Local Stewardship & Community
Supporting a regional food system that is rooted in the social and civic fabric of the Hudson Valley
As the food and farming economy has become more industrialized, and agriculture farther removed from our day to day lives, we have become less connected to the earth, to what we eat, and, arguably, to one another. By supporting education and cultural activities that make connections between agriculture and community, we are raising awareness about healthy food and the farmers who produce it. The Hudson Valley has strong farming traditions as well as a growing and creative community committed to the goal of a more resilient food system. Working together, we can renew the meaningful ties that exist between diverse neighborhoods, and across age-groups, when people are in touch with where their food comes from.
LEP’s grantmaking supports local organizations that reach diverse audiences and that have the potential to link agriculture to cultural and arts activities, the outdoors, and civic and community endeavors in the Hudson Valley. We understand that learning takes place in a multitude of ways, and at all ages, both inside and outside the classroom. Whether by bringing local food and experiential curriculum into schools, strengthening relationships between area farmers and community members, or encouraging mission-aligned civic and cultural projects that reinforce the threads between agriculture and quality of life, this area of funding represents our commitment to community engagement and the spirit of human connection.
The Hudson Valley Farm Hub is comprised of 1,255 acres of farmland across four local municipalities and two school districts. We have been “rooting” in place this newly established Farm Hub though annual public information sessions, presentations, and participation in local business and community groups. In addition to inviting local farmers to our on-farm demonstration events, we welcome the public to our Farm Stand on Route 209 daily during the growing season. The Farm Stand has also served as a pick-up location for groups working with local food pantries that receive donations of fresh Farm Hub produce. In support of our vision for the future, community engagement and local purchasing are included as mission-aligned ProFarmer program components.
LEP Grantee Partners (selected):
- Rondout Valley School District: A pilot project to develop a food and agriculture curriculum that includes a new greenhouse and food science laboratory
- Kingston City School District: A community program to provide free dinners to Kingston families in need
- Rondout Valley Growers Association: Collaborative efforts to promote and celebrate farming in the Rondout Valley region
- O+ Festival: In support of links between art, music and the health & wellness communities
- Wild Earth: Re-generating healthy community culture and connecting people to the earth through nature based programming for children, teens and adults