Industry Local Economy New Economics

The Hudson Valley Localist

Mar 07, 2016 Country Wisdom News

by Kathy Puffer

When visiting Hudson Valley Vertical Farms, you’ll see a lot of green. From the leafy greens in our aeroponic greenhouse to the seedlings in grow trays, we show off the verdant color of summer all year long.

But there’s one green thing you won’t see a lot of—paper money. That’s because our cash flow is sailing on a different current—the Hudson Valley Current, that is.

The Hudson Valley Current is a closed-loop currency for our region, which encourages shoppers to buy local and also makes it easy for participating local businesses to network together and promote each other’s work.

The concept of cooperatives and the creative commons were introduced to me as part of the curriculum during my Permaculture Design Certificate course with Andrew Faust in 2014. The Hudson Valley Current encourages this type of New Economy thinking, where cooperation triumphs over competition. Just like a rising tide lifts all ships, the Hudson Valley Current gets businesses working together to make one another successful.

Closed-loop currency is a great fit for Hudson Valley Vertical Farms, where we promote agriculture in a closed-loop system that is sustainable, easy, family-friendly, and economical. With Currents, we can apply what we learn in the greenhouse to our public efforts, including our bi-weekly CSA pick-up at the Creative Co-op in Rosendale, advertising and event announcements in Country Wisdom News, and promotional materials by Stick to Local Farms.

At the Creative Co-op, our CSA members may also join their Bulk Buy program, which offers people the opportunity to order mushrooms, dry goods, maple syrup, and beef. In the past, Stacy Lipari, owner of the Creative Co-op, and I have used our Currents to advertise markets and events at the Creative Co-op to cross-promote our businesses.

Stick to Local Farms of Corn Cow Inc. is enhancing our business and other area farms with a farm-visiting sticker scavenger hunt. Their beautifully designed stickers for each farm go into a special farm map. This past summer, as people visited our summer market at the Creative Co-op and checked out our fresh basil, they also collected our sticker to add to their farm map. Stick to Local and Corn Cow are run by local writer and food advocate Maria Reidelbach, who accepts Currents for design and writing work.

We use the Current at Re>Think Local and Common Ground events, where we can recirculate our hard-earned capital into the system while promoting our business and networking.

From those events, Currents have helped us contribute even beyond this region, giving back to our world in a place of greatest need. At one Current-sponsored Re>Think Local event, I met Maria Blon from Sparks Alive, who introduced me to heartinhaiti.org. After meeting Maria, we started a partnership to build an anaerobic biodigester at Heart In Haiti School, and she purchased our Vertical Kitchen Unit using Currents to try our closed-loop growing system at home.

The Hudson Valley Current gave us connections we would not have made if we relied solely on big box stores for our needs. We are empowered as a vital part of the web of resiliency in our community. Hudson Valley Vertical Farms is happy to accept Currents—the Hudson Valley’s very own currency system!

For more information about Hudson Valley Vertical Farms, visit facebook.com/HudsonValleyVerticalFarms/.