HUDSON, N.Y. — Two new initiatives from Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC) have been launched to support regional farms and food producers as they adapt their business practices to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. These new programs enhance HVADC’s capability to help local business owners and reinforce its commitment to keeping the community informed of the food access resources available to them.
Farm Technical Assistance Grant:
HVADC project partner, The Blueprint, a Northeast network for farm and food viability, has been awarded $50,000 from the John Merck Fund’s New England Food System Resilience Fund. The grant was distributed to Blueprint leadership organizations for them to be able to offer business technical assistance in response to COVID-19. HVADC has received $5,000 of the funds.
HVADC will use these funds to support farmers through its Incubator Without Walls program by providing direct one-to-one technical assistance including:
- Guidance and assistance to COVID-19 emergency funding opportunities
- Identifying new market opportunities, collaborations, online platforms, etc.
- Evaluating financial projections for pivoting operations
- Evaluating other financing/capital needs
HVADC estimates 10-16 farmers can be assisted with 3-5 hours of technical assistance each, which may include business and strategic planning, legal, marketing and financing. All services will be provided remotely using the most convenient technology for the farmer. Interested business owners can contact Jennifer Bock at 518-432-5360 x 302 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The COVID-19 pandemic impacts each farm differently and this funding allows HVADC to take the time necessary to give farmers the one on one technical assistance they deserve,” said Mary Ann Johnson, HVADC Deputy Director. “The John Merck Fund’s generous contribution hits the nail on the head, helping farmers with exactly what they need to navigate this complicated situation.”
Farm-Fresh Food Access Directory:
Available on the HVADC website, www.hvadc.org, this growing directory catalogs many of the farms and producers we partner with and all the important changes they have added to their operations during the COVID-19 crisis. The directory provides details on which businesses now offer online ordering, pickup, delivery, and other accommodations.
“It’s heartening but certainly no surprise to see the Hudson Valley’s agribusiness community step up to find new ways to do what they do best – feed us,” said HVADC Executive Director Todd Erling. “Their resilience is inspiring and they deserve our support now more than ever.”
Buying directly from neighboring farms, food producers, farm stands, and markets locally right now provides families with direct access to high quality food, without having to visit high-traffic, picked over, chain grocery stores. It is also a way to support local businesses, many of which are, in turn, supporting the people most impacted by the crisis with product donations to organizations fighting food scarcity like FeedHV.
HVADC’s Farm Fresh Food Access Directory offers three ways consumers can support local agriculture:
- Look Close to Home: find the farms and purveyors in your immediate community. Inquire directly with your neighboring businesses to see what’s available and the most responsible way to shop. Supporting the businesses in your own back yard helps maintain the diversity of local agriculture across the region and you’ll be surprised how much of your shopping you can get done in your town.
- Shop Online: Many regional farms and food producers already had or recently launched online ordering platforms. Using these systems to access farm fresh food reduces personal interactions and is actually incredibly convenient. Many businesses now offer curbside pickup for preorders and even delivery.
- Become a CSA member: Prepaying for a Community Supported Agriculture share has always been a great way to support local farms at the financially strenuous beginning of the planting season. The benefits to you and the farm are even greater now.
HVADC is inspired by the work of local farms and food producers during this crisis. As the pandemic reshapes our economy, the lessons learned will not be forgotten and will surely lead to improved and more versatile services across the food system.
To view the HVADC Farm-Fresh Food Access Directory, visit https://www.hvadc.org/covid19-farmer-directory.
The HVADC is the region’s sole economic development agency with a specific focus on the viability of the agricultural economy in the Hudson Valley. It assists both new and existing agri-businesses such as farms, food businesses and food distributors, by providing technical and business consultation and resources. The non-profit promotes balanced, market-based solutions that lead to enhanced agricultural entrepreneurship, rural economic growth and community enhancement. For more information, please visit: www.Hvadc.org. HVADC produces a monthly-newsletter The Cultivator featuring its initiatives, partnerships and the businesses of its clients. For more information, visit: www.Hvadc.org.
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