Bio of Ava Bynum, HVS Founder

Hudson Valley Seed’s Founder Ava Bynum is a passionate systems thinker and non profit executive, with experience in startups, development, nonprofit management, education, food systems, and community organizing. Ava is a graduate of the Rockwood Leadership Institute and the Good Work Institute fellowship program.

Ava’s passion for making good food and inspiring education accessible to all children began when, as a teenager, she worked as a farmer at Four Winds Farm in the central Hudson Valley. Rather than attending an undergraduate college program, Ava founded Hudson Valley Seed in 2012 when she was only 20 years old.

Prior to forming Hudson Valley Seed, Ava had previously designed and implemented a curriculum-integrated garden program at The Garden Road School in Peekskill, NY. As a classroom teacher trying to start a garden program, Ava had encountered the difficulties that almost all schools face when trying to start a school garden on their own: Most produce grew when school was not in session; there was limited funding for supplies; and there was no time in the school day for gardening. Inspired by the growing network of Farm to School programs, Ava brought students out to the garden during class time to complete math, science, reading and other academic work while also learning about nutrition, nature and more, laying the ground for what would become Hudson Valley Seed.

Ava has been recognized with the following awards and fellowships:

  • Civic Improvement Award, Garden Club of America, 2016

  • Rising Star in Fundraising Award, Association for Fundraising Professionals, 2015

  • Sustainable Business of the Year Award, Cold Spring Chamber of Commerce, 2014

  • Environmental Trailblazer Award, Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, 2014

  • Fellow, Etsy Good Work Institute, 2016

  • Fellow, Rockwood Leadership Institute, 2015

  • Fellow, Environmental Leadership Program, 2014-2015

Today, Ava facilitates racial justice and equity trainings for individuals and organizations.


Omari Washington, Executive Director (interim) (347) 328-4481

Ava Bynum, Founder (845) 419-3871