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Farming for Real

Small scale farmers will be able to viably produce sustainable and high quality food for all demographics in their communities.

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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Sky High Farm

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Farmer Co-op or Farmer Business Organization

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Sky High Farm is a non-profit farm that donates 100% of its production to communities that face food scarcity through pantries, food banks, and other partners. Old Ford Farm is a small diversified family farm business. We are both part of a regional group working on improving food security, the Hudson Valley Food System Coalition.

Website of Legally Registered Entity

www.skyhighfarm.org

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Just beginning now

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Pine Plains, NY 12567

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

United States of America

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Hudson Valley, a region in New York State, covers an area of 7228 square miles

What country is your selected Place located in?

United States of America

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Our team members live, work, and raise families in this region. We are working very hard both professionally and personally to lift up our communities, with a focus on food security, environmental stewardship, and social development. We are investing our livelihoods into this place and would like to help to foster a resilient community that allows us to live our values, enjoy quality of life, and leave a legacy for future generations.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The Hudson Valley of New York State is a mostly rural region that includes an area extending about 150 miles north of New York City. It is celebrated for its natural beauty centered around the length of the Hudson River, as well as its historical significance during America's colonial beginnings. While it is dominated by mostly rural landscapes and towns, it is also home to the state's capital, Albany, as well as significant and historically industrial cities such as Poughkeepsie, Kingston and Troy.

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

2000000

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

The Hudson Valley is an area of marked disparities between rich and poor. This affects food access; one in ten families receive SNAP benefits. This disparity also impacts land values and the ability of new farmers to establish successful enterprises. Once considered the breadbasket of the American colonies, agriculture has diminished significantly compared to historical figures. However now with a resurgence in the farm-to-table movement, we are seeing an increase in small-scale farming and agritourism. But many first-generation farmers face a variety of challenges such as unaffordable land prices (driven up by many urban-dwellers purchasing second homes in the area), transformations in the local economy that diminish the farm supply chain and raise operational costs, and a shortage of farm labor. These economic pressures necessitate that farmers need to charge a premium for their products in order to survive. Meanwhile, many local residents languish in food deserts. Thus farmers are left with one of two options: cater to the rich, or look for grants and/or subsidies. These two options are not ideal in that they require the farmer to either comprise his/her values or enter the time and energy-consuming task of hunting for funding opportunities that often cannot be relied on year to year.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Our vision is for farmers to be adequately compensated for their investment of time, effort, and capital in the production of quality food using regenerative methods that are socially and environmentally sustainable, while providing food access to local populations of all demographics.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

There is a huge disparity with regard to food security and quality between the rich and the poor. Food is a social good and a necessity for vibrant communities. Just as police, fire fighters, and libraries are publicly funded, we believe that small-scale farming should be considered a public good. If it is not properly sustained, it will either only meet the needs of a small proportion of the local population, or simply disappear.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Small-scale local agriculture will be considered a common good and food security a right. Both will be given the priority and safe-guard that other more common public services are afforded. Rather than re-inventing this process on a community-by-community basis, there will be a common model that can be replicated, much in the way local fire departments and ambulance corps are established.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Conference/event

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Team

Thank you so much for the Food Extension Initiative.

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