Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grant opportunity promotes local foods through beds and breakfasts

Press release from NYS Ag & Markets:

Federal matching grant promotes local foods through beds and breakfasts

A federal matching grant will boost local food producers and tourism by encouraging bed and breakfast operators to feature locally produced food and agricultural products. New York State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine announced the $73,824 grant awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP). New York is one of 19 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to receive 25 grants.

The Department will receive the grant in cooperation with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County, which will lead the two-year project, NOFA-NY, the Empire State B&B Association, Central New York Bounty, the New York Small Scale Food Processors Association and the University of Illinois Extension.

“This continues our efforts to boost locally produced food products in New York and to encourage agri-tourism,” said Commissioner Aubertine. “This is another market channel for our local producers that will help them build their business.”

"FSMIP provides our state partners with matching funds to explore new and innovative approaches to marketing U.S. food and agricultural products," said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. "USDA supports state and local projects ranging from research to retail to ensure that quality American products are marketed efficiently and effectively."

Steve Miller of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County said, “This is a great opportunity for New York producers to have visitors from outside the State, as well as New Yorkers, to be able to taste the high quality foods we have to offer and to be able to bring some of these back home with them. The project stands to benefit both the tourism and agriculture industries.”

The program will encourage B&B operators to feature locally produced food and agricultural products in meals served to their guests, carry shelf stable local products such as jams, maple syrup and sauces, and to measure the economic impact on producers of sales made through this specialized marketing channel.

All producer organizations and B&B owners are encouraged to participate in the project which will begin this Fall. For more information on how to participate: contact Steve Miller at sgm6@cornell.edu 315 684-3001 x127 or Jonathan Thomson at jonathan.thomson@agmkt.state.ny.us.

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