LEP Highlights


  • Philmont Beautification
  • A Syllabus for the New Economy 
  • Poughkeepsie Plenty Mobile Market

Farm Hub News
  • Farmscape Ecology
  • For Farmers: Tomato Trial Meeting
  • Equipment Demonstration Day
  • Farm Stand Summer Update

Philmont Beautification: Revitalizing a Columbia County Community

Revitalizing a community can start with the simplest of gestures. In the Columbia County village of Philmont, it began with picking up trash.

As Sally Baker, co-founder and executive director of Philmont Beautification, Inc. (PBI) recounts, “There was so much trash that the town used to be known as Filthmont.”  In 2001, Sally, four friends, and a youth group organized by stonemason Timothy Smith, started thinking about ways to improve the town’s image and build connections between residents. They decided to organize community trash pickup days. 

That small step began a larger renaissance for Philmont, one that will get its latest boost in the form of the Philmont Market Co-op, a commercial kitchen and community space.  The Co-op, funded by a variety of sources including a 2015 grant from Local Economies Project (LEP), will open its doors in a renovated Stewart's Shops convenience store later this year.  Read more...


Photo credit:  Steve Benson  


A Syllabus for the New Economy 

The Local Economies Project is part of an emerging field that is dedicated to building a “new economy” that promotes equity and environmental resilience alongside economic security.  Our work finds us collaborating with partners to build new initiatives that promote local ownership of business, community self-reliance, and education. 
 
Whether it is nurturing initiatives that get more local food into school cafeterias or helping to launch a “complementary currency” in the Hudson Valley, LEP and its partners are often referred to as pioneers. We couple our efforts in the field with careful study of a growing amount of scholarship around “new economy” approaches.
 
This year we started a study group for staff which includes a monthly dinner and book discussion. We began with "Agenda for a New Economy" by David Korten. Click here to find out what's next our list...
 


Poughkeepsie Plenty Mobile Farmers Market


The City of Poughkeepsie has two grocery stores for a population of 32,000 people. Is it any surprise that one in four households in the city are food insecure and that one in ten experience hunger?

All of this is starting to change through the work of Poughkeepsie Plenty Fresh Market – a farmers market on wheels making four stops around the city each week to bring fresh fruit and vegetables to areas where food insecurity is the greatest.  

The market, an initiative of Dutchess Outreach and the Poughkeepsie Plenty Food Coalition, was launched this June after receiving a 2015 grant from the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley's Farm Fresh Food Program.  Read more...

Photo:  Poughkeepsie Plenty Fresh Market's Thursday stop at Interfaith Towers

Farmscape Ecology: Farms and Nature Working Together

How can nature benefit from farms? How can farms benefit from nature? For the past ten years, these are questions that have inspired the work of the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program, an LEP grantee partner that will be bringing its unique perspective on farms and natural environments to the Hudson Valley Farm Hub over the coming months.

This perspective begins with understanding the natural systems already at play on the land. As Conrad Vispo of the Farmscape Ecology Program says, “Before you can understand a story, you need to understand who the characters are.” Conrad and his colleagues prepare ecological maps of farms, showing not just the diversity of plants and animals present on the land, but also how different areas of a farm might offer the same services as those provided by natural habitats. Conrad and his colleagues refer to these areas as “analogies” to natural habitats. Read more...

Photo: A mature Stream Bluet near the Esopus, courtesy of the Farmscape Ecology Program.


Twilight Meeting for Farmers: Tomato Variety Trial, August 20th


Tomato Variety Trial
Twilight Meeting for Commercial Farmers
Thursday, August 20th, 5:30 - 7:00pm at the Hudson Valley Farm Hub


Farmers are invited to join Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Vegetable specialists and Margaret McGrath from the Cornell Long Island Research Extension Center to learn about the tomato disease resistance trial at the Farm Hub.  

The program will include an evaluation of ten new tomato varieties being developed by Cornell University plant breeder Dr. Martha Mutschler, with a tour of the variety trial and discussion of tomato diseases and management.  Visit our website for details.

And in September...
Save the Date!  Twilight Meeting for farmers on Tuesday, September 29th, 
5:00 - 7:00pm at the Hudson Valley Farm Hub. The topic for this workshop will be root vegetables.  Beets, carrots, parsnips... this trial involves a comparison of raised beds and ridge cultivation as well as variety selection.
 


Equipment Demonstration Day Brings Farmers to the Hub

On Saturday July 25th, farmers from across the Hudson Valley gathered at the Farm Hub for an afternoon dedicated to demonstrating innovative cultivation equipment in action on the farm’s expansive vegetable fields.

Weed control for commercial scale farming was the theme of the event which, free and open to all farmers, was held in collaboration with CCE’s Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program (CCE-ENYCHP).

Visiting representatives from Germany and Holland joined Farm Hub director of farmer training Jean-Paul Courtens, director of farm operations John Gill, and Chuck Bornt of CCE-ENYCHP for a presentation and discussion that began under a large tent adjacent to the vegetable plots. The program was designed to place mechanical weed control in the context of farm efficiency, economics, and productivity, as Courtens encouraged farmers to think about weeds and how to manage them long before the first crop seed is planted.  Read more...
 


Farm Stand Summer Update

July brought the arrival of our much anticipated and beloved sweet corn to the Farm Stand, which is now open daily through October.  Also attracting attention from home and professional cooks this year are the unusual varieties of peppers and eggplants in all sizes and hues.
 
For those who like spice, there are serrano, chili, habanero, jalapeño, cayenne, and ghost peppers.  Eggplant lovers will find tiny fairytale, china doll and kermit eggplants, as well as the larger white, prosperosa, and striped twinkle varieties.  Of course the traditional dark purple eggplants are a summer standard - and they also happen to be the inspiration behind our purple Farm Hub logo! 
 
All of our Farm Hub produce is grown using organic methods including OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) approved sprays, composted chicken manure, fish emulsion and mulch (a combination of hay, biodegradable plastic, and rye as a living mulch) as well as hand and mechanical weeding.  For a bird's eye look at our vegetable garden, visit our website gallery of summer 2015 aerial photographs.
 
Farm Stand visitors can also purchase locally grown peaches, fresh cut flowers, breads, cookies, popcorn, dairy products and more – all sourced from the Hudson Valley.  A list of our local vendors is available on the Farm Stand page on our website.
  
Photo:  Eggplant varieties at the Farm Stand

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