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The Time is Ripe to Harvest Opportunity in New York

November 20, Albany—Register Online Now!

As we move into the final days of a bountiful harvest season we are reminded of the importance of New York State agriculture and the locally grown food it produces. Farm and food businesses provide jobs and economic opportunity while improved access to nutritious, locally grown food improves the health of all New Yorkers.

We encourage you to register online for our fall conference, Harvesting Opportunities in New York, scheduled for November 20, in Albany. Join the conversation about growing regional food economies, protecting irreplaceable farmland from real estate development, increasing access to locally grown food and supporting the next generation of farmers.

The conference’s Buy Local track features “Taking Farm to College to the Next Level,” a workshop about strategies for increasing the amount of locally grown food consumed on college campuses. The Farm to College movement got a big boost when our Farm to Institution New York State (FINYS) initiative was recently awarded federal funding to launch a pilot project to get more vegetables into the dining halls on four SUNY campuses.  

Harvesting Opportunities panelist Jim Hyland of Winter Sun Farms and Farm to Table Co-packers, a FINYS partner, says the future is looking good. “We are working with colleges to increase their purchases from local farms and we are getting great cooperation. Real change is taking place.”

To make his point Hyland talks about a hail storm last spring that punched holes in some beautiful spinach at Davenport Farms, located in Stone Ridge, New York. The Davenport family thought they were looking at a total loss but Hyland knew that even though the crop was damaged it would make great chopped spinach that could be frozen to tide students through a long winter. He got on the phone. Both Bard College and SUNY New Paltz signed on to buy the spinach straight from the field. “This is just one example of the kind of commitment we are starting to see,” said Hyland. 

Join farmers, public officials, land trusts, public health leaders, food service professionals, agricultural organizations, students and concerned citizens at Harvesting Opportunities in New York. The day-long conference will feature a series of 12 concurrent workshops on growing local food economies protecting farmland, and helping the next generation of farmers. Register online. Discounts for beginning farmers and students are available. For more information call us at (518) 581-0078.

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