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Local Foods

The Local Foods program has a major focus on connecting producers and end users along the food value chain to grow the local economy and enhance the availability and variety of locally produced food. Activities include value added products like maple candy, local farmers market and farm stand growth and stability, producer trainings on marketing and branding along with traditional subject matter trainings from meats to vegetables. The goal is to increase profitability for farmers and product availability and variety to consumers. We help to make connection and develop markets for the local agricultural community. 

Buying Local 

Why Buy Local? Beyond the benefits of direct sales for farmers, farmers’ markets can benefit local economies. One of these benefits is that more food dollars are spent and retained in the local area, versus on food imported from other regions of the country or internationally. As more money stays in the local economy, more money is spent by and at other local businesses. Known as the multiplier effect, for every dollar of income earned by a farmer at a farmers’ market, other local businesses generate $.48 of income.

Also… consumers may be enticed to shop at other businesses in the vicinity of the farmers’ market. These indirect sales have been estimated to be $.58 for every dollar spent at a farmers market. In the same study, a job multiplier of 1.45 was found, in other words, for every job at a farmers’ market, nearly half of another job was supported somewhere else in the local economy.

Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets have many benefits, among them increasing fresh fruit and vegetable consumption, directly connecting consumers with farmers, and economic benefits for participating farmers and communities where farmer’s markets are located. Increased interest by consumers in local foods has led to the continuing expansion of the number of farmers’ markets nationwide.

Why Everyone Should Shop at a Farmers Market

  1. Farmers markets offer a wide diversity of affordable foods. Many varieties of vegetables and fruits are simply not found anywhere but at your local farmers market.
  2. Vegetables and fruits are the freshest at farmers' markets since they are harvested within hours of being offered to you. That is when they are at their peak for flavor and freshness, and full of vitamins and minerals that are important to keeping us healthy.
  3. Farmers love to tell their story. When you shop at a farmers' market you have the opportunity to meet and visit with the farmers who grow your food. You can ask questions and learn about agriculture and how your food is grown and harvested.
  4. Shopping at a farmers market is a family-friendly experience.
  5. Support your local farming community by buying your food directly from a farmer.
  6. You are supporting a local economy when you spend your food dollars at a farmers market.
  7. Support a more "green" environment. The traditional meal, including meat and vegetables, travels anywhere from 1,500 - 2,400 miles to reach your plate. When you shop at a farmers market, your food comes from just a few miles away! 

What is Grow Local, Buy Local?

Cornell Cooperative Extension’s (CCE) Grow Local Buy Local initiative is working to increase farmers’ revenues by increasing direct marketing opportunities for local food in Jefferson and Lewis Counties and increase access to healthy foods for consumers.

We provide technical assistance and training for producers, distributors, and institutions with a goal of increasing market opportunities, and therefore increasing revenue and creating jobs. Assistance is available in a variety of formats, including one-on-one settings, group settings, in person venues, and utilizing technology such as webinars, polycom, and social media.

We are working on both sides of the food equation (producers and consumers) to promote:

  • Increased sales to institutions (schools, hospitals, grocery stores).
  • Increased capacity for processing of value added products.
  • Connection to a food hub for year-round access to consumers and markets.
  • Collaboration with local partners for a 20C kitchen for further processing and distribution of local products.
  • Identification of future infrastructure and technical assistance needs.
  • Networking opportunities with producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers throughout the entire food chain to coordinate distribution and market opportunities for locally produced foods in the surrounding area as well as throughout New York State.
  • Operating the Taste NY retail market that supports local producers by providing an opportunity to test and market new products. 
  • Improving food access for Jefferson County residents. 

Last updated May 1, 2024