Oct 28, 2015
Eden Valley Growers gets grant for Western NY Food Hub

Eden Valley Growers, a farmer-owned cooperative and the owner/operator of the Western NY Food Hub, was awarded $98,890 through the Local Food Promotion Program from USDA to further expand its food hub operations.

 Eden Valley Growers, in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension and Field & Fork Network, will implement the project over a two-year period. The goals of the initiative are to increase consumption of and access to locally and regionally produced agriculture products and to develop new market opportunities for small and mid-size specialty produce growers across Western New York.

”Eden Valley Growers is excited for the opportunity to help smaller growers connect with buyers they would normally not be able to & to move their products to other areas of the state and beyond.  Additional commodities will potentially attract other buyers and also extend the “selling” season for locally grown products.” said Dave Walczak, Eden Valley Growers.

 Field & Fork Network’s 2014 Food Hub Planning Project feasibility study resulted in the selection of Eden Valley Growers as the operator for the Western NY Food Hub. With the Western NY Food Hub being incubated within Eden Valley Growers, farmers have immediate access to existing buyers and the potential to decrease marketing costs and increase sales over the long term.

The Western NY Food Hub will source fruits and vegetables from growers around Buffalo and in twelve counties of Western New York – Erie, Niagara, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Monroe, Livingston, Allegany, Wayne and Ontario. Products will be sold and distributed predominantly to wholesale buyers in Buffalo, and to buyers across the entire state of New York, as well as the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

 The project will provide outreach, training, technical assistance and support for the farmers that choose to sell to the Western NY Food Hub, which will sell and distribute to buyers across the region.

 “This project is a critical step in making the Western NY Food Hub a model for success.  Through this grant, we will be able to develop a technical assistance outreach program to interested growers that will be customized to the hub’s specific criteria, while simultaneously offering a larger and more diverse product line to the wholesale market sector.  As a result, individual farms will be able to diversify their market portfolio, customers will have greater access to fresh, local produce and local economies will be strengthened.  We consider this a tremendous win for all and are thrilled to be project partners,” said Cheryl Thayer, Cornell Cooperative Extension Harvest NY team.

 Eden Valley Growers, along with their project partners, will host a meeting with local farmers who are interested in selling through the hub for the 2016 growing season on Dec. 9, 2015 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Erie County Fire Training Facility, 3359 Broadway, Cheektowaga, NY 14227. For more information and to reserve your spot at this free event/meeting, please contact Dave Walczak at 716-992-9721 or email.

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