When public policy decision-makers and community leaders gather to set the course about food and farming – and its place in the local economy – RVGA brings to the table a strong, supportive voice in support of local agriculture. Here are some examples of our efforts to bring the grower perspective into the conversation:
- RVGA serves on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Agricultural Working Group – joining with representatives of NY food producers and farmers in Washington, D.C. for an annual in-depth discussion of federal farm and food policies, and meetings with USDA, other federal agencies and national groups working on current agricultural issues and policies.
- We serve on the Mid-Hudson Regional Council’s “Green Circles” Committee, bringing the farmer perspective to the development of goals and the support of projects that will help build the viability of the farm economy in the Hudson Valley.
- RVGA Executive Director co-chairs the Mid-Hudson Regional Sustainability Agriculture Working Group with Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corp. This group contributed to the chapter on Agriculture and Open Space for the Mid-Hudson Sustainability Plan.
- We have provided the grower perspective on Farm to School policies and practices to Ulster County School Board Association members, and to Congressman Chris Gibson during development of the Federal 2014 Farm Bill and its implementation here in the Hudson Valley.
- We worked with regional land trusts and farm advocacy groups on the creation of $20 million of dedicated Farmland Preservation funding for Hudson Valley farms, and meet regularly with the land trust community to ensure that farmer needs are incorporated into future farmland protection programs.
- We track and comment on right to farm laws and their implementation locally. RVGA co-sponsored a training for local officials on NYS Ag & Markets Law with Ulster County Planning Department and it application in local planning and zoning. We advocate for the alignment of local land use laws with the NYS Ag & Markets statute, educate local residents about benefits of community agriculture, and seek to make local zoning Ag friendly.