, as well as assess projects included in the region’s 2012 application.
In this year’s competition, the Mid-Hudson region was awarded $92.8 million for 84 projects across seven counties. Some of the winning projects include:
• $3 million to establish the New York State Cloud Computing and Analytics Center at Marist College that will facilitate operations for technology based firms by providing workforce training and reducing overhead
• $2 million to develop the site of the closed Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center in Dutchess County, including upgrading a Metro-North train station, a commercial/retail area, 9-hole golf course, community center, and 200 units of housing
• $1.5 million for the expansion of the Echo Bay Waterfront in New Rochelle that will reclaim current commercial/industrial land and provide access to the water’s edge for city residents and regional communities alike
• $1.2 million for the construction of a mile-long Hudson Landing Promenade along the Hudson River straddling the City of Kingston/Town of Ulster municipal boundary on an old industrial site
• $1 million to build an iBio Incubator that will offer laboratory, office space and services for entrepreneurs and start-up biotechnology companies, and provide specialized workforce training for established biotechnology companies in the region
• $1 million for Touro College to use the now vacant Horton Hospital in Middletown to house a school of osteopathic medicine. The new school would help bolster the number of medical professionals in the Mid-Hudson region.
• $1 million for the preservation and redevelopment of the iconic 1904 Glenwood Power Plant on the Hudson River in Yonkers for a mixed-use program would create a social, business and cultural destination
• $775,000 to create a Hudson Valley Food Hub that will provide processing and marketing opportunities to farmers and other food producers, leveraging the region’s outstanding agricultural resources. Strengthening the area’s food distribution infrastructure will help retain and stimulate an economic sector that also supports tourism and the region’s natural resources.
• $500,000 to develop the Matrix Distribution Park in Newburgh, including the construction of a 550,000 square foot manufacturing/distribution facility at the intersection of I-84 & I-87 with the goal of attracting a Fortune 500 caliber company to this location
To learn more about Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils that are creating jobs throughout our state, click here.

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Locavore Challenge Schools and School Gardens Slow Food UpdeRiva

NOFA-NY just finished their annual Locavore Challenge which takes place every year during the month of September. September is a good time to do this. People gather together to celebrate the abundant local New York State harvest and kids go back to school.

In Sullivan County New York an ambitious project was started last spring to start edible gardens in three locations; the Roscoe Central School (which also serves Delaware County), the Sullivan West School in Jeffersonville and an edible garden at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County in Liberty, New York which was maintained by students from the Liberty Central School.

 This  month, Slow Food UpDeRiva is pleased to sponsor a  local barbecue to celebrate the first season’s success of the Catskill Edible Garden Project. All the food served is sourced from local farms.

The Catskill Edible Garden project is a partnership of the Catskill Mountainkeeper, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Sullivan Renaissance,The Center for Workforce Development and The Green Village Initiative. It involves working with area schools to install and maintain edible gardens, with the goal of developing a food-based curriculum. We look forward to more of these working gardens at schools in the region.

Come to the  BBQ at Hills Country Inn on October 14  and learn more. For reservations go to

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

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