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HVADC Program: FeedHV

Feb 23, 2024

New York Food for New York Families Grant

Last year HVADC was awarded $50,000 in grant funding through the New York Food for New York Families Program (NYFNYF). Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and awarded through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, this grant has allowed HVADC’s FeedHV to expand and enrich its mission to connect regional communities in need with healthy and delicious farm fresh food through a program it has entitled Farm to Food Access.


FeedHV is a regional food rescue and harvesting network operating throughout Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, Columbia, Greene, Putnam and Sullivan counties. It links donors of prepared, but unserved, food and fresh produce with nonprofits and food assistance programs. The program typically relies upon food donations or gleanings from restaurants, farms, food makers, stores, hospitals and universities, and a network of volunteers to facilitate deliveries to agencies. When significant donations or grants such as that from NYFNYF are received, HVADC is able to identify needs within its farmer network and match purchases to the needs of FeedHV receiving



The NYFNYF grant empowered FeedHV to focus on purchasing food from BIPOC and other minority run farms for distribution to Hudson Valley food pantries and aid organizations. So far, the funding has allowed FeedHV to connect farms with ten agencies including farms such as Ironwood Farm in Columbia County; Chaseholm, Truman Farms in Dutchess; Yara, Tiny Greens and R&R Family Farms in Orange; Black Horse and Nestor’s Farms in Greene; Farm Fresh Caribbean in Ulster and Quarton Farm in Sullivan County. Through December 2023, 7,781 pounds of foods had been purchased through the Farm to Food Access initiative, and efforts are ongoing. The goal is to reach farmers and families in need in all seven of the counties which FeedHV serves.


Agencies that have received food through the program so far for direct use as well as dissemination to other food agencies include: Dutchess Outreach, the Catskill, Coxackie and Hunter Food Pantries, North East Community Center, Our Core, and Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County.


“The State’s idea was to use this funding opportunity to fortify the supply chain,” said FeedHV Program Associate Chris Braccia. “Through this program we are able to connect traditionally underserved farmers with traditionally underserved communities. Being able to provide assistance at both ends of the system is really gratifying and an actualization of the core principals and mission of FeedHV.”


Braccia said the funding allowed the FeedHV team to supply food in a different way than usual. Instead of gleaning excess food available from farmers and seeing which agencies could take it, the NYFNYF funds allowed them to go to the aid organizations, ask them what they needed and then source from the farmers who had stock. This process has been incredibly beneficial to agencies whose needs can very at different times of year.


And the need is higher than ever right now. Braccia said the aid organizations FeedHV partners with expected to see a reduction in need after the pandemic receded but the opposite has been the case. Most organizations they work with have seen an increase in clients with each passing year.

"We’ve seen our pantry customer base more than double between September and December (of 2023), and I’m sure the trend is only going to continue. Having fresh produce and eggs has helped us fill that gap,” said Neva E. Wartell, Director of the Catskill Food Pantry.

The program will run through the summer of 2024. Braccia said the successful implementation of the NYFNYF funds would not be possible without the vital work of FeedHV Program Coordinator Brianna Merrill, who has made strong connections in Orange County and is working closely with Cornell Cooperative Extension there. He also highlighted the contributions of HVADC Program Associate Linnette Diaz for helping connect non-English speaking farmers with the program. “Being able to have bilingual outreach for NYFNYF has helped us reach farmers that are usually excluded from these kinds of programs while also expanding the types of products we have been able to source for our feeding agency partners,” Braccia said.


“NYFNYF represents the type of funding our regional supply chain needs to become stronger and self sustaining,” said HVADC Deputy Director Mary Ann Johnson. “Connecting farmers with aid organizations this way is creating new links in the supply chain that will endure for a long time to come.”


The NYFNYF program is administered through the USDA Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). The goal of this program is to support local and traditionally disadvantaged farmers and producers by “building and expanding economic opportunities and creating new marketing channels.”


LFPA also intends the program to, “establish and broaden partnerships between New York farmers/producers and the food distribution community and local food networks to ensure distribution of fresh nutritious foods in rural, remote, and/or underserved areas.”


Ideally this effort will improve food access for underserved communities by tailoring distribution to unique local challenges. Over $40 million has been awarded to a diverse group of 102 organizations across New York State, including food banks and pantries, schools and universities, farm collectives, medical centers, and a variety of non-profit organizations such as HVADC/FeedHV, to implement projects that purchase New York-grown food products and distribute them to underserved communities. LFPA funding also provides for Business Technical Assistance to help growers sell into the NYFNYF.


For LFPA, the end-goal of the program is that “Food purchases will support local farmers, including traditionally disadvantaged farmers, help producers access new markets, fill gaps in the supply and distribution chain, and increase access of underserved communities to local food.”


For FeedHV the NYFNYF program is allowing it to extend its reach to support and strengthen agencies with food assistance programs, and financially support minority-owned farms.


To learn more about FeedHV, visit

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