Wool and other fiber production has been an important part of agriculture in the Adirondacks for many years. In the 1800s many of the new settlers in the region were from Ireland, Scotland, and England. With a landscape conducive to raising sheep, there was boom in merino wool farmers in the region. It was commonplace for people to make mittens, socks and other merino wool products to sell during this time. As with most other agricultural products, the introduction of the rail system meant increased competition from farms and ranches in the Midwest, in the large cities where Upstate NY and Vermont farmers shipped and sold most of their product. Consequently, merino sheep farming gave way to dairy farming, which then gave way to industrial farming.
Today, over 60% of textile fibers are synthetics derived from petrochemicals. Inexpensive synthetic fabrics (like fleece, spandex and nylon) all come from oil that has undergone a chemical process. When these materials degrade, their fibers become microplastics in our environment. It’s estimated that over a third of all microplastics found in the ocean come from synthetic fabrics. In addition, the dyeing process for most commercially made fabrics is a health hazard and major source of water pollution.
Serving local food is good for students and bottom line
Cornell Cooperative Extension Supports Local Schools to Serve Local Food
Lewis, NY – Schools in the region are proving that serving locally grown and from-scratch food is possible and has wide-reaching benefits. Serving local food can save taxpayers dollars, increase the number of students eating school meals, improve the health and focus of students, and support local farmers.
Regional food service directors have found that some ingredients are actually less expensive when purchased locally, like apples and ground beef, and most other ingredients have a minimal price difference that can be made up with savings elsewhere.
Schools can also take advantage of federal and state incentive programs to supplement their budgets, like the New York State 30% Incentive program that reimburses up to $0.25 per meal served for school districts that spend 30% of their lunch budget on New York State food products. » Continue Reading.