SALAMANCA, N.Y. — New York Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NYSAWG) a Salamanca, NY nonprofit that empowers local food producers and food consumers, will host the first informational meeting that will guide the formation of a Food and Agriculture Policy Council for Cattaraugus County in New York State. The meeting is open as a forum to network and engage individuals, organizations and communities concerned about local food systems, equity and sustainability. The Food and Agriculture Policy Council information meeting will take place at Southern Tier West in Salamanca on December 4th at 9:30 am – 12:00 pm. The address is 4039 Route 219, #200, Salamanca, NY.
The preliminary goals of the gathering are to build a network of committed partners, assess and identify the elements of the local food system, understand the various structures and functions of a food and agriculture policy group, provide input from local stakeholders into the formation process, and to initiate a collaborative response to barriers and challenges in the region’s food and agriculture sectors that is built on the collective impact model. Attendees will have a chance to propose ways to identify and solve challenges through community engagement and policy advisement. Farmers, health and human service providers, educators, academics, community leaders, and advocates (including interested individuals) are welcome to attend.
New York State is home to nearly 36,000 family farms and is ranked in the top 10 agricultural states that produce 30 major agricultural commodities. Of that number 956 farms are in Cattaraugus County. However, according to 2017 US Census of Agriculture data, between 2012 and 2017 the number of farms in Cattaraugus County dropped 8%. The raising costs associated with climate instability and unpredictable market factors threaten our farmers ability to feed our local communities and support our regional economies. The economic power of farming, as well as the dependency on the natural processes that make this important industry possible motivates why NYSAWG is holding this timely meeting. Data across the globe suggests greater pressure on farmers and people working at every sector of the food system to innovate for the challenges of the future, raise awareness to what is working, and mobilize change where it is not.
For more details on the meeting and to RSVP, please visit https://www.freshlocalwny.org/ or contact Kimberly LaMendola klamendola@southerntierwest.
–NY Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NYSAWG)
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