Equity Trust’s Hudson Valley Farm Affordability Program helps preserve affordable working farms in fifteen New York State counties. Thanks to generous support from the NoVo Foundation, this multi-year initiative complements and enhances the farmland protection efforts of the many conservation and agriculture groups that have been working in the Hudson Valley for years, by introducing effective tools that can keep farmers on the land and by providing technical assistance to farm protection projects together with funding in the form of grants and loans.
The Hudson Valley Farm Affordability Program builds on the work Equity Trust has been doing nationally for two decades to create and promote tools for keeping farms in production and affordable to farmers. The support from NoVo Foundation, part of its effort to promote “local living economies” in partnership with the Local Economies Project of the New World Foundation, provides new resources and an opportunity to build a focused regional effort to preserve affordable working farms.
The Hudson Valley provides a valuable food resource for the nearby populations of New York City, Albany, and other urban and suburban communities of New York and bordering states. Yet proximity to dense populations also puts farmland at risk as farmers are outbid by other buyers. Even farmland that has been “protected” through the removal of development rights may be sold for second homes and estates, creating a loss not just for farmers but also for the communities these farms are part of.
Multi-year funding from NoVo Foundation, whose mission is “to foster a transformation from a world of domination and exploitation to one of collaboration and partnership,” allows Equity Trust to offer technical assistance in support of a focused regional effort to keep farms accessible to farmers. NoVo has also provided grant money to pay for permanent affordability restrictions on farms in the region and low interest investment funds for land acquisition bridge loans to get farms off the market while long-term protection plans are put in place.
Projects are carried out in partnership with farmers, land trusts, and local communities to support the protection of farms located in the following fifteen New York State counties: Rockland, Westchester, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan, Ulster, Dutchess, Delaware, Greene, Columbia, Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga, and Washington.