The HVADC Cultivator

HVADC People:
Christopher Braccia

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HVADC is excited to introduce the newest member of its FeedHV team, Christopher Braccia. As our newest Program Associate, Chris has wholesale, logistics and marketing experience that will be a major asset to FeedHV’s work to connect healthy fresh food to valley communities suffering from food insecurity. He is a proven self-starter, and his natural service-focused personality makes Chris a strong voice for FeedHV’s important mission.

 

Chris grew up in Catskill, in a family steeped in the food business. His father and uncle run two wholesale Italian food and distribution companies, one based in New York and the other in Florida. His great-grandparents owned a bakery in Cairo for many years.

 

In 2009, Chris moved to Clearwater, Florida, to work with his father. During that time Chris said he learned a lot about supply chain realities - how they succeed and how they break down. His background in this area will be of particular usefulness to the FeedHV program as he evaluates new sourcing and transportation solutions for the food network.

 

“I believe my experience with wholesalers will help me find a lot of nontraditional donors,” Chris said. “I have ideas about where to find some unturned stones that could lead to something.”

 

In 2014, Chris visited Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), Vietnam. He fell in love with the country, food and culture but was disappointed by the inauthentic, touristy experiences offered to travelers. So, instead of heading home, Chris started a business. For the next seven years Chris ran Saigon Street Food Tours, which connected local family owned food stalls, charities and nonprofits with foreign visitors. Employing locals with deep understandings of regional cuisine, he offered more authentic experiences to visitors, taking them off the beaten path to eat the street food that represented the region more holistically. While in Vietnam, Chris was also a visiting lecturer at the University of Finance and Marketing.

 

In 2021, Chris made the decision to finally head back to the Hudson Valley. COVID’s impact on the travel business and a desire to be back around family made the decision clear. Now that he’s home, he said the FeedHV program is a great outlet for his unique skillset and motivated disposition.

 

“Our big push is going to be focused on expanding FeedHV’s influence into Greene and Sullivan Counties,” Chris Said. “I think there’s a lot of want to donate, but right now it’s every man for themselves as potential donors try to figure out how to do it. We can help make those connections.” 

 

The pandemic shifted FeedHV’s activity over the past two years. The strain on the system and the growing need for food access meant the organization needed to be exceedingly flexible and adaptive. Now that the crisis is settling down, FeedHV is reassessing the current landscape. Chris’ eagerness to forge new relationships will be extremely valuable to growing organizational impact.

 

“We are very excited to bring Chris onboard to focus on the important mission of FeedHV,” said Todd Erling, HVADC Executive Director. “Even more than his work experience, Chris immediately brought the right attitude to the table. He wants to solve problems and explore new ideas. The work of FeedHV is really important to the communities of the Hudson Valley and I believe Chris feels the urgency and is ready to hit the ground running.”

 

For more information about FeedHV and the programs Chris will be involved with, visit feedHV.org.