Local Economies Project | The New World Foundation

Local Economies Project

Ecological Farming

Farming in partnership with nature to produce healthful food  


LEP’s ecological farming efforts are key to our pursuit of an important paradigm shift – from an economy that promotes extraction of natural resources and climate degradation to a holistic approach in which everything in nature is valued as interconnected. We support the collective effort to understand and promote the ecology of farming – caring for the planet and working in partnership with nature to provide for the nutritional needs of our communities while adapting to climate change.

LEP’s grant making includes initiatives such as ecological mapping and monitoring on farms; programs that emphasize, teach, and reward ecologically resilient methods; and farmland protection. Through supporting these programs and the organizations behind them, we are building a widespread community of practice in service to our human and natural resources. How can natural systems approaches be applied to improve soil health and control flooding on farms?   How can a farmer reduce chemical inputs while scaling-up to reach wholesale markets? Collaborating with key partner organizations allows our grants to reach hundreds s of Hudson Valley farmers each year as they pursue new opportunities in sustainable agriculture.

The Farm Hub is an ideal land base for conceiving of a farm as a living organism. In parallel with LEP’s grantmaking, the Farm Hub team is implementing ecologically resilient practices on the farm and, towards the goal of modeling the economic viability and effectiveness of ecological farming, tracking our successes and challenges as the work progresses. As we document our progress on the Farm Hub, we will share our findings with regional farmers through training and educational events. Through our professional farmer training program (ProFarmer) we are advancing an ecological farming curriculum and supporting the next generation of Hudson Valley farmers. Additionally we demonstrate growing methods and land management techniques with regional farmers and are conducting on-farm research with partners.

LEP Grantee Partners (selected):

  • Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA): Programs that serve the organic and sustainable food and farming community
  • Poughkeepsie City School District: Farm-to-School programming and local food procurement support for Poughkeepsie schools
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Ulster & Orange Counties: Staff development for outreach, education, and support services for farmers
  • Cornell University – Institute for Climate Change & Agriculture (CICCA): Research and education to help farmers become more resilient to extreme weather and climate variability.
  • National Young Farmers Coalition: Engaging and mobilizing young farmers while supporting sustainable agricultural practices
  • Scenic Hudson: Initiatives to protect the NYC foodshed and promote farmland conservation
  • Stone Barns: Young farmer education programs
  • Hawthorne Valley Farm: Education programs that raise awareness of the social, ecological, and economic importance of agriculture in our daily lives
  • Glynwood: Educating young farmers in the Hudson Valley