Current Projects & Regional Initiatives
Governor’s Regional Economic Development Council
In 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the establishment of the NYS Regional Economic Development Councils to promote strategic planning, community development, job creation, and economic growth in NYS. The Regional Councils are a community based, bottom-up approach to economic development and made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and NGOs. Since 2011, the Regional Councils have awarded over $1.5 billion in funding to a wide variety of innovative projects that promote growth and reflect the distinct characteristics of each region through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process.
HVADC Executive Director, Todd Erling, has maintained a seat on the Council of the Capital Region since its establishment and is a member of the Executive Leadership Committee, allowing HVADC to play an important collaborative leadership role in the economic development of the Hudson Valley. Many agricultural projects across the region have received priority funding from the CFA process as is demonstrated by several projects below.
LTL Food Distribution Hub
HVADC was awarded a $425,000 CFA to develop a network of “hyper local distribution nodes” to supplement the well-established regional food transportation and distribution infrastructure in the area. Ginsberg’s Foods will serve as the northern node in Columbia County and several options are being considered to represent the southern node in Sullivan County. This network is being established to meet the need for LTL (less than trailer load) freight service to enable transactions between farmers and wholesalers within their local areas, while also opening up farmers and food processors to larger NYC, Hudson Valley, and Northeastern markets. The LTL Local Distribution Hub network will serve farmers, processors, and aggregators in the Capital and Mid-Hudson Regions, NYC and beyond.
Hudson Valley Food Hub: Farm to Table Co-Packers and Hudson Valley Harvest
HVADC, in partnership with Farm to Table Co-Packers (F2T) and Hudson Valley Harvest (HVH), was awarded a CFA of $775,000 to expand the infrastructure of these two successful food processing and distribution firms that serve NYS farms. The grant will expand their capacity to meet the growing demand for local food from customers in NYC and throughout Northeast. The project has already yielded expanded sales and profits to these businesses, as well as increased income opportunities for farms and food producers in the Hudson Valley and throughout NYS. In 2013, over 2 million lbs of NY-grown product passed through F2T’s Kingston, NY facility.
HVADC provides on-going assistance to F2T which has included the development of a Strategic Facility Utilization Plan, refinement of financial processes, process line engineering evaluation, marketing plan, and monitoring a loan package from a private mission-driven investment group. HVADC is continuing to provide assistance with financial projections and implementation of the Strategic Plan.
Farm to Institution New York State (FINYS)
American Farmland Trust’s FINYS program is a statewide partnership of agricultural, public health, and economic development partners who work together to maximize the total volume of locally produced food that is served in institutions such as schools, hospitals, senior centers, universities and more. HVADC is an active member of the FINYS leadership team where we have assisted in the development of several FINYS funding requests for the purpose of strengthening and supporting the farm and food economy of New York State. These have included support for a Market Readiness Training Program for farmers with a focus on food safety, scaling up food production, packaging, and requirements of the region’s institutional food service markets. HVADC has played an integral role in the implementation of several FINYS projects, such as Farm to School and Farm to SUNY.
Farm to SUNY
The FINYS-SUNY Farm to College project will facilitate increased purchases of locally and regionally grown food by colleges and universities within the State University of New York (SUNY) network that will also provide a sustainable profit margin to NYS farmers. The program was awarded a Specialty Crop Block Grant from the USDA to increase the use of fresh, frozen, and processed vegetables produced by NYS farmers on four SUNY campuses including the University of Albany, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Oswego, and SUNY Oneonta. The funding assists American Farmland Trust, HVADC, and their partners in expanding the market for NYS agricultural products such as potatoes, tomatoes, squash and beans.
Field Goods Expansion Project
Field Goods is a subscription-based local foods delivery company that distributes local farm products in the Capital and Hudson Valley regions. As the business continues to grow, HVADC has assisted the owner in connecting her to farmers in the region and facilitating relationships to local food processors, such as Farm to Table Co-Packers. Field Goods recently received a $100,000 CFA for the construction of a new facility adjacent to the existing facility to help expand the distribution of fresh, local food. HVADC advised and supported the development of the CFA and additional sources of funding, such as Hudson River Ventures and an USDA Local Foods Promotion grant.
2014 Troy Farmers Market
Troy Waterfront Farmers Market was awarded $1.5 million in CFA funds to carry out the construction of a mixed use facility on the site of the former Troy City Hall in combination with a farmers market. The new facility will include 100 residential units, 40,000 square-feet of retail space, a 100 space underground parking garage and a public plaza to serve as the new home of the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market. HVADC provided access to regional farms as participants in the market and supported the development of the CFA and it being a priority project for the Capital Regional Council.
Ongoing Efforts to Build Regional Food Hub Capacity
Food Hubs are organizational structures designed to address the challenges of our modern day food system such as the loss of farms and farmland; the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and marketing of local food products; financial pressures on small and mid-sized farms; and access to fresh, healthy food for consumers. Food hubs can facilitate relationships and activities along the value chain to bring added value to farmers and local communities as well as providing broader access to institutional and retail markets for small and mid-sized producers. Food hubs are an important component of our growing food industry as they respond to the rapid increase in consumer demand for higher value, local products and are integral to the future of local and regional growers.
HVADC has become a leading proponent of food hub development in the Hudson Valley and continues to partner with other groups and organizations to develop and integrate food hub practices and philosophy into our local food value chain.