The HVADC Cultivator
The Carrot Project Partner Profile about HVADC's Todd Erling
HVADC and The Carrot Project have a long track record of collaboration and interconnectedness as like-minded organizations. The following ran in their November 16th Newsletter:
"If you look at Kingston, within a five- or six-hour radius, you're looking at over 60 million mouths. That's a market opportunity that exists nowhere else in the US, the northeast, or the world." The founding executive director of the Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation (HVADC), Todd Erling, is ready for big things to happen in the Hudson Valley.
Based in Hudson, NY, and now covering a seven-county region in the Hudson Valley, HVADC connects agribusinesses with financing, business support, and access to HVADC's diverse network of resources and partnerships. These partnerships include this Winter's upcoming Making It Happen workshops (see below), and a new initiative, The Blueprint: Building a Better Business Assistance Network for Farms and Food Businesses, in partnership with The Carrot Project and VHCB Farm and Food Forest Viability Program.
After participating in a regional survey on the challenges of Hudson Valley farmers, Erling started HVADC in 2007 as a regional entity that focused on food and agriculture as a vehicle of economic development and a point of connection to resources across the region. HVADC now provides 40-60 businesses a year with direct technical assistance, totaling close to 200 businesses since 2012, when they began tracking their client numbers -- and seeing a 100% increase in demand.
While HVADC works with a broad range of farms and food producers, including vegetable, livestock, fiber, maple agroforestry and aquaculture operations, Erling emphasizes that HVADC's work goes beyond "preserving land - which is foundational - but of equal importance is preserving the ability to make a living farming the land." Keeping a farm in business involves healthy "markets, and distribution, and processing infrastructure, and equipment suppliers and the large animal vets - it's that ecosystem we're taking about, not just the farmer on the preserved land."
After ten years of work with these business owners, as well as county, state, and region-wide economic development partners, including The Carrot Project, HVADC is beginning to see real change: "we're watching business not only survive but thrive," Erling says. "Where it gets into moving the needle -- institutions and larger clients drawing from distributors with transparent sourcing and performance -- it's rewarding to see the shift in momentum in larger movements."
The one thing Erling would like people to know about HVADC? "The fact we specialize in ag is important, but sometimes I feel that it takes away from the fact that farming is a business, period. A farm has to be viable as a business; it can have mission and purpose attached to it, but if it's not viable, the values and purpose don't mean anything."
-The Carrot Project Newsletter, November 2017