Harvesting Opportunities in New York, November 20, Albany
The second annual Harvesting Opportunities in New York: Growing Local Food Economies and Protecting Farmland conference will be held on November 20 in Albany. The business of growing and selling food is a major contributor to New York’s economy. Farms annually sell billions of dollars in products yet New York continues to lose thousands of acres of farmland to development each year. “This conference will build on last year’s event, continuing to motivate more New Yorkers to work together to grow our local food economies and save the irreplaceable farmland on which New York depends,” said American Farmland Trust New York State Director David Haight.
Posted in Agriculture and Environment, Farmland Protection, Local Farms and Food, New York Policy, State Budget, State Legislation Tagged agriculture, Albany, American Farmland Trust, beginning farmers, conservation, economic development, farmland protection, local food, New York, No Farms No Food
Last month, American Farmland Trust was awarded two Conservation Partnership Program Grants. The Conservation Partnership Program is a public-private partnership between the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Land Trust Alliance that invests in New York land trusts. “This program is unique in the nation,” said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens. “The state’s investment…multiplies several times in benefits to local communities, improving both the local economy and the environment.” The grants awarded to American Farmland Trust will assist in the development of the Hudson Valley Farm Link Network and our No Farms No Food campaign to engage New Yorkers in protecting farmland. The Conservation Partnership Program is funded through the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.
New Bill Introduced to Help Beginning Farmers Find Land
Finding new ways to help farmers, particularly beginning farmers, find a farm at an affordable price was a priority issue at American Farmland Trust’s No Farms No Food Rally. Assemblyman Bill Magee, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee and Senator Patty Ritchie, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, have introduced bills to address this problem. Their legislation, bills S. 5377 and A. 7002 and would require the state Department of Agriculture and Markets and Office of General Services to identify and inventory state-owned farmland that could be purchased by or leased to farmers and take steps to make that land available to farmers. Read More
Seven working farms in the Hudson Valley are now protected from development thanks to combined support from the federal Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program, Scenic Hudson, Dutchess County, the Town of Red Hook, the Columbia Land Conservancy and the Dutchess Land Conservancy. 1,265 acres of farmland have been protected with conservation easements at a cost $5 million. The farms produce fruits, vegetables, milk, hay and grains. “Ensuring that our farmers have access to the land they need to grow their products is vitally important to economic development and food security in New York,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
The Hudson Valley Food Hubs Initiative: Research Findings and Recommendations has just been released. The report explores escalating distribution of local foods, supporting farm economies and strengthening Hudson Valley regional food systems and communities through food hubs. The report is spearheaded by the Local Economies Project with a research team led by Sarah Brannen and Columbia University’s Urban Design Lab. “Expanding local food distribution capacity is critical to farm products into institutions and expanding sales for farmers”, said David Haight, New York State Director for American Farmland Trust. “This report provides important insights into changes needed in the Hudson Valley.”