• Janet irizarry

Feeding the Hudson Valley


Every year the Hudson Valley hosts dozens of events and festivals centered around food – there is the garlic festival, the bacon and bourbon festival, last week there was the Vegfest and this Saturday there is the Pumpkin Festival is at Barton Orchards…the list goes on and on.

For the second year, a new food festival is being held in Poughkeepsie, Feeding the Hudson Valley. where hundreds of members of the public will be provided a delicious free feast, sourced from fresh, top-quality produce that would have been wasted. The food comes mostly from local farms who have an overabundance of produce and it is collected by volunteers in a process called gleaning.

In addition to a free lunch there will be live music, chef demonstrations, educational tables and don’t miss the opportunity to make a bike-powered smoothie.

The festival is a celebration of the magnificent bounty of fresh produce right here in the Hudson Valley while at the same time drawing attention to the issue of food waste and the fact that while many of us have an abundance of food in our life, there are many in our community who go to sleep hungry every day.

Feeding the Hudson Valley is organized by the Hudson Valley Regional Council and will take place on October 7th from 11am-3pm. It will be held on the Poughkeepsie side of Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park.

With a grant through the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute, which is funded through the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, the Hudson Valley Regional Council is on a mission to create awareness of food waste and food waste prevention initiatives. Working with food rescue groups and many other partners, their goal is to find both donors and recipients for the food that is currently going to waste.

“Feeding the Hudson Valley is a big part of our program. There is a ton of fresh food, but it is not accessible to everyone. We want to build on the trend in food rescue and get more fresh food from local farms, farm markets and restaurants to those who need it, not to just get shelf-stable products,” Rich Schiafo from HVRC says.

The statistics on food waste and hunger are shocking, especially when lined up side by side. Statistics show that 1 in 7 people struggles with hunger at some time. Meanwhile, 40% of food that is produced goes to waste with American households throwing away an average of $1500 of food every year. According to Schiafo, it’s time to “fill bellies not landfills.”

This year Feeding the Hudson Valley has gone one step further to making food recovery easier and more efficient by implementing an app that matches and connects food donors, volunteers and non-profit agencies. You can go to FeedHV.org to learn more.

Partners for the event include: Hudson Valley Regional Council; with partnering support from Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County, Dutchess Outreach, Dutchess County Division of Solid Waste, Family of Woodstock Inc, Food Bank of the Hudson Valley,Hudson River Housing, Inc. Hudson Valley Agri-Business DVLPT,Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, RVGA Rondout Valley Growers Association and UlsterCorps.

As part of the lead up to the event, there will be a screening of "Wasted! The Story of Food Waste" at SUNY New Paltz on October 3rd from 6:30-9:00 p.m. The movie is a documentary that aims to change the way people buy, cook, recycle and eat food through the eyes of some of today’s most influential chefs such as Anthony Bourdain, Dan Barber and Mario Batali.

“We have food waste and we have people in need and we need to combine these two to make a positive impact on both the people in our community, and our environment. We need to make the connection and establish what role each one of us can play in to be part of the solution. We need to start having the conversation more and drawing attention to what we each can do, including at the individual home level, by changing our shopping habits and how we store food. There is a consumer responsibility as well,” says Schiafo.

Interested in getting involved? Volunteers are needed both for the day of the event and in the week leading up to the event. Help is needed for food prep and cooking, event set up, food service, flyer handouts, event promotion, picture and video and event cleanup. Sign up here.

Feeding the Hudson Valley Saturday, October 7 at 11 AM - 3 PM Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park 61 Parker Ave, Poughkeepsie, New York 12601

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