ROME, N.Y. — Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County is pleased to announce the launch of an Agricultural Marketing Cooperative that will connect Mohawk Valley Produce with buyers in New York City. Partnership is held between Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County and The Queens Chamber of Commerce. This partnership between the two entities is supported by Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon and Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, representing District 39.
“I was honored to secure the funding for the Cornell Cooperative Extension proposal of ‘Bridging the Upstate-Downstate Food Network Divide Initiative’.” Said Assemblywoman Buttenschon. “This is another example of how Cornell Cooperative Extension supports our local farmers by connecting them with fellow New Yorkers that appreciate the importance of New York grown food and products.” I look forward to continuing to support the efforts of Cornell Cooperative Extension.”
The formation of the Mohawk Valley Agricultural Marketing Cooperative will serve to connect, benefit, and foster sustainability across the two regions, while working to keep New York State’s business within New York State. Additionally, the Marketing Cooperative will enable Mohawk Valley farmers to operate more efficiently and at lower costs than they could on an individual basis.
“Assemblywoman Buttenschon really facilitated us getting the funding to allow us to create an upstate-downstate connection.”, said Mary Beth McEwen, Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County. “Our upstate producers are so absolutely amazing at making the best products, I think, in the Country. Now we can sell locally, but also downstate too. People will know where their products are coming from, and they know the quality that stands behind those products.”
COVID-19 brought unprecedented market stressors to upstate farms: processing/packaging shutdowns, transportation backlogs, institutional and business closures, event cancellations, and both shortages and surpluses of varying food products. The market interruption caused immediate loss of revenue to farms of all sizes. Similar to upstate, businesses in the metro New York City area have experienced their own COVID-induced barriers to sustainability – operating restrictions, transience among customer base, and decreasing revenues. As such, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County and Queens Chamber of Commerce have begun collaborating to address the interdependent interests from their distinct but neighboring NYS communities.
Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz met with the Cornell Cooperative Extension team (and others) last month and posted her excitement to her Facebook page. “Combating food insecurity will take all of us.” She remarked.
Launch of the initiative was announced on August 9th at the Collins Creamery in Rome. Collins Creamery is a prime example of local producers whose product could benefit from the Marketing Cooperative. The foundation for the expansion of their creamery was poured just recently.
–Cornell Cooperative Extension Oneida County
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