Farmers stopping by Hawthorne Valley Farm for the Saturday morning pick up. Photo credit: Jessica Dodd.

Hawthorne Valley Farm (HVF) was pleased to serve as a distribution site for a new collaborative bulk order program for farmers this past weekend. The Hudson Valley Farm Bulk Order program is coordinated by Faith Gilbert, harvest manager and administrative lead at Letterbox Farm in Hudson, NY. The program is fiscally sponsored by the Good Food Farmer’s Network, and the pilot year was funded by Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NESARE).

Gilbert says she first took on this new farmer-to-farmer cost sharing program for ordering supplies—such as row cover, tomato twine, produce boxes, and more—as an attainable step in cultivating a collaborative network for farmers in the Hudson Valley.

“Pooling our purchasing power seemed like a very practical yet meaningful way to help farm viability,” she says. “The 10% savings farmers can get on supply orders through our program leads to a 1% improvement on their bottom line that they can then redirect to reinvest in their operations and their employees.”

From January 7-February 15, 2021, Hudson Valley farmers were able to place orders with 9 different farm supply vendors through the Farm Bulk Order. Farmers receive a 10% discount on their goods, and the program retains a 5% fee to fund next year’s program operations.

Spencer Fenniman checks off items on the packing slip. Photo credit: Betsy Brennan.

Our ladies supervised as the farmers broke down pallets. Photo credit: Betsy Brennan.

Sixty-three farms participated in the program, ordering $140,000 in supplies and receiving over $17,000 in discounts. Then on March 20-21, farmers were able to pick up their supplies from two distribution sites, Hawthorne Valley Farm and Tributary Farm in High Falls, NY.

“We were happy to work with Letterbox Farm to make this program a reality,” says Spencer Fenniman, Director of Hawthorne Valley Farm. “Collaborative networks like this are really needed to continue to strengthen all the farms in the Hudson Valley as we seek to serve our communities with fresh, local products. We look forward to seeing this program continue to grow in the years to come.”

For more information about the Hudson Valley Farm Bulk Order program, please visit their website.