Hudson Heartbeet Community Farm avoids potential year-end deficit
YLJ FILE PHOTO/JAMES ARMSTRONG
Hudson Heartbeet Community Farm// Ferme Communautaire Betterêve de Hudson's start-up season included guided tours of their temporary location.
The call for financial aid went out to supporters and friends of the Hudson Heartbeet Community Farm in an email Tuesday, December 5. The message was an appeal for financial support to cover a year-end loss.
“The response was terrific,” said Community and Logistics Manager Loïc Freeman-Lavoie. According to Freeman-Lavoie, the forecasted deficit of $19,500 for the organization’s first year of operation had been covered by a combination of donations and solidarity loans.
Financing a community farm
“We are a non-profit organization as opposed to a privately owned farm,” said Freeman-Lavoie. “It means we don’t qualify for any financial support from La Financière Agricole Québec,” he said, adding the farm received grants in 2017 from the Municipalité régionale de comté Vaudreuil-Soulanges (MRC-VS) and the Town of Hudson. However, the start-up costs of the project exceeded the income from grants and the sale of Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) food baskets. He described the solidarity loans as interest free financial loans of $2000 and up provided by individuals for a period of three years.
“We made investments in equipment,” said Freeman-Lavoie listing items such as a farm vehicle, refrigerator, an irrigation system, seeder and hand tools.
“We also paid for seedling production because we don’t have our own greenhouse.”
For its first season, the farm was renting a temporary location for growing produce while the land provided by the Town of Hudson was being prepared for use.
“We are very grateful to Hudson for all of their support,” said Freeman-Lavoie emphasizing the goal of the community farm is to be self-supporting.
“We don’t want to be a financial burden to the town,” he added noting that having the threat of a deficit lifted means other financing options will be available.
Vision for the future
Inaugurated in January 2017, Hudson Heartbeet Community Farm is a project sponsored by the Hudson Food Collective, also a non-profit organization, whose mission is to foster a thriving local community food system.
“We are applying for more grants for 2018, and the CSA food basket program has been launched for next year,” said Freeman-Lavoie. A preview of projects for 2018 on the farmland opposite Thompson Park, 730 Main Road West in Hudson includes the construction of a farm stand, a washing station and the installation of electrical service. Pick-up of CSA baskets, educational workshops, tours and a pilot youth education program will all take place at the new farm location.
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