NY Fresh Connect Farmers’ Markets

August 25, 2011 · 7 comments

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fresh produce

In a recent press release, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the “New York Fresh Connect Farmers’ Markets” (FreshConnect) program, which launches new farmers markets’ and expands others around the state of New York. This is great news and real progress for farmers in New York.

The program is designed to assist New York farmers by increasing the sale of locally-grown food to local communities. The program will also bring fresh food to under served communities, improve nutrition education, and help create local jobs.

This is a new initiative by the Governor to invest in New York’s agricultural industry — so vital to the economy. Fresh Connect will focus on ways to support and expand New York farms through farm product sales, branding, marketing, distribution, local food processing innovations, and improving the business climate by reducing the regulatory burden on farmers.

I truly hope this is more than just words and I hope it applies to all the farmers — not just produce farmers. I hope it includes farm to consumer foods like pastured eggs and pastured meats and even fresh dairy products. To quote Governor Cuomo,

Farmers’ markets increase farm sales and revenue by bringing farm produce directly to the consumer … these markets also help under served communities by providing fresh produce, nutritional education, and local jobs. The FreshConnect program empowers all New Yorkers to choose healthy, affordable, locally-grown food. This program is a win-win for farmers and consumers.

A farm to consumer connection is generally a good policy as long as there are no major regulations and fees that make it too expensive for the farmer to do business.

They are planning to open 7 new markets in locations like Harlem, Mount Vernon, Queens, and the Bronx. Existing markets will start to accept EBT or food stamps for the first time, reaching out to under served people in low income communities.

As part of the program, the state provides the following services, if needed: up to $15,000 in funding per market; identify suitable markets; recruit farmers to participate; assist with marketing, promotion, nutrition education, community outreach, and other services; and coordinate with local officials and business groups.

This Fresh Connect program is an investment in the agriculture industry in New York. It includes programs to develop New York’s regional farm-food system, increase access to credit for farmers, expand food processing capabilities, and use emerging technologies to lower energy costs and encourage the growth of renewable energy sources.

Fresh Connect is also expected to increase distribution of New York farm products and to improve the branding and marketing of New York organic and New York grown foods.

I’m so glad they mentioned organic food. Farmers markets are terrific and I visit one in my town every week — but I would so like to have a farmers’ market that includes organic farmers.

These farmers really need assistance in the switch to organic farming — and perhaps decreasing the cost of doing so would encourage more farmers to take the challenge. New York ranks second in the nation for apple production, yet I have not found any organic apples grown here.

I would LOVE to be able to buy organic apple from New York! Wouldn’t you? Do you have a farmers’ market in your neighborhood? Leave a comment and let me know!


Resources:

www.governor.ny.gov/press

Photo Credit: Natalie Maynor

This post is linked to: Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Sugar-Free Sunday. Monday Mania, Traditional Tuesday

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 France @ Beyond The Peel August 26, 2011 at 10:35 am

What a great program for the state of NY. It’s nice to see some initiative taking place. I love our local markets and are so fortunate to have a few to choose from since we live in a small community. I generally buy my fruits and veggies from the farmer themselves, simply because they are so close to town (less than a 10 minute drive). But I rely on the markets for our meats and dairy.

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2 Lauren August 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm

I live in Wichita, KS, and we have a couple of farmers’ markets per week in the summer and fall, but I mostly just get eggs and meat. The produce selection isn’t great and a lot of it isn’t organic. As with some of the meat, the product doesn’t stand up to a lot of questioning. Thankfully, more and more farmers are getting on the grass-fed/pastured/organic/etc. bandwagon, but no way is the Kansas state government going to do anything that big ag doesn’t want them to! I’m jealous that you have Andrew Cuomo for a governor!

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3 Jill August 26, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Hi Lauren,
After what you just said, I guess I should be grateful. Here in NY I don’t think Big Ag is as powerful as in the mid west.

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4 Andrea (From Seed to Stomach) August 30, 2011 at 10:05 am

Anyone know what department in NY will be administering this program? I’d love to learn more about the organization of people behind it and am interested in pursuing a career that would help bring farm fresh produce closer to the people to encourage better nutrition. I wonder if they’re hiring!

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5 Jill August 30, 2011 at 10:43 am

I would click on the links and resources I provided. Good luck!

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6 Chris F. January 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm

I built a simple map showing farmers markets around New York State at: http://bit.ly/yVjvz1. Check it out and please share with your family and friends! The data came from a free government source, which is decent but has many addresses or XY locations missing.

The map is editable, so names, locations, and other information can be updated for accuracy. It would be great to have people with local knowledge assist in correcting the information so it becomes a more useful resource for all.

In the meantime, we’ll determine who the project sponsor is and try to get something like this hosted by the sponsoring agency.

Thanks!

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7 Frank Gelman March 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm

My client Battery Place Markets in the Battery Park City section of lower Manhattan in New York City welcomes the opportunity to buy direct from any New York farmer directly at a fair price. Please email me in confidence.

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