Press Releases

Local Economies Project Announces Innovative “Farm Hub” to Support Hudson Valley Agriculture

20 December 2013

Gill Farm Property to Serve as New Regional Farming Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Offering Training and Services for Local Farmers

Kingston, NY- The Local Economies Project (LEP), a Hudson Valley based project of the New World Foundation, announced today that it is facilitating the purchase of Gill Farms in Hurley, NY for the creation of an innovative new “Farm Hub” dedicated to sustainable agriculture – offering Hudson Valley farmers access to hands-on training, education, and services. The project will aim to bolster the local agricultural economy, while ensuring that the area’s rich agricultural heritage and open space will be maintained for years to come on one of the largest and most visible tracts of farmland in the region.

Elected leaders welcomed the news.

“Not only will the Gill property remain a working farm, but it will also serve as a resource for business development and environmental sustainability in the region,” said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein. “Farming in Ulster County is an important part of our history.  But it’s equally vital to our future – to public health and to the local economy.  The ‘Farm Hub’ will position the Hudson Valley as a focal point for sustainable food and farming – It’s also terrific that LEP has chosen to locate in Ulster County,” he continued. 

The Farm Hub will be a major center for sustainable agriculture in the Hudson Valley, offering programs and research opportunities to strengthen farming and food systems in the local community and the region.  Goals include offering new and established farmers a range of resources, including:

  • Hands-on training in sustainable farming practices to meet modern-day challenges
  • Marketing assistance to help grow their businesses
  • Information on cutting-edge practices and technologies that promote resilient agriculture through demonstration and research in conjunction with Cornell University
  • Assistance with secure and affordable access to land
  • Expanded access to capital to establish and expand their farming operations

“The Hudson Valley can be a very tough place for the new farmers that our region needs,” said Lindsey Lusher Shute of the National Young Farmers Coalition.  “The Farm Hub will directly tackle many of the challenges that these young farmers are facing, while making the whole agricultural economy stronger and more sustainable.”

Hudson Valley Farm Hub

Hudson Valley Farm Hub

Hudson Valley Farm HubHudson Valley Farm HubHudson Valley Farm Hub

Gill Farms, in operation since 1937, is located on 1,255 acres stretching southward from Kingston to North Marbletown, along the historic corridor known as the “Hurley Flats.”  The $13 million land purchase was funded by the NoVo Foundation with the intention of holding it until such time as an independent nonprofit organization can be formed to carry the Farm Hub’s work forward.  The Local Economies Project will manage the development and growth of the Farm Hub during this initial phase.

John Gill, the farm’s current owner and life-long Ulster County resident, will be involved in the transition of the property from private farm to education and research center and will remain in the position of Farm Manager.

“It’s always been important to me that our farm remains a working farm – this way I can preserve my grandfather’s and my father’s legacy,” said Gill Farms owner John Gill.  “I’m really happy that I’ll be involved in the next chapter, and to know that the farm will always remain viable and help prepare future generations of farmers.” 

The Farm Hub’s educational and agricultural partners include The College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, as well as Rondout Valley Growers Association (RVGA), GrowNYC, Hawthorne Valley Farm, Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC), and other groups working in the field of resilient agriculture.

“There is so much expertise to draw on here in the local community and across the Hudson Valley,” said Bob Dandrew, Executive Director of the Local Economies Project. “We look forward to working with all of our partners as we develop plans for the Farm Hub. A firm foundation is in place to create a dynamic center for food and farming.”

Kathryn Boor, Dean, Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences agrees, “Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has been providing experiential education for students of agriculture for well over a century.  The Farm Hub will provide an exciting new base for training, research and demonstration in the Hudson Valley as we continue to develop new methods for the next generation of farmers.  We look forward to collaborating on this exciting project.”

Master planning for the new Farm Hub will begin in early 2014.  The Local Economies Project will spearhead the planning process and work closely with a network of regional and local partner organizations to solicit input from a broad range of stakeholders and community leaders.  The Farm Hub programs are slated to begin operations on-site by the spring of 2015.

BACKGROUND 

The Local Economies Project (LEP) was launched in 2010 in the Hudson Valley to support sustainable local agriculture and ongoing efforts to create a resilient food system. In addition to providing funding to non-profit organizations working in agriculture in the region, LEP has conducted research, hosted conferences, and supported food and farm related educational programming. LEP is based in Kingston, New York and is a project of the New World Foundation, a philanthropic organization based in New York City.

PRESS CONTACT(S)

Raymond Rodriguez raymond@berlinrosen.com 305-992-1809