Ensuring the economic viability of equitable and ecologically resilient practices in the food system
LEP’s vision calls for a shift from the traditionally competitive large scale national and global food industry, which results in waste, nutrient-poor produce, and income disparities, to a more resilient regional food and farm economy. We believe that producing food in a way that is equitable and ecologically regenerative is critical to the health of our communities. We also believe that it must be economically viable for the farmers and food business owners who produce our food and employ our neighbors. Through testing business models and helping farmers and entrepreneurs acquire new skills and collaborative supply chains to demonstrate the financial viability of values-based approaches in food and farming.
LEP’s grantmaking supports mission-aligned business education and training for food and farm entrepreneurs. Other key initiatives include promoting transparency in the food chain and opening new collaborative market channels for Hudson Valley farmers. Our funding has also made possible in-depth studies on food sectors such as livestock and grains – areas where information and regional analysis are needed to inform business and community decisions around transitioning production methods, building infrastructure, and targeting mission-driven investment.
We continue to recognize the need to address the more underlying, systemic barriers to change. For this reason, we are working with partners to explore avenues for policy change in addition to programs that facilitate access to land, patient capital, collaborative marketing, and infrastructure. Finally, because each and every one of us who buys food in the Hudson Valley has an impact on the local economy, we are committed to raising public awareness about the true cost of equitably and ecologically produced food.
The Hudson Valley Farm Hub presents a unique opportunity to model a new way of doing business and encourage innovation through demonstration, education, and research. Because profit has traditionally been in contention with equity and ecology, the Farm Hub’s programming is targeted at finding ways to ensure that values-based practices can be economically viable. As a non-profit demonstration farm, we can afford to take risks that farms and food businesses cannot take, and through recordkeeping and enterprise budgeting, we are collecting and sharing vital information about the true cost of food. Additionally, as we market Farm Hub products along with others we will be building opportunities for Hudson Valley farmers, working together to achieve our vision of a resilient, and collaborative, food and farming economy.
LEP Grantee Partners (selected):
- Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation (HVADC): Providing business advisory services and technical support for farm and food businesses
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County: Wholesale Readiness Program; bringing Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) training workshops and technical assistance to farmers across the Hudson Valley region
- Red Tomato: Expanding local farm-to-market distribution networks in the Hudson Valley
- Farm to Institution NYS: Promoting purchasing of local farm products by large entities like universities and hospitals
- Poughkeepsie City School District: Farm-to-School programming and local food procurement support for Poughkeepsie schools
- Greenmarkets/GrowNYC: Connecting Hudson Valley farmers with NYC wholesale markets and expanding healthy food access
- Glynwood: Studying sustainable meat production in the Hudson Valley and ways to support its growth
- Equity Trust: Creating affordable access to farmland ownership