Finding a Home for Harvest

The Hudson Valley Farm Hub donated over 118,000 pounds of produce in 2018

Packaging squash for donation throughout the winter

In an effort to improve access to high quality, healthy food, the Hudson Valley Farm Hub donated 118,000 pounds of produce in 2018 to local emergency feeding organizations, such as soup kitchens and food pantries.  This year’s bounty included broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and sweet corn during peak season.  The majority of the Farm Hub’s produce, approximately 80 percent, is donated.

“My job is to find a home for everything we grow,” says Jeff Scott, the Farm Hub’s marketing and logistics coordinator. When it comes to donations, Scott works with a variety of non-profits, emergency food programs, and hunger relief organizations.  Some of this year’s donation recipients included Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County, Dutchess Outreach, Family of Woodstock, The Good Neighbor Food Pantry, Kingston YMCA Farm Project, People’s Place and UlsterCorps.   

“These organizations are on the front lines of addressing hunger in Hudson Valley communities and fresh produce can be hard to come by in the emergency feeding system,” according to Scott.  “Hunger should be preventable. Until the root causes of that problem are solved, the Farm Hub will continue to do what we can to provide access to fresh produce.”

Gleaning blueberries at the Farm Hub

The Farm Hub also continued its partnership with UlsterCorps’ Glean Team in 2018 to pick 1,500 pounds of blueberries.  Specializing in volunteer placement, UlsterCorps has a robust logistics network with local farms to serve food banks and food pantries with fresh, local produce.  “Fresh fruit, especially berries, tend to be highly perishable and expensive and are rare in most hunger relief programs,” explained Scott.  “It’s a joy to see volunteers from the community and our staff on the farm picking berries and working together to make sure fruit gets into the local emergency feeding system.”

In addition to donations of produce during the summer months, the Farm Hub is focusing its efforts on extending the season of availability by growing crops for winter storage, such as carrots, parsnips, garlic, and sweet potatoes.  As a result, donations from the 2018 harvest will likely continue through next February, Scott says.