Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Food, Agriculture And The North Country Economy

It’s often overlooked as a part of our Adirondack economy and history, but believe it or not farming has been a part of Adirondack culture since the 18th century. At one time, farming was what most Adirondackers did either for subsistence, as part of a commercial operation, or as an employee of a local farm or auxiliary industry. While in general across America the small family farm have been in decline, according to the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture farms that sell directly to the consumer in the six Northern New York counties grew from 506 to 619, while all other agriculture sectors declined 6.6%.

Over the past twenty years concerns have grown about the quality of food we eat, the source of that food, and the environmental impact of producing our food (particularly the use of fossil fuels to produce, preserve, and transport it). At the same time a slow food movement has helped innovative local farmers to contribute significantly to the economic sustainability of the North Country by producing local healthy foods for local markets.

On October 21st, there will be a gathering of those interested in our food choices, local farms, and our local economies in hopes of educating professionals involved in community and economic development about the new trends in agriculture and their economic impacts. This event goes to the heart of improving the economy of the Adirondack region. It will be held at the Joan Weil Center at Paul Smith’s College from 10:00AM until 2:30PM. Seating is limited, so reservations will be necessary. Please see below for more information about the conference and how to register.

Speakers will include Dr. John Mills, President of Paul Smith’s College, Michael Farrell, Cornell Maple Sugar Specialist, Martha Pickard of Adirondack North Country Association, Bernadette Logozar, Cornell Cooperative Extension Franklin County, David & Cynthia Johnston, DACY Meadow Farm, and Brian Houseal, Director of the Adirondack Council.

A buffet lunch will be available, featuring local food provided by Sodexho.

Seating is limited. Please call Laurie Davis, at Adirondack Harvest, 518-962- 4810, extension 404 to make a reservation. The conference fee is $10 payable at the door.

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