6 Reasons to Support Local Farms
Buy Fresh! Buy Safe! Buy Local!
Long Island Farm Bureau Executive Director Joseph Gergela urged Long Island residents to buy locally grown as they begin planting their gardens this spring or as gifts for the spring holidays.
"We can't stress enough the importance of buying local every season," says Gergela, "The local greenhouses, farm fields and vineyards are what make this region so special. The investment into our own community is vital for our region to flourish.
Not sure if the product you are purchasing is locally grown? Look for the "Grown on Long Island" logo or ask the retailer. The Farm Bureau has strict rules and regulations on the use of the logo; only products actually grown on Long Island are able to display the logo.
1. Safe & Abundant Food and Plant Supply
When you buy local, you know where your food comes from! You also know that strict regulations and policies are put into place to keep your food safe for you and your family. In addition, when buy local trees, shrubs, annuals or perennials, you know they have already adjusted to our climate and soil. Ornamental products grown in other countries or other parts of the US with different climates have a harder time adjusting here on Long Island. Take the time to ask where products came from!
2. Small Farms. Family Owned.
The average farm in NY is 200 acres and family owned and operated (other states in the mid-west averaging 1000-2500 acres per farm). Long Island specifically averages about 100 acres per farm. Growers often come from generations of farmers who have lived and worked in their local communities.
3. Taking Care of the Land
Farmers play an important role in protecting our environment, helping to develop new technologies that minimize water usage, reduce carbon footprints, prevent soil erosion, and maintain the productive quality of their land for future crops! Their livelihood depends on it. Farmers are active environmentalists, not environmental activists!
4. Good for the Economy
Nearly one-quarter of New York's total land area is utilized as Farmland generating sales tax, income tax and real estate tax revenue. Take into account the agritourism business and you've got a whole lot of tax revenue for New York State.
5. Prevent loss of farmland
The best way to protect farmland is to keep farming profitable! Less than 20 percent of farms generate more than $100,000 in farm income. Some farms supplement their income by leasing their land for wind turbines or relieve financial pressure by selling farmland for residential development.
6. Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!
New York agriculture supports thousands of jobs beyond those on the farm. Machine manufacturers, equipment dealers, suppliers, and produce distributors are all directly affected by the agriculture industry.
Can't find it in your area, take the next step and buy from your region or even from the US. Don't be afraid to ask your local supermarket where they get their fresh produce and be sure to demand more "local" selections!
DID YOU KNOW?
Long Island is the largest agricultural county in NY in terms of the dollar value of crops produced.
Long Island has over 60% of the greenhouse and nursery production in New York State.
Long Island has more than 30,000 acres in production agriculture, of which ½ is preserved and protected.
New York ranked 3rd in the nation (behind California and Washington) in grape production for wine and juice.
New York ranked fourth in the US in sweet corn and pumpkins in 2007.