"If every household in [northern New York] were to spend $40 four times a year on locally made, grown and produced products, this would be a $24.48 million influx into the local agricultural economy," says Bernadette Logozar, leader of the northern New York (NNY) direct marketing local foods team.
The team is a group of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) educators from New York's six northernmost counties: Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence.
"This team of educators is providing information and outreach related to raising, buying, eating and enjoying local food in northern New York," says Logozar, the NNY local foods specialist and a rural and agricultural economic development specialist with CCE Franklin County. Team members bring their backgrounds in nutrition, community food security, livestock, business management, horticulture, agricultural economic development and direct marketing to help farmers and consumers across the NNY region.
The number of farms in NNY selling directly to consumers has increased since 1992 to 619 farms from 273 farms with a corresponding increase in direct sales to $4.16 million from $1.2 million, Logozar says, "and there is more room to grow that economic impact in the region."
The NNY Direct Marketing Local Foods Team is offering various activities for 2010, including:
- a consumer-focused conference titled "Eating Local Yet? Finding and Using Local Food";
- educational workshops to help farmers know how to sell meats at farmers markets;
- updates on regulations farmers need to comply with;
- a technology symposium to help farmers interested in selling via the Internet;
- local foods and farmers markets calendars; and
- "Meet the Farmer" dinners.
"This team effort is helping farmers in such areas as developing products and Web sites and the mechanics of direct-to-consumer business development. It is providing consumers with information to help them find and make local food purchases, and it is providing resources and professional development to educators to help them work with both farmers and food buyers," Logozar says.
Team members coordinate their efforts with local and regional foods programs such as Adirondack Harvest http://www.adirondackharvest.com and the small grants program of the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program http://www.nnyagdev.org.
Kara Dunn is a freelance writer in Mannsville, N.Y.