The Local Economies Project (LEP) supports vibrant, interconnected communities that are powered by the people who live there. We see food and farming as a cornerstone of every region and critical to the movement towards stronger, more resilient economies. With initiatives focused on the food system, we are using a range of philanthropic tools to help efforts take root and grow in the New York’s Hudson Valley.
LEP’s mission is to build an equitable and ecologically resilient food system in the Hudson Valley – one that meets the economic and social needs of our communities while working in partnership with natural systems. Towards this mission, we develop programs, provide grant funding, and act as a convener in the regional food and farm economy.
Since its inception in 2010, LEP has been providing grants to mission-aligned organizations working in food and agriculture in the Hudson Valley. Our grants and programs are focused around four thematic areas:
- Ecological Farming: Farming in partnership with nature to produce healthful food
- Food Economy: Ensuring the economic viability of equitable and ecologically resilient practices in the food system
- Food Justice: Addressing food insecurity and promoting just and fair inclusion in the food system
- Local Stewardship & Community: Supporting a regional food system that is rooted in the social and civic fabric of the Hudson Valley
The Hudson Valley Farm Hub
In 2013, LEP launched a major land-based project, The Hudson Valley Farm Hub, a non-profit center for resilient agriculture based on 1,255 acres of prime farmland in Hurley, NY. The Farm Hub provides professional farmer training, hosts and supports agricultural research, and demonstrates equitable and ecologically regenerative practices. With the Farm Hub as a land base, we are addressing the Hudson Valley’s capacity to build its own food economy through programs that complement and expand upon LEP’s grant portfolio.
We know we cannot accomplish our goals alone. We’re engaging others in a spirit of collaboration by convening, connecting and catalyzing the people and projects that will help realize our vision for the food system. We are working with a growing list of partner organizations across the Hudson Valley.
Although our efforts are focused here in Hudson Valley, we trust that if we are successful in fostering positive change in corner of the world, our efforts will inspire widespread change throughout other regions.
Our Fiscal Sponsor
LEP operates under the fiscal sponsorship of the New World Foundation. The New World Foundation, a 501(c)3 public charity, is based in New York City and is dedicated to community building, a healthy environment, educational opportunity, and economic justice.
Bob Dandrew, Director
In launching the Local Economies Project, Bob set out to focus on the intersection of economics, environmentalism, and culture with an eye toward locally owned business, resilient agriculture, and democratic participation in decision making. Before joining LEP’s fiscal sponsor the New World Foundation, Bob was executive director of the NoVo Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to the empowerment of women and girls. Prior to NoVo, he was Director of the Rudolf Steiner Foundation’s East Coast Office.
Bob’s traces his roots as a grant maker to his earlier professional career as a fundraiser. He was director of development at educational institutions including Albany Law School and the Rudolf Steiner School of NYC, where he learned the challenges that all grant seekers face in soliciting funds from foundations.
Bob serves as a member of US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Agriculture Advisory Council, a founding member of the Community Food Funders, and foundation advisor to the US Fund for UNICEF. Closer to home, Bob is a member of the Town of Rochester (NY) Environmental Conservation Commission and is on the advisory council of Re>Think Local, which promotes localism in the Hudson Valley. He is a graduate of Hartwick College and lives in Ulster County, NY.