The HVADC Cultivator
HVADC Partner Spotlight - Northern Dutchess Alliance
The Northern Dutchess Alliance (NDA), a 20 year old, volunteer-run 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization, is a regional planning group founded to foster inter-municipal land-use cooperation and promote economic development through tourism and agriculture.
NDA works in partnership with many of the municipalities of Northern Dutchess County to provide assistance and support in identifying what will help the region collectively improve economic development and increase open space in Northern Dutchess, two important elements which play key roles in the economy of the region. The Hudson Valley has long recognized the value of agriculture as an industry and as a contributing factor to the rural character cherished by many residents and visitors. According to Melodye Moore, the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the NDA, “Agriculture is one of the greatest forms of open space protection.”
Current NDA partners include many of the towns, villages, school districts, chambers of commerce and other business associations of Clinton, Hyde Park, Milan, Pleasant Valley, Red Hook/Tivoli, Rhinebeck, and Stanford, as well as organizations such as Bard College, Dutchess Land Conservancy, Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC), Omega Institute, Scenic Hudson, and Winnakee Land Trust.
HVADC and the NDA began working together several years ago to develop the Dutchess County Bounty (now known as the Hudson Valley Bounty) as a way to promote connections between farmers, chefs and consumers. The NDA graciously hosted a speed networking event at the Stissing House in Pine Plains to kick-off the program development. HVADC appreciated the relationship the NDA had with local businesses and this collaboration has resulted in a several more joint efforts to support the missions and activities of both organizations.
For example, the NDA was hearing from their membership that more schools were interested in procuring local produce. Working with HVADC, the NDA held a forum during which school district leaders, food service professionals and farmers discussed the challenges and opportunities for success. As a result, several school districts began increasing their local food purchases.
More recently, the NDA worked on a project to increase tourism in the region by developing its own adaptation of the historical driving tours previously hosted by Dutchess Tourism. With funding support from the Hudson River Valley Greenway and in collaboration with Dutchess Tourism, the NDA developed driving tours of the area that encouraged visitors to stop at pick-your-own farms, farm to table restaurants and craft beverage locations. Utilizing HVADC’s data from the Hudson Valley Bounty program, the NDA was able to quickly and accurately identify these important tourist locations for inclusion on the driving tours – visit the Dutchess Tourism website to view the tours.
Moore says that collaboration between HVADC and NDA is a valuable tool, because it can provide a missing piece to the puzzle of program development by collaborating with someone who’s “done it before.” Rather than reinventing the wheel, agencies can learn from other groups who may have had success with similar programs. Northern Dutchess County is both a deeply historical area and a bountiful agricultural area. According to Moore the belief that whatever draws someone to the area first will draw them back again, and the NDA, HVADC and their partners are always looking to marry those draws to help encourage growth.
For information on how your organization can join the Northern Dutchess Alliance’s efforts, contact firstname.lastname@example.org