The HVADC Cultivator
HVADC Client Spotlight: Hudson Valley Seed Company
“Hudson Valley Seed Company was initiated as a passion project by librarian Ken Greene,” Todd Erling, Executive Director of HVADC, summarized about one of HVADC’s longest-term clients, Hudson Valley Seed Company (HVSC). Eight years ago, HVSC sewed its roots as the Valley Educational Seed Saving and Library, while Greene was working as a librarian in Gardiner. Greene catalogued seeds and offered patrons the ability to “check them out” for a season to grow in their home gardens, and then return saved seeds at the end of the season. After four years, Greene and his partner Doug Muller transformed this passion into a “mission-driven, homestead-based” small business.
HVSC has recently shifted away from the library, educational and didactic, forming a separate, nonprofit endeavor called SeedShed. The Hudson Valley Farm Hub, Seedshed, and Oceans 8 Films recently hosted a screening of Seeds of Hope at the Senate Garage in Kingston. The film details the collaborative efforts of Native American Seed Sanctuary, Hudson Valley Farm Hub, Seedshed, and members of the Akwesasne Mohawk Tribe of northern New to restore Native American food varieties and cultural traditions by preserving their precious seeds.
In 2016 Greene and Muller renamed and repositioned the entity as the Hudson Valley Seed Company to retail heirloom and open-pollinated garden seeds and pleasing garden and botanical-themed contemporary art. Their seed packed are adorned with attractive original art sourced mostly from artists in the Northeast, with many being avid gardeners. The company turns to their gardening/artist community for submissions, annually issues a public call for art.
Many of the company’s seeds are produced on its own small farm in Accord, and the rest are sourced from other local and regional farmers, and independent seed houses unassociated with multi-national biotech companies. HVSC became certified as organic in 2013. HVADC Executive Director Todd Erling is on the board of directors of the entity. Greene participated in HVADC’s Incubator Without Walls program for strategic planning support with, Brian Zweig, of Business Opportunities Management Counseling. “[We] assisted founders with development of a business plan and financial projections that were used to secure financing to support the expansion of the business,” said Zweig. He said they also paid off a New Farmer loan from Farm Credit, as well as established a bank line of credit for working capital, to help give them a much-needed boost. Zweig said he has been able to advise on plans to restructure the business and monitor financial results, resulting in “significant increases” in sales and profits.
“HVADC supported us as we got our farm-based business started and has offered consulting and support as we have grown the business over the years. They are an invaluable resource to anyone working within agriculture in the Hudson Valley,” said Doug Muller, Operations Manager at HSVC.
HVSC’s “art pack” seed packaging have become known across the country, and recently were exhibited at the esteemed Philadelphia Flower Show. HVSC was a highlighted business, and featured among over 180 exhibits. HVSC has expanded to offer more than 30 new varieties for 2018.