Eat Local NY Announces Partnership with Salt of the Earth Seed Company

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Eat Local NY partners with Salt of the Earth Seed Company to promote regional diversity, provide seeds to school gardens

DOBBS FERRY, NY (May 2016) — The Salt of the Earth Seed Company and Eat Local NY have become partners in an effort to promote regional biodiversity, advocate for seed saving and to provide students proper seeds for their school gardens. Eat Local NY’s online marketplace will add over twenty types of seeds, including more than five Ark of Taste varieties, by introducing the Salt the of the Earth Seed Company into its producer portfolio.

Just in time for the growing season, customers will have the opportunity to purchase seeds such as the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, Mammoth Long Island Dill, Tongue of Fire Beans and more. By purchasing seeds, customers will not only get to grow food for their own pleasure, but will also provide seeds to children in need. With every packet of seeds you purchase, Eat Local NY will donate 100 seeds to students at a school garden as part of their School Garden Project.

All of the seeds from Salt of the Earth Company come from their own farm, Invincible Summer Farms on the North Fork of Long Island in Southold, NY. The seeds are used on the farm for fresh production to grow rare, unique and endangered heirloom and open pollinated vegetables for some of the finest New York City restaurants.

“In addition to providing fresh produce to the public and fine restaurants, our primary mission of preserving biodiversity is fulfilled as seed savers with the maintenance of our seed bank with well over 6,000 crop varieties to date,” said Stephanie Gaylor of Invincible Sumer Farms. “Biodiversity is a key to not only changing food systems, but also keeping food traditions alive.”

The partnership will also allow Eat Local NY to introduce basic seed saving workshops to children at school gardens and families at emergency food outlets. The Salt of the Earth Seed Company is part of the Long Island Regional Seed Consortium, which is a collaborative effort dedicated to education, advocacy and research to foster and nurture local seed systems. Both organizations believe in seed sovereignty and open source maintenance of seed that is available to everyone. This partnership will improve access and education. Grow. Share. Preserve. Explore.

About Eat Local NY:

Founded by Dobbs Ferry native Derek DiGuglielmo, Eat Local NY is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to end childhood hunger in the state of New York and supply proper education and resources to children on food and nutriment while strengthening local food systems by supporting, promoting and advocating for local, sustainable farmers and producers.

Governor Cuomo Outlines Tax Exemption Proposal for Wine, Beer, Cider and Spirits Industries

Further Tax Exemptions Included in the 2015-16 Executive Budget Aim to Further Industries’ Rapid Growth

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today outlined new tax exemptions proposed in the 2015-16 Executive Budget that will further the rapid growth of the wine, beer, cider and spirits industries. These proposals include tax exemptions at tastings offered by the beer, cider and spirits industries, which are similar to exemptions already enjoyed by the wine industry, as well as the further expansion of tax exemptions for wineries at tasting events.

“New York’s craft beverage industry is creating jobs and driving economic activity in communities across the state – and this year’s Budget is designed to keep that momentum going well into the future,” Governor Cuomo said. “By expanding tax exemptions for wine, beer, spirits and cider industries, we’re helping local producers thrive and creating an environment that encourages their success. This proposal is a smart investment in some of our most rapidly growing small businesses, and I encourage New Yorkers to try one of the Empire State’s many world-class craft beverages today.”

Current law provides an exemption on the “Use Tax” for wine tastings, which applies to products that are produced for sale but end up being used for promotional and marketing purposes. The proposal in the 2015-16 Executive Budget expands this exemption to include tastings provided by the beer, cider and spirits industries, which will allow hundreds more craft beverage producers to better market their products and reinvest in their businesses.

The Governor’s Budget also proposes to expand the “Use Tax” exemption for all craft beverage producers by including an exemption for off-premises tastings. Current law only provides a “Use Tax” exemption for wine tastings on a producer’s premises, and even then this applies to only wines furnished at such tastings. Bottles, corks, caps and labels do not have such exemptions. The proposal outlined today in the Governor’s Executive Budget not only exempts bottles, corks, caps and labels from this tax, but also allows for a “Use Tax” exemption covering all New York craft beverage producers both on and off their premises.

Jim Trezise, President of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, said, “In 2012, the New York grape and wine industry generated $4.8 billion for New York State’s economy. We greatly appreciate Governor Cuomo’s initiative to exempt from tax bottles, corks, caps and labels at tastings. In the past four years, Governor Cuomo has created the best business climate for wine in New York State’s history, which allows our industry to grow faster and contribute even more to the state’s economy.”

Paul Leone, Executive Director of the New York State Brewers Association, said, “This proposal further demonstrates that Governor Cuomo’s administration is doing everything it can to foster and develop the growth of the craft beer industry in New York State. Removing the tasting tax would further allow brewers to put more money back into their businesses so they can continue to grow here and create more jobs.”

Nicole Austin, President of the New York State Distillers Guild, said, “New York spirits producers rely on tastings to introduce their products to consumers and build awareness of the high quality and diversity of our craft spirits. Reducing the cost and paperwork associated with these tastings will allow distillers to focus on championing their product and growing their business. The New York State Distillers Guild supports this important step towards simplifying and streamlining distillery operations.”

Alejandro del Peral, cider maker and proprietor, Nine Pin Ciderworks, the State’s first licensed farm cidery, said, “By allowing Use Tax exemptions to be implemented for cideries, breweries, and distillers that are already enjoyed by wineries, this legislation is another welcome step in growing the state’s farm cider industry. Nine Pin applauds Governor Cuomo for making this a priority this year.”

Statistics on the growth of New York’s craft beverage industry can be found here.

Governor Cuomo Announces New York Selected For USDA Pilot to Increase Procurement of Locally-Grown Produce in Schools

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State has been selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to participate in a federal pilot program for the procurement of locally-grown produce in New York State schools. The Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables was included in the 2014 federal Farm Bill and creates a new project to procure unprocessed fruits and vegetables. New York is one of eight states selected to participate in this first-of-its-kind federal initiative, the application for which was submitted by the New York State Office of General Services.

“New York is a nationally recognized leader in the promotion and support of locally grown food, and with this selection we will ensure that students have access to fresh and nutritious locally-grown produce,” Governor Cuomo said, “I thank the USDA for partnering with us to showcase the very best of New York’s thriving agricultural industry.”

New York’s pilot will be administered by the State Office of General Services and will begin in Rochester. Next week, OGS will begin talking with farmers, food hubs and schools in the region about the program and how they can participate. Because many of the Rochester organizations have not worked with the USDA before, OGS will help walk them through the process.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of the Governor’s newly-created “Buy NY” initiative, which was announced at last week’s Upstate-Downstate Agriculture Summit. “Buy NY” is a joint effort by the State Department of Agriculture & Markets, Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Office of Mental Health, Department of Health, Office of General Services and Cornell Cooperative Extension to leverage existing centralized contracts regarding the purchase of State food products, including produce and dairy products.

The USDA first established a Farm to School program to improve access to local foods in schools in 2010 and, in order to establish realistic goals to increase the availability of local foods in schools, USDA conducted a nationwide Farm to School Census. The first survey was taken during the 2011-2012 school year.

Prior to the creation of the Census, the New York State Department Agriculture and Markets surveyed more than 1,000 school food service directors across the State to gauge their interest in farm-to-school initiatives and to identify barriers and opportunities. As a result, in 2012, New York was selected as one of only five states across the country awarded funding from USDA’s first Farm to School program, immediately enabling the State Department of Agriculture and Markets to implement the best practices and opportunities identified in the survey.

Though still in the early stages, the program has already been successful: In 2013, Benton Berries, a local farm in Penn Yan, NY, made weekly deliveries of tomatoes to Binghamton, Johnson City and Owego-Apalachin school districts. Approximately 3,000 pounds of local tomatoes were served in 16 cafeterias to more than 11,500 students in total that year as a result. Also in 2013, the Binghamton City School District served approximately 12,000 pounds of local apples from Reisinger’s Apple Country, an orchard in Watkins Glen, N.Y, to 6,000 students in 10 school cafeterias.

“Inclusion in this pilot program is a testament to the hard work of numerous state agencies at the direction of Governor Cuomo to find multiple opportunities to bring more locally grown and produced products to the tables of New Yorkers,” OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito said. “Since 2011, OGS has been working with local farmers through our warehouse in Long Island. Over 225,000 pounds of local potatoes, apples, cabbage, carrots, turnips, broccoli, corn and beets have been distributed to 36 school districts. We are looking forward to using what we have learned through that initiative statewide and will be working closely with schools and vendors to ensure this pilot is successful and becomes a permanent program.”

“I believe that the procurement of locally-produced foods in schools and institutions is nothing short of a golden opportunity for New York agriculture,” State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said. “Through this pilot program and also Governor Cuomo’s “Buy NY” initiative, these opportunities will only continue to grow. Today’s announcement is great news for my fellow farmers and youth who represent our state’s bright future.”

Provisions in the federal Farm Bill require that the selection of states included in the pilot must be based on a demonstrated commitment to building their own farm-to-school programs, the quantity and variety of local fruits and vegetables producers in the state, and the number of local education organizations serving different population sizes and geographic regions in the state.

Senator Charles E. Schumer said, “Through this innovative federal-state pilot program, New York will provide schools throughout the state with locally grown fruits, vegetables, and produce; it is a win-win for New York farmers and students. Now, New York’s agriculture will not only be farm-to-table but farm-to-school.”

Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee said, “This is great news for our schools and our local farmers. New York State is home to a strong agricultural industry that has the potential for even more growth. By connecting schools throughout the state with locally-grown food, we can give our children better access to healthy, nutritious food options, while strengthening New York’s own agricultural industry. I look forward to working across all levels of government and with USDA to continue to build on this important initiative.”

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter said, “We have taken remarkable steps as a nation toward combating childhood obesity, and this is another step in the right direction. It’s essential to set our young people on a positive course early in their lives, and that includes providing healthy, nutritious meals during school days, especially in communities where access to fresh, local produce is limited. Not only will this improve our kids’ health, but it will save them a lifetime of higher medical costs from health problems associated with obesity. Furthermore, this will be a boon to local growers, who are the backbone of the upstate economy and consistently provide New Yorkers with fresh produce options.”

Congressman Chris Gibson said, “Empowering school districts to purchase local fruits and vegetables gives our students fresh and healthy lunch options that help foster a deeper appreciation for agriculture and the importance of farms to our communities. I am proud to have authored this provision of the Farm Bill, and I look forward to working with farmers and educators in the Hudson Valley and Catskills to establish new farm-to-school partnerships through the USDA’s pilot program.”

2nd Annual NYC Sustainable Farm to Restaurant Producer Summit

On November 2, 2014, local farmers, chefs and distributors came together at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent, NY for the 2nd Annual Sustainable Farm to Restaurant Producer Summit to discuss challenges and celebrate successes of the current local food system.

The day focused on ways stakeholders can come together to strengthen and expand the supply chain of organic and sustainably-grown food to New York City restaurants.

Through panel discussions, farm tours and structured networking attendees had the opportunity to directly connect in an action oriented environment to address challenges in distribution, scalability, and communication. While last year’s Summit was focused mainly on understanding the local landscape (alternative distribution, Certified Organic vs. natural labeling, marketing ideas for independent restaurants), this year’s event is taking a closer look at the challenges of scalability for both restaurants and growers. The topics discussion and audio footage from the panel discussions are listed below:

 

Scalability In The Local Food Network – Jessica Ziehm, Kathleen Harris, Ken Migliorelli, moderated by Jennifer Goggin

 

The Slow Food Producer Matrix: Alternative Distribution – Daniel Del Coro, Camilla Abder, Aaron Grosbard, Mark Jaffe, Ashley Mueller, moderated by Mary Cleaver

 

Institutional Sales And Large-Scale Accounts – Josh Brau, Tim Buma, Adam Eskin, moderated by Matthew Weingarten

 

Using Technology To Manage Food Waste – John Karangis, James Murphy, Sofia Johnson, moderated by Tatiana Oriov

 

Since 1972, Hawthorne Valley has been producing high quality, biodynamic and organic foods while providing farm-based learning experiences for children and adults. Hawthorne Valley Farm’s work revolves around cultivating relationships: with the Earth, the surrounding communities and landscape, and with the community. This revolutionary approach requires a radically enlarged context of sound farming principles, new economic forms and parameters, and renewed recognition of the role of agriculture and agriculturists in our culture and society.

Check out a recap of the day from Hillary Lindsay (farmtohomecooking.com) on Slow Food NYC’s blog.

Coming Soon

Our team is currently working on establishing an online platform promoting analysis, critical thought and research about sustainable agriculture and food systems throughout New York. Our goal is to create a network of information that will build connections, provide solutions and raise awareness.

If you are interested in becoming a contributor, have an idea or would like to find out more information, please, do not hesitate to contact us.