Celebrating a Successful Growing Season

LOCAL ECONOMIES PROJECT AND FARM HUB NEWS Fall 2016

Since the creation of the Hudson Valley Farm Hub in 2013, we’ve offered farmers opportunities to visit the Farm Hub through events and workshops with our local partners. This summer and fall, we’ve invited farmers to events to share our experience, the results of our trials, and even some of our produce. These have included events on the intricacies of healthy soil and field trials on edamame and root vegetables

We’re also celebrating victories for Hudson Valley farmers, including the news that our grantee partner GrowNYC has secured $20 million for the creation of a brand new food hub in the Bronx. Finally, we're looking back on our third season and the creation of our Native American Seed Sanctuary

LEP’s Grantee Partner GrowNYC Secures $20 Million from New York State

LEP and GrowNYC are celebrating the latest achievement in their efforts to support Hudson Valley farmers. In early August, Governor Cuomo’s office announced $20 million in state funding toward the creation of a brand-new food hub in the Bronx. The new food hub, the culmination of years of collaboration between GrowNYC, New York State, the City of New York, and lead funders like LEP, is an acknowledgement by state officials of the importance of providing a distribution center that would allow Hudson Valley farmers to access the New York City market.

As LEP director Bob Dandrew explains, the new food hub will “open up a major source of revenue for Hudson Valley farmers,” and “could ultimately contribute to the success and longevity of farming in the region.”

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Workshop Explores the Intricacies of Healthy Soil

Healthy soil grows healthy crops. Though this seems straightforward, many farmers have long diagnosed soil health chiefly by the presence or absence of a handful of simple basic nutrients: nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. If the levels got too low, farmers typically added nutrients using natural or processed fertilizers.

Problem solved, right? Not necessarily. As shown through recent soil tests and demonstrations conducted at the Farm Hub, there’s more to healthy soil than just chemistry.

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Farm Hub Establishes Native American Seed Sanctuary


One of the Farm Hub’s most exciting new initiatives is our Native American Seed Sanctuary, which was created in partnership with the St. Regis Mohawk/Akwesasne Tribe of northern New York and the Hudson Valley Seed Library. We are growing Native American varieties of corn, beans, squash, and sunflowers in an effort to help preserve the rich agricultural and cultural heritage of the Native American people.

The St. Regis Mohawk tribe performed a ceremony at the site in June in preparation for planting (pictured above), and members of the tribal government visited for a tour of the sanctuary in September. The seeds are now being harvested and will be returned to their home communities. 

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Field Trials: Growing Edamame in the Hudson Valley

With consumer demand for locally grown edamame rising, farmers in the region are looking at its potential. So far, things look promising. Edamame can be cultivated using the same equipment as green beans with little modification, and it’s resistant to certain soil-borne diseases like white mold that can plague green beans. However, some challenges remain. 

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Grantee Spotlight: Center for Creative Education

This fall, LEP was pleased to add the Center for Creative Education (CCE) to our list of grantee partners. This Kingston-based nonprofit offers art, dance, music, and fitness education with a special emphasis on serving low income, minority, and at-risk youth. LEP’s grant funding will help support CCE’s Energy Sustainable Agricultural Project, an initiative to integrate food and nutrition into their already vibrant arts and wellness programming.
 
CCE’s director Bryant “Drew” Andrews says, “We began seeing that many of the children we work with have little contact with farming or fresh food, and the rich agricultural history of the Hudson Valley is virtually alien to them.”

This past summer, with the help of a local farmer, CCE students planted seedlings in the Midtown studio and cared for them all the way to harvest. Another group harvested vegetables at the YMCA Farm Project and made salsa (pictured above). The success of these projects motivated Andrews to expand the program to include field trips to local farms, education with local farmers, and cooking classes. 
 
“When our students tasted the magic of their very own fresh and homegrown food, it was inspirational and a revelation of the power of food,” says Andrews.

Read more about LEP’s work to advance food justice in the region...


Local Farms Receive Food Safety Certifications

With new and complex regulations governing farm products and the ongoing emphasis on food safety, a greater number of Hudson Valley farmers are taking advantage of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) training. 

To assist Hudson Valley farmers in meeting these food safety requirements, and thanks in part to LEP support, Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County launched a wholesale readiness program in 2014. The Farm Hub recently received the certification, along with Hepworth Farms in Milton and Migliorelli Farms in Tivoli. This certification will help these farms maintain their place in a competitive marketplace.

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Photo: Hepworth Farms by John Fisher.


Field Trials: Are All Root Crops Created Equal?

This year, the Farm Hub and Cornell Cooperative Extension once again conducted a series of root crop trials. Because root vegetables store well, crops like carrots and beets can provide farmers with a source of revenue after the growing season is over.

Sixteen varieties of carrots and 13 varieties of red, yellow, and white beets were included in the trials this year. In late September, once the crops were harvested, regional farmers were invited to the Farm Hub for a twilight event to see the results.

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The Folks Who Grow Our Food 

With the harvest almost over, we are wrapping up another successful growing season. We are grateful to our farm stand staff and to everyone who grows our food at the Farm Hub!

Hudson Valley Farm Hub, 2016
Top: Samuel, Paige, Victor, Sam, John, Jaime, Jesse
Middle: Artie, Sam, Jaime, Andrew, Raul, Zoraida, Jess, Jesus 
Bottom: Sylvia, Camerina, Jean-Paul, Tony, Lorena, Eddie, Rosa

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