The HVADC Cultivator
HVADC Partner Spotlight: Hudson Valley Farm Hub
In 2013 when Gill Farms in Hurley, New York transitioned to be the Hudson Valley Farm Hub, the Hub’s advisory team reached out to HVADC. Formerly one of the Hudson Valley’s largest producers of sweet corn, and set on 1,255 acres of fertile farmland, Gill Farms had an agricultural history dating back hundreds of years. With the sale of the property, the farm became the Farm Hub not-for-profit entity with a commitment to sustainable agriculture, environmental renewal and economic vitality in the Hudson Valley. The Farm Hub is stewarded by the Local Economies Project of the New World Foundation (LEP), which also facilitated the purchase of the property from Gill Farms.
HVADC worked with the Farm Hub in an advisory capacity from initial concept to inception to implementation. The primary collaborative focus for the two parties was the sharing of information about the needs of Hudson Valley farmers and working together develop ways to best address those needs as well as to foster growth and development of the agricultural sector. Todd Erling, Executive Director for HVADC who participated in the Farm Hub discussions stated “HVADC appreciates the Farm Hub’s proactive planning approach to developing a new model of training for farmers. The invitation to participate in Farm Hub’s strategic planning retreat, share our knowledge and expertise and collaborate on ideas was a mutually beneficial experience. We continue to explore ways to support the Hudson Valley regional agricultural community.”
The Farm Hub is working to help train both new farmers and increase community awareness through their programs Climate Smart Farming, ProFarmer Training and Research & Demonstration.
Climate Smart Farming means “adapting to the changing climate: it requires being prepared and proactive,” with an eye to long term security of the food supply. The Farm Hub explores a variety of approaches to climate smart farming with practices as, but not limited to cover crops, no-till cultivation as well as exploring ways in which farms can benefit natural environments. In 2015 they began working with the Hawthorne Valley Association Farmscape Ecology Program to identify the best techniques for enhancing the interaction between the Farm Hub and its surroundings – such as planting riparian buffers along parts of the Esopus Creek to stabilize the soil.
The Farm Hub’s ProFarmer Training program is a “multi-year, salaried residential training program for those with farming experience who aspire to obtain professional farm management positions or to own and operate their own farm enterprises in the Hudson Valley.” Annually, the Farm Hub selects between three and five candidates in March for both classroom and hands on training. Candidates can select to train over the course of two to five years. The ProFarmers work alongside the experienced farm staff in a “participatory and collaborative learning environment” where they can learn everything from technical skills to ecologically regenerative farming practices.
Through its Research & Demonstration the Farm Hub is currently developing, in conjunction with Cornell University and other partners, a comprehensive applied research program tailored to the Hudson Valley and focused on “resilient agriculture and climate-smart farming practices.” Ongoing projects during the 2017 season have included Small Grain Field Trials, Fusarium Fungus in Garlic, Wire Worms while previous trials have included Root Crop Variety and Tomato Variety.
Those interested in learning more about becoming a ProFarmer candidate or those looking for additional information on the Hudson Valley Farm Hub please visit their website at www.hvfarmhub.org.
For more information on the ways that HVADC may be able to assist your farm or food business, please visit www.hvadc.org