Ghent, NY – This July, Hawthorne Valley and Long Table Harvest launched a Seafood Buying Club in Hudson, NY, to serve the community of Hudson. The buying club is one of the first outcomes of the on-going Healthy Food for All in Columbia County Initiative, funded by a grant from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, to address food access in the county.

“To begin addressing food access in Hudson, we knew that efforts needed to be community-led,” said Rachel Schneider, Director of the Place Based Learning Center at Hawthorne Valley and one of the project leaders. “One of the first steps we took was to form the Hudson Core Group to bring together land-standing Hudson residents to discuss the issues. We then spent a lot of time speaking with the people of Hudson and discovered that protein sources were low. Access to fresh fish is a particular issue for many communities so we decided to begin addressing food access in Hudson by creating the Seafood Buying Club.”

Through the program, customers can pre-order fresh seafood for pick up outside Bruno’s on Warren Street on the first and third Thursdays of each month. At pick up times, walk up customers can also purchase fish. The program seeks to address affordability by utilizing tier-pricing and allows customers to select the price they can pay for the fish. They also accept EBT/SNAP.

“People love that we have fresh, whole fish,” said buying club coordinator Laura Webster. “They are also excited about the tiered pricing, which makes it affordable and approachable.”

In the program’s first month of operation, 5 to 8 families have been served at each pick up, but the project coordinators anticipate that number increasing as the word spreads. The buying club currently offers a selection of sustainably-sourced Atlantic fish and hopes to add more varieties in the future, along with vegetables, fruits, and other proteins. The project leaders are currently researching how to expand this program to serve the rest of Columbia County as well, particularly through a mobile market.

To learn more about the Seafood Buying Club and how to sign up, contact Laura Webster by email.