Assemblyman Skartados to host Hudson Valley Food and Farms Roundtable

June 14, 2013
Assemblyman Frank Skartados (D-Milton) announced that he will be hosting an Agricultural Sustainability, Farming Cooperative and Hudson Valley Food HUB Roundtable Informational Event. The event, which the public is encouraged to attend will be held at Wilklow Orchards, located at 341 Pancake Hollow Road in Highland on Saturday, June 29 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“The success of our farmers is key to ensuring that our region’s economy keeps growing,” Assemblyman Skartados said. “By promoting local products and food co-ops, we can help give Hudson Valley families more access to quality local foods and at the same time, help our farmers.”

The first half of the forum will feature speakers from several Hudson Valley Farm Cooperatives. Co-ops give families access to local, affordable, high-quality organic produce and helps local farmers market their goods.

Susan Grove, of the Poughkeepsie Plenty Food Coalition, will discuss how non-profits work to promote a sustainable food system in the Hudson Valley by operating a member-supported farm. High Falls Food Cooperative, a non-profit that supports local producers and sustainable agriculture, will have a representative discuss agricultural sustainability and the simplicity of small scale farming techniques. Tim Heuer of Obercreek Farm will share information about that co-op and their relation to Common Ground Farms, located at the New York State Stony Kill Park. Ben Giardullo of Wholeshare - Beacon Food, a cooperative organic buying club, will explain the power of online cooperative purchases.

These organizations provide education about nutrition, do it yourself farming and improve access to healthy, locally grown food.

The second half of the forum will focus on the Hudson Valley Food HUB, a network of for-profit and non-profit organizations that assists farmers in producing their products in an FDA and USDA approved facility. The HUB also markets their products ultimately raising their profit margin and farm yield capacity. Featured speakers will include Janet Crawshaw, Board Member of the Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation and publisher of ‘The Valley Table’ Magazine. A Board Member of Farm To Tables Co-Packers will also speak about the HUB, as well as a representatives from Wilklow Orchards of Highland, NY, the event host.

Several other guests have been invited to this event. An updated list of speakers and attendees will be posted to Assemblyman Skartados’ website (www.assembly.ny.gov/skartados) prior to the event.

As chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Agriculture, Economic Development and Farmland Protection, and a member of the Agriculture Committee, issues facing our farming community are important to the Assemblyman. Skartados is sponsoring legislation that would establish a farm-to-senior program to encourage senior centers and other institutions for the aging to purchase New York-based farm products (A.2700), which is awaiting the governor’s signature.

An additional bill aims to control rising property taxes on farmland because as property taxes rise, many farmers can no longer afford their land. The legislation would lower the cap on how much the base rate per acre, in relation to farmland assessments, can change from year to year. Currently, the base rate can increase up to 10 percent and is unsustainable for our farmers. This legislation would decrease the cap to two percent per year (A.165).