Saturday, February 27, 2016

We Need a Different Word

Yesterday, Gossips attended the CEDC Strategic Planning Public Session. It was an information gathering session with the end goal being the formation of an action plan for the Columbia Economic Development Corporation, which will be presented to the public on April 19. Based on yesterday's session, it seems that the restructured CEDC may be taking a more primum non nocere approach to economic development, recognizing what makes Columbia County and Hudson appealing both to its residents and to the outside world and is the basis of its economy--open space, natural resources, historic architecture, heritage sites, farmland, rural and scenic vistas--and seeking to protect and enhance those characteristics rather than putting them at risk.

In the information sharing portion of the meeting, which preceded the information gathering part, four "industries of focus" for Columbia County were identified: agribusiness, the creative economy, technology, and tourism. Obviously, the word agribusiness is used because it embraces more than just growing crops and raising livestock--such things as wineries, goat farms producing cheeses, distilleries making spirits from locally grown fruit. Unfortunately, for many, the word agribusiness conjures up images of mega farms growing homogeneous crops for national corporations and factory farms raising chickens and pigs in unnatural and inhumane conditions. What's happening in Columbia County, both on family farms that have been here for generations and on new farms being established by young people committed to producing real food humanely and sustainably, is something quite different.

Clockwise from top left: Little Seed Gardens|Jason Houston; Letter Box Farm; 
Stewardship Farm; Letter Box Farm
For the agricultural enterprises happening in Columbia County, we need a different word--a better word than agribusiness.


  1. maybe - but as sweet as we like to think our farmlands and farmers are - there are multitudes spoiling their heritage by growing Monsanto gov't subsidized crops of alfalfa and corn too - poisoning the earth and birds and insects of Columbia County

    1. how do we get the message to them to go organic too or at least boycott Monsanto?

  2. I too attended the CEDC session, and there are multiple stories of new organic farmers establishing themselves here in Columbia County. Also, many are creating farm-to-table products that are beginning to spread within, and beyond our borders.

    Farming on a small scale here, which is what we are talking about, is not easy, but those farmers have a lot of heart and hard work committed to being transparent and creating food for wholesome consumption.