Small Businesses are the Heart of the New Economy
Growers Association Launches New Era
Since its formation as a small, farmer-led group in 2003, the Rondout Valley Growers Association has been providing a voice for local farming. This month, the influential organization of local agriculturalists will be making a major shift as its executive director of six years, Deborah DeWan, hands over the organization’s helm to Carol Reiser, who brings with her a strong background in resource development and a degree in Agriculture Communications from Ohio State University. “We are very grateful for all Deborah has done, seen and unseen, for RVGA and the farm community and we are now better positioned to move forward in carrying out our mission, and we’re very excited about Carol Reiser coming on to lead the organization into this next phase,” said RVGA President Nick Cipollone. “Carol brings a unique set of skills and talents from her years working with nonprofits that will help shepherd RVGA into its 15th year and beyond. Reiser is already immersing herself in all things RVGA, from programs to organizational administration, to planning for RVGA’s 2017 Harvest Hoedown on September 23. For more information visit rondoutvalleygrowers.org.
Dandelion To Make Geothermal Affordable
A new Google-initiated startup called Dandelion is being launched in the Hudson Valley promising to make geothermal heating and cooling systems affordable to homeowners even in towns and cities. The idea is simple: to simplify the drilling systems needed to draw heat from the earth and dispel heat into it during the warmer months. Dandelion’s new drill is fast and allows for only one or two deep holes a few inches wide, lessening the cost of a geothermal system from $50,000 to $60,000 by half or even two thirds. The underlying ideology rests on the concept of limiting carbon use, and comes from the same Google Alphabet labs behind new self-driving technologies. “We’re looking to partner with local heating and cooling installers,” says Dandelion CEO Kathy Hannun. “And we’ve developed a financing program that will allow homeowners to install a Dandelion system for no money down and save money from day one while locking in low, predictable payments for heating and cooling.” The company is now accepting sign ups from customers in New York and are indicating they can even be convinced to start figuring out new economy ways to share such resources. Hannun and others were in Kingston recently to talk up what they’re doing. Visit dandelion.co for full information.
Startup Fund Helps Sports Fan App
The Kingston-based Hudson Valley Startup Fund recently gave a $50,000 seed investment to uSTADIUM, a New York-based sports startup, for the entity’s expansion into the Android and website markets, and for further optimizations in its fan-to-fan sports interaction platform which allows passionate fans to join and create communities, customizing their own social sports hub. Users post in real-time on games or in other community based forums, limited to 300 characters and one minute videos. “The Hudson Valley Startup Fund understands exactly where our passion lies and wants to amplify our efforts. HVSF are the ideal partners for us as the managers and members bring invaluable startup experience and business ideas to the table for our long-term success,” said Frank Vittorini, uSTADIUM’s CEO and co-founder. “uSTADIUM’s goal is to be the #1 sports app worldwide, providing fans with a specialized, unique place to connect. Social media has become a mess, especially for fans who use social media for sports.” Hudson Valley Startup is a member-managed seed capital fun, comprised of successful business and community leaders who invest time and resources to support the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The fund provides seed funding, mentorship, and connections for local entrepreneurs, while delivering investment returns to its members and a catalyst to strengthen entrepreneurship in the region by supporting a vibrant, thriving local economy. Visit www.hvstartupfund.com for more information.
Kids Use Film To Tell Of Water’s Importance
Ever wonder “what is water” and where is it found? The Watershed Detectives have the answer! Students at the Bennett Elementary School in the Ulster County Town of Olive have shared their knowledge of water in a 22-minute educational video that is now available online. The fourth- and fifth-grade students—all members of the “Watershed Detectives” after-school science club—were motivated to convince others of water’s importance and what can be done to protect and conserve water and produced the video as directors, actors, film technicians, cue-card holders, and script planners to describe how water plays an important role in their daily lives. Among their ways: introducing a water quality researcher from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection as a “way cool scientist” and demonstrating how water samples are taken from streams. The video is designed to be a resource for elementary school science teachers and aligns directly with science concepts learned in class, and was made possible with funding from the NYC DEP provided to the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program in support of education and outreach. The video may be watched at https://vimeo.com/217747279.
From Young Seeds Major Changes Grow
As its name implies, the Beacon-based non-profit Hudson Valley Seed works with seeds. But they’re quick to point out that the organization’s most fertile plantings are not in the ground but in the minds of young children. Hudson Valley Seed works with elementary schools to teach and integrate healthy food choices through a curriculum that includes food education, outdoor play and gardening, primarily in the communities and schools of Beacon, Garrison and Newburgh which HVS’s program educators visit weekly throughout the school year, or engage at school gardens that they maintain during the summer vacation months. Now five years old, the program was started by current Executive Director Ava Bynum shortly after she graduated high school. And they’ve kept things simple: once they’re invited into a school or community they immediately begin to cultivate and manage whatever garden is available… or they build one fresh. They then work with school districts, or communities, to help incorporate healthy choices into menus. Now they’re being asked to spread their nutritious and fun message throughout the Hudson Valley, and maybe even beyond. Which means more volunteers, but also more funding for new hires. Talk about vision… visit www.hudsonvalleyseed.org for more information.
Making Education Sustainable With Communities
The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck will be hosting a Sustainability Education Conference: Regional Gathering For Educators & Community Leaders the first weekend in August as an “inaugural place-based gathering of educators, administrators, business leaders, students, parents, and community-based organizations from the Hudson Valley and beyond to explore the regional potential for our schools and communities to learn and work together toward a shared and intentional future.” Talk about both playing on and expanding the numbers of cool new concepts and realities coming forth up and down the Hudson Valley, as well as areas elsewhere around the globe. Group rates, student discounts & scholarships will be available. Visit www.eOmega.org/HVeducation for full information.
Learning About Worlds Made By Hand…
Bard College’s newly-launched Montgomery Place Campus is currently hosting a great exhibition focused on the antique garden implements used at the historic estate for vegetable gardening, landscaping, orchard care, and ornamental floral display. It’s free and open to the public in the Greenhouse Tool Room on the Montgomery Place Campus, which is open daily from sunrise to sunset, including its gardens, arboretum, and three miles of hiking trails with views of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains. Why get caught up in all the latest gadgets when there are older ways that work without constant upgrades, which also tie one to others around the globe, as well as our history? Check out www.bard.edu/montgomeryplace for more information.
Food Trucks at Millbrook Vineyards & Winery
Where’s everyone going Friday nights from Hudson, Poughkeepsie and Beacon, and increasingly Kingston, too? How about the Millbrook Winery’s Taproom Terrace where ala carte, family friendly menus are getting served up from local food trucks alongside tap wine from the vineyards and cornhole and bocce games, or whatever other lawn games you want to bring for play on the front lawn in front of those magnificent vistas. Things start at 5 and run to 8pm.
Visit www.millbrookwine.com for the rest of the story.
The Annual Hoot At Ashokan Center
Looking for a great place to meet up with the region’s new entrepreneurial classes, hear some great laid-back local music, eat some great food while drinking locally-crafted brews and ciders, and even let the kids loose for an educational, entertaining and totally safe time? Check out the annual three-day festival now teamed up with a local educational waste company to reduce waste and improve composting/recycling plus a special “Hootopia”outdoor workshop space in the trees where empowering, environmental workshops will be held for all ages. As usual the music line-up’s fantastic, the lodging options and food are guaranteed great, and it’s where the new Hudson Valley comes to play at the revived Ashokan Center in Olive, out by the reservoir. Visit http://hoot.love/ for full info.