The Institute for Mindful Agriculture, a part of the Hawthorne Valley Association, and Long Table Harvest are partnering with the Berkshire-Taconic Community Foundation to offer a community-led organizing process to bridge and help heal the social, economic, and ecological divides of our county’s food eco-system.
This project hinges on one essential idea: conscious collaboration built on deep listening and growing trust.
Our objectives are:
1. To offer immediate help with the inflow of locally grown fresh vegetables and fruits to food insecure communities through the development of a free gleaning program
2. A. To organize a diverse group of community members called the Hudson Community Core Group in order to determine the most strategic and relevant solutions for meeting the food needs of Hudson and to empower community members as they marshal new and existing resources to implement those solutions.
B. Concurrent with the launch of the core group in Hudson, to work to identify two rural sites and the appropriate partner organizations and community members who would become active in year two. These core groups would assess the reality of food needs of their rural communities and act on strategies to meet them, potentially building on infrastructure and systems already in place from the Hudson project.
3. To offer farm based programs that help Hudson community members with limited access to fresh, local food experience how food is grown; to share in cooking and celebration in a farm setting as well as in their own communities and to build solidarity and trust around food security. These farm-based programs would be expanded in year two to rural communities in Columbia County.
4. To drive the project into the future by forming the Columbia County Food Association (CCFA), a multi-industry and stakeholder working group whose mandate would be to implement lasting changes to the local food system based on the lessons and results of objectives 1-3 of this project.
The four objectives listed above are carefully designed to build upon one another. The result will be that conscious collaboration amongst the parties involved will coalesce into a trusting and action-oriented group that has grown organically out of these projects. This group will help to transform the food system of our county.
In addition to Hawthorne Valley Association and Long Table Harvest, our collaborators in year one will include the following organizations: Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood, Perfect Ten After School, St. Peter’s Gleaners, and Kite’s Nest. Each year we hope to build on the last and include more partnerships and organizations. Each year we will grow the Columbia County Food Association to encompass a greater portion of the demographic make-up of our county and also to include representatives from the various parts of the food value chain.