The foundation funded the purchase of the 1,255-acre Gill Farms in Hurley, New York, to serve as a regional center offering farmers hands-on training, education, and demonstrations of innovative technologies that promote resilient and sustainable agriculture. The foundation will maintain control of the property until an independent nonprofit can be formed to carry the work of the project forward.
LEP, an initiative of the New World Foundation, will manage the initial development of the project, which aims to bolster the local agricultural economy while preserving the region's agricultural heritage and open spaces. Master planning for the farm will get under way in early 2014, with on-site programs expected to begin by the spring of 2015.
In partnership with organizations such as the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, Rondout Valley Growers Association, GrowNYC, Hawthorne Valley Farm, and the Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation, the project also will provide resources to help farmers in the region expand their businesses, obtain affordable land, and improve their access to capital.
"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."