The New York City Council recently issued a report, called Food Works, about reshaping the city’s food system. It’s a fascinating document, for its slick graphics and illustrative charts and graphs, and for how it traces food around the city.
Of North Country relevance is the section on agricultural production. It says “our plan is to facilitate urban-rural linkages to help farmers bring their food to city markets”.
The report hits on a huge obstacle in the growth of the “locavore” movement in the North Country – the lack of mature processing, supply, and distribution networks between farms and markets, whether those be restaurants or supermarkets or whatever:
For some farmers, retail farmers markets and CSAs will continue to offer the best venue for selling their products, and the City Council will continue to support these direct-to-consumer supply channels. However, for mid-sized and larger farmers who struggle to penetrate the urban market, the city must establish new supply channels to institutions and commercial outlets, and enhance existing supply channels like the wholesale farmers market.
Could implementation of the Food Works vision be a huge boon to New York farms?
When I read this report, I imagine city councilors thinking about the Hudson Valley and the Catskills when they locate the farms in question in their mind. As you can see from the map above, much of the North Country is 250 miles from New York City. Is NYC really a viable market for North Country farmers? What kind of produce/products?
Are you selling products to New York City? How’s it going? Would you like to? What’s stopping you? These are the questions this report raises for North Country agriculture.
One thing we know for sure. There are millions of mouths to feed in NYC.