The HVADC Cultivator

HVADC on the Road:

One of the keys to success to the HVADC programming is the ongoing, and daily interaction that HVADC team members have with other stakeholders and like-minded organizations throughout the region. Participating in various events, and contributing to many committees facilitates the sharing of information, resources, and creative problem solving. Most days of any given week, both HVADC executive director Todd Erling and deputy director Mary Ann Johnson are on the road attending meetings with farms, agribusinesses, committees, boards, businesses, municipalities, initiatives, and state and county governments, throughout the seven-county region served by HVADC, to lend expertise and stay plugged into other groups’ initiatives.  

Recently Mary Ann attended the Dutchess County Annual Breakfast, hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension.  Two Hudson Valley Bounty member farms, Migliorelli Farms and Walbridge Farms received Tractor Awards, honoring those involved in an aspect of agriculture for the work they do not only on the farm, but throughout their community. Dutchess County Commissioner of Planning, Eoin Wrafter was also honored.

In February, HVADC partner Capital Roots, and the Capital Region Food System Assessment hosted a series of Regional Food Production Roundtable Discussions for regional farmers, producers and processors. Mary Ann was a guest speaker, discussing the services HVADC offers farmers, and also joined in the larger conversations about local food production to gather information from farmers about their markets, land, distribution channels, and infrastructure.  

Mary Ann also participated in the SUNY New Paltz Sustainability Workshop in January. This event of the Institute of the Sustainability Faculty Learning Community featured guest speaker Dr. Debra Rowe; President of the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development, and an internationally renowned leader in the sustainability movement.  

Todd was one of the speakers s at the Hudson Valley Future Summit held at SUNY New Paltz and participated in break-out sessions about economic development through farms and food.  This event attracted a large and diverse group of engaged individuals from the regional arts, technology, business and education communities.

Recently Todd attended U.S. House of Representatives’ Agricultural Committee hearing to discuss the Farm Bill and the State of Rural Economy, with Cabinet Member and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Purdue briefing attendees.   Congressmen John Faso and Sean Patrick Maloney also participated, and asked questions at the session. Rural economies and the different factors that exist now, that didn’t exist four years ago:  natural disasters, high foreign subsidies, tariff and non-tariff barriers all contributing to chronically depressed prices were topics of discussion. 

Todd sits on the Local Planning Committee of the Hudson Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI).  The Local Planning Committee works with a consulting team, state planners and key municipal representatives to guide and direct the establishment of a community-based vision for revitalizing the downtown and the development of a Strategic Investment Plan that includes strategies and recommends projects to implement that vision. Generally this involves attending a monthly committee meeting as well a public open sessions. As part of the initiatives, HVADC is partnering with Hawthorne Valley Association to create a Community Food Hub that will offer on-site retail, a commissary kitchen, aggregation and distribution of local produce and support food business incubation. 

The entire HVADC team attended Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney’s recently Roundtable on Food Security, hosted at Fishkill Farms.  It was an enlightening panel discussion with guest panelists from various feeding missions, such as New York Hunger Solutions, addressing hunger-related issues and initiatives.