Is New York City a North Country ag market?

Big players can make big change.  That’s why new laws in California can spark changes in things like emissions and MPG standards nationwide.

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.

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4 Comments on “Is New York City a North Country ag market?”

  1. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Washington County farmers have been moving into the NYC farmers markets more and more since 2001. An example

    Nettle Meadow in Johnsburg has been doing it for a long time

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  2. scratchy says:

    If the North Country is to have a viable agricultural sector, it will probably have to focus on specialty crops. Wineries could provide relatively unique products to export elsewhere, all while attracting tourists. More tourists would help other businesses. Dairy, beef, and other traditional agriculture will continue to struggle against low cost imports.

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  3. Bret4207 says:

    It would be great if we could market to NYC more easily but any efforts so far have met with little success. If you look at the map you’ll see that long before the North Country fits in one of those nifty rings a large part of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Vermont, Mass, Ct, NH, RI, even parts of Virgina and W. Virgina are all closer than Northern NY, the agricultural part I mean. There are major rail, road and even canals available in those areas. So it’s a problem to market to that area when we’re so far away and have so much competition.

    A few years back there was big talk of a major Caprine (goat) dairy effort being made in the St Law Co area. We were all going to be thousandaires, if not millionaires, because of the lowly goat. “People from NYC” wanted the product and the cheeses that could be produced. What happened? Well, turns out “people from NYC” wanting it was a myth. Things like that sour you on the “possibilities” that we hear about.

    You know, if the market was there and the transport costs could be dealt with and if we could market “NY Grown/Produced” it would be great. Maybe Heritage Cheese or some of the other cheese makers could re-open. Maybe there’d be a market for the products we produce that could be taken advantage, exploited to be more honest.
    But you’ll have to find someone to ramrod it. And it’ll take some work- one of my most vivid memories of 9/11 is having to literally get a map out and prove to a NYC cop that NY REALLY DID border Canada! This girl was not aware people still actually milked cows or farmed in NY State. With a mindset like that…it’s an uphill battle.

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  4. Bret4207 says:

    Something else to think about- both our beloved and admired Senators from NY took massive bribes to support S510 this week, a bill that could conceivably kill off family/small farms. Oh, they don’t call them “bribes”, they’re just innocent “contributions”. But Gillibrand took almost $100K bribe and Schumer $175K!!! To do what? To give the FDA and Corporate farm giants the ability to crush small/.independent farmers and possibly to even outlaw your home garden. Oh, they also took bribe money from the other side of the argument, but the bigger bribe wins out every time.

    Yeah, I can see how all this will help the North Country.

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