Blankenbush: Connect families to fresh food
Friday, March 9, 2012 - 11:08 am

To the Editor:

The North Country is home to one of the most vibrant agricultural communities in New York State. Our lives are intimately connected to our lands, farms and open fields. We’re fortunate to have immediate access to fresh and delicious farm goods. Our local farmers have set the North Country apart as a leader in the agricultural economic sector, something of which I am very proud.

As the ranking Republican member on the Assembly Agriculture Committee, I am always working hard to protect and improve our unique economic niche. Opportunities exist in many places, but building stronger connections between underserved urban centers and rural communities such as ours must be a priority.

I am pleased to join Gov. Cuomo in announcing expansion of the ‘FreshConnect’ Program, which consists of competitive grants designed to boost New York’s agricultural sector while giving low-income and underserved communities access to locally grown, fresh food. We have a prime opportunity here to share more of our wholesome products by bolstering existing farm-to-consumer markets and creating new ones.

Personally, I see the ‘FreshConnect’ Program as a win-win situation. Our hardworking family farms will benefit by selling more product, and communities throughout the state will have access to healthy, delicious farm fresh food.

I encourage all regional market authorities, non-profits, municipalities and farmers’ markets to apply for these grants. I’ll gladly work with you to make the most of this great opportunity. Please feel free to visit www.agriculture.ny.gov/RFPS.html <http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/RFPS.html> for more information on the ‘FreshConnect’ Program. The application deadline is April 2.

As always, I welcome your suggestions and ideas about agriculture, the economy and any other state or local issues. Give me a call at (315) 493-3909 or e-mail me at [email protected].

Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush

122nd District