Central New York's farm families are challenging their neighbors and their communities to try to purchase their entire Thanksgiving and Christmas meals this year from farmers and other food producers inside the state of New York.
"Buying your food locally is good for you because you get the freshest fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat possible when they come from a farm right here in Central New York," said Onondaga County Soil & Water Conservation District (OCSWCD) Interim Executive Director Mark Burger. "You also know that your food was produced under the strictest environmental and health standards in the world."
"It's good for the economy, too," said OCSWCD Board Chair Tom Trinder, who owns an award-winning organic dairy farm in Fabius. "Agriculture is New York's number one industry. When farmers do well, the whole community reaps the benefits. Unlike global corporations, farmers spend most of their income within a few dozen miles of their farms. Currently, direct sale to local customers is the fastest growing sector of the farm economy. We need to encourage this expansion."
"Well-managed family farms protect our open spaces from suburban sprawl and from intensive development, which can cause water pollution, traffic congestion and higher property taxes for everyone," said Trinder.
"Buying locally grown food helps the environment by reducing the fuel bill for your food," said Burger. "The farther away your food is produced, the more it costs in terms of environmental impact -- including acid rain, smog and global climate change -- just to get it to your table. The best part of all is that you can get everything you need, from the turkey to the whipped cream on your pumpkin pie from local farmers."
New York farmers grow potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, squash, sweet corn, beans, cranberries, peas, pearl onions, sausage for stuffing, sage for seasoning, flour for bread, rolls and pie crust and a wide variety of apples, cherries and other pie fillings. New York wineries make many varieties to complement any meal.