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April 28, 2014

Local food efforts not solitary

Over the years, Adirondack Harvest has had the good fortune of collaborative support from many other agencies in the North Country.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes at least a region to embrace the notion of raising local, healthy food to nourish the population and boost the economy.

I’d like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for the assistance we’ve seen over the past decade; assistance that ultimately is making the initial dream of a thriving agricultural economy a reality.

It’s important that consumers know about the networks around our farmers that help keep the local food growing.

Adirondack Harvest exists because former Keene Town Supervisor Tom Both and several other Essex County visionaries understood that in order to preserve beautiful open spaces and farmland, we ought to work toward ensuring that our local farmers can make a living. You know, dig in and stick around awhile? 

That was more than a decade ago and the Essex County Board of Supervisors has had the good sense to include Adirondack Harvest in its line item budget ever since.

Adirondack Harvest functions as a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Essex County and thus has enjoyed the support and resources not only from Cornell University (what we refer to as our “mother ship”), but also from many other northern county CCE associations. Even with tight budgets everywhere, CCE has recognized the need to assist direct market farmers and has provided personnel to further Adirondack Harvest’s efforts in the Adirondack region and beyond.

Other collaborations have included working with the Adirondack North Country Association and the Adirondack Council. We’ve received generous grants from NYS Agriculture and Markets, the USDA Specialty Crop Program, the Northern NY Agricultural Development Program, the Spaulding Paolozzi Foundation, the Pumpkin Hill Foundation, the Honeybee Foundation and the Ellen Lea Paine Memorial Fund. The New York Small Scale Food Processors Association included us in a grant to fashion an entire series of workshops in the North Country designed to help our farmers and other entrepreneurs expand their marketing season with value-added products.

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